Optimising Website Navigation

I could write pages on the importance of Navigation to both your visitors and to the search engine spiders and go into minute detail about optimising website navigation, but that would likely bore you and is not the purpose of the article. I simply want to get across how important navigation is and a few things to avoid. Can I also say, this is a beginner’s guide, so I have avoided geek-speak and forum gobbledygook.

What not to Consider when Planning your Navigation

  • Don’t use image links
  • Don’t use Flash links
  • Don’t use Javascript links.

There, that was easy! Flat images and Flash images may look pretty, but the search engine spiders find it hard to parse them. The same can be said for certain Javascript navigation styles. If the spiders find your navigation link and then can’t move from one page to another on your website, they will simply leave your website without visiting all of the pages.

Always use text-based links when optimising website navigation, which can still have roll-over features and look pretty, but the search engines have no trouble reading them. The other advantage of a text based link, is it makes the page being linked to more relevant for the search term featured in the link. If I have a link to another page, for example; this is an old website navigation article we wrote years ago that still rings true today. When the Google spider finds this link, it can tell the page it is visiting is about website navigation, because that is the text in the link. If it now goes to the page and finds content on the page about website navigation, the page will get a boost in its relevance factor within the Google algorithm. As Google can’t read images, even if the spider manages to parse an image-based link, you are passing no relevance on to the page you are linking to.

If you do have image-based or javascript links in your navigation, ask your designer to place text-based links in the footer of your website. This is always a good idea anyway, not only for search engine spiders, but it’s convenient for visitors, particularly on a long page when they reach the end of your text.

Where to Place your Website Navigation

Outer Navigation

The Outer Navigation should be standard throughout your website, linking every page to every page, if possible. On larger sites this is not always possible, but try if you can. By Outer Navigation, we mean: Top Navigation, (on this page it’s in the orange bar at the top of the page), Side Navigation(above “What the Kenkai Team does”) and Footer Navigation (the links at the bottom of the page, in the footer).

Inner Navigation

Inner Navigation is also known as Body Navigation, these are the links that appear in the body of your website content. These are important links, not only in an information article like this one, but on an eCommerce page on an eCommerce website.

Sitemap

Always include a sitemap on your site. I don’t mean a Google XML sitemap, I mean a page on your site that is featured on the footer of every page to ensure that when a search engine spider visits your website, it finds links to all of your pages. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, or designery, just a list of links with appropriate link text, something similar to the Kenkai Sitemap.

Never underestimate the importance of optimising website navigation and if you haven’t sorted it already - sort it now!

One Response to “Optimising Website Navigation”

Petra Gödde Says:

Sehr guter Artikel, der Blog ist generell auch sehr lesenswert. Werde wahrscheinlich wieder mal vorbeikommen. Dank sehr viel. Ich hoffe, dass Sie weiter mein Blog und genießen, dass wir uns wieder treffen. Haben Sie einen mächtigen feinen Tag, BM

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The Big Man's SEO blog is primarily aimed at website owners looking for ethical SEO tips, optimisation advice and who are interested in reading articles and opinions related to search engines, the internet, technology and software.