We recently had been working with a client to get them to remove their block of footer links. All the links were relevant to drive people to their brand pages but it was ugly and didn’t work. We recommended a few options, one of which was a “shop by brand” drop down menu. They were able to implement a drop down that linked to all of their brand pages but via their implementation of it none of the links were able to be followed by search engines spiders.
Sorry. Try again.
Search engine friendly navigation and linking structures are the cornerstone of a search engine friendly website. This is the one area where, if everything else is done right but you create links the search engines cannot follow, you simply won’t get anywhere… or very much beyond the home page, at least.
The bottom line, if search engines cannot follow your links then they won’t be able to crawl through your site in order to rank your pages. While this won’t completely hinder your pages from ranking well you’ll be severely handicapped and completely at the mercy of external links pointing to individual pages. Definitely not a place you want to be.
There are a few ways to check to see if your links are spiderable. One of the easiest, if you use FireFox, is the YellowPipe Lynx Viewer Tool extension.
If you like the extra bells and whistles in your navigation, you will either have to find ways to get what you want while creating search friendly links, which might be expensive to find/develop, workarounds, or be willing to compromise a bit. Cool nav features are fun to have, but nothing stunts business growth like limiting search engine spiderability to your site.
Previous posts from this series:
Search Engine Friendly is NOT Search Engine Optimized
An Argument for Website Validation
A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page: The Domain Name
A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page: Tile and Meta Tags
A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page: Code Bloat
A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page: Headings