Your Website SEO Checkup: Part 1 of 8 – Search Engine Friendly Site Structure

Posted by Mark Thompson - June 24, 2008 - Design/Development, SEO - 1 Comment

Probably the most important part of Search Engine Optimization is making sure that your website is search engine friendly. When I say search engine friendly, I mean that when search engines “crawl” your site, they are able to read all of the content, links, and pages within your site.

Big NoNo’s for Search Engines

Using Flash, Images, JavaScript, Videos, Audio, and other non-text material is virtually invisible to search engines.

If you have a site that is completely made up of these components you will have a very hard time getting indexed in search engines because they cannot crawl any of your content. That is not to say that if you have any of these components that it is a bad thing, you just want to make sure that you use small elements of these components within a site.

Using a Text Navigation

Using HTML text for your navigation will ensure that your interior pages will be crawlable. If you use images for navigation, search engines will be unable to crawl your interior pages.

Creating Static Pages

You want your site structure to be as simple as possible. Keep your URL’s as clean and descriptive as possible. When you hear the term “static page” that means that the page contains content that will not change. If you have pages that are pulling from a database or have content that is being pulled in on-the-fly, search engines cannot index those pages. Below is an example of what a search engine friendly URL should and shouldn’t look like.

Stay away from:

  • Dynamic pages
  • Session Id’s
  • Parameters in the URL
  • Frames or I-Frames

Example:

Should Look Like

http://www.example.com/products/nike-shoes.html

Shouldn’t Look Like

Bad Example

Descriptive URL’s

When naming your URL’s, using keywords will help tell search engines what that page is about and contribute to increased search rankings. Hyphens are preferred over underscores.

Ex: http://www.example.com/nike/black-jordan-basketball-shoes.html

No Login Required

Remember that search engines are unable to access content that required a user to login. If possible, try and make sure that your content does not need to be accessed with a username and password.

Internal Link Structure

Make sure that you have a good internal linking structure. Using footer links, creating a site map, linking internal pages with other internal pages will help get all of your pages indexed by search engines. This is especially important for larger sites that have hundreds or thousands of pages.

Not only is this internal link structure great for search engines, it will also help for website usability.

                                                                                  Part 2: Keyword Research >>

About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter