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
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.
Where to Place your Website 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 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.
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!