SEO Fundamentals – Working with Navigation in SEO

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What’s the point of search engine friendly navigation? To build a solid foundation in your site architecture of course. You don’t want users having to poke around like a hardware store from the 50s. But what does it mean exactly, and more importantly,  what recommendations can you make to enhance the SEO of yourself and your clients?

Follow us on a magic carpet ride of SEO splendor as we look at some positive examples of search engine friendly navigation and talk about what these examples mean for you and your business.

Technically speaking

What makes for a spider friendly navigation? This is an out of the box CMS world we live in nowadays, so most navigation is already fairly SEO friendly. However, you can still run into absolute messes that need navigational clean-up and occasionally just need to be started again from scratch.

If you are reviewing a website that you think could be an SEO car-crash waiting to happen, here are some signs to look out for.

* The drop downs don’t work with Javascript disabled.

* Global and header links appear as images and not text.

* Tons of internal links disappear when you browse the site with JavaScript and CSS disabled.

* Any SEO-enabled toolbar you have installed report a lower than expected number of internal, followed links.

* The text-only version of your page that Google has on cache also shows the lack of internal links.

javascript disabled

Search engine friendly navigation is a rather simple process. It requires only properly structured HTML, along with some CSS for all of the fancier bits. If you want to get technical for a second, if you are specifying a new navigation for your website, you should be asking for a “cross-browser drop-down cascading validating menu.”

HTML is simple, once you get the hang of it. Otherwise, you should be looking out for an unordered list of links in the text-only/Javascript and CSS disabled view of your page. It will look something like this.

For some fantastic examples, you should bookmark’s CSS menus page. And while we are at it, here is another great real-world example. Also, since I have your attention, take a look at this site with JavaScript and CSS disabled in Web Developer Toolbar:

live example

There are so many other examples out there, and once you get more of a grasp of what to look for you won’t be able to help noticing good and and examples as you peruse the Web. If you have some good examples of search engine friendly navigation, don’t hesitate to drop us a line via email or the comment box.

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