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Search Engine Friendly Design and Development

A webpage will look very different to a Search Engine compared to the way you and I would see it; search engines do have limitation in their ability to not only crawl web pages but how they interpret the content within them.

There is a technique that can be adopted to maximise crawlability from search engines whilst maintaining a friendly structure for ease of use and proficient user experience.

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GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR INDEXABLE CONTENT

Despite continued and significant enhancements in crawling technology utilised by search engines, various file types such as Flash files & images, and other non-text file types are often devalued or even overlooked by search engines. It is therefore advisable to place important content in a HTML text format which encourages better performance within search engine listings.

There are also several more advanced options for website that want to display different formatting or display styles.

ALT Text within images

Assign ALT attributes in HTML which will offer search engines a text description to crawl.

Search Box Supplementation

Add navigational and crawlable links to improve crawlability.

Flash & Java Plug In Supplementation

Add navigational and crawlable links to improve crawlability.

SEO TOOLS

Looking at how search engines see your website is a useful exercise as many websites have significant problems. You can use tools such as SEO Browser to view your website as a search engine would view it.

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CRAWLABLE LINK STRUCTURES

In order for Search Engines to find content they need to see two things. The first is content which they use to list content within their massive indexes which are based on keywords. The second is “links”. What we call a crawlable link structure allows crawlers to browse pathways within a website.

As the search engines need structured links to find pages within a website, it is important to ensure poor structures are not implemented which hinder web page indexing.

In the above image, you can see the TOP LEVEL MENU pages, link to the pages within them, which further link to the THIRD LEVEL pages, in a clear structured process. If a link was missing from the TOP LEVEL, then the pages within would not be accessible as there would be no direct crawlable links.

It does not matter how good your content is or how considered your marketing approach, if you have poor link structure, your pages are not going to be found.

There are several other reasons why web pages may not be found by search engines, which include:

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    SUBMISSION REQUIRED FORMS

    Some websites require users to complete an online form before they can access content which generally mean these web pages can not be seen by search engines. Search engine crawlers generally do not submit forms.

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    UNPARSEABLE JAVASCRIPT

    Standard HTML should always replace any instances where JavaScript is being used for links. Search engines do not crawl or give little authority to embedded links.

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    BLOCKED META ROBOTS TAG OR ROBOTS.TXT

    Some webmasters use Robots to block rogue bots but unintentionally block entire web pages or even websites. Use Robots carefully to allow or restrict crawler access to a page.

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    FRAMES & IFRAMES

    Although both Frames and iFrames are crawlable, they do cause structural problems for search engines. It is advisable to stay away from Frames unless technically savvy with search engines.

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    HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OF LINKS

    To cut down on spam and to conserve rankings, search engines will only crawl a certain amount of links on any given page. Pages with too many links run the risk of not having the links crawled.

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    LINKS IN PLUGIN SUCH AS FLASH & JAVA

    Links in these formats will be invisible to search engines as no crawler will be able to reach them. It is a phenomenon that is not well documented.