Tag Archives: JavaScript

Site Architecture & Search Engine Ranking Factors

17 Aug

Site Architecture & Search Engine Ranking Factors

The last major “On The Page” group in the Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors is that of your overall site architecture. The right site structure can help with your SEO efforts. The wrong one can cripple them.

Ac: Site Crawability

Search engines “crawl” web sites, going from one page to another incredibly quickly, acting like hyperactive text scanners. They make copies of your pages, which get stored in what’s called an “index,” which is like a big book of the web.

When someone searches, the search engine flips through this big book that it has created, finds all the relevant pages and then picks out what it thinks are the very best ones to show first.

To found, you have to be in the book. To be in the book, you have to be crawlable. Most sites generally don’t have crawling issues, but there are things that can cause problems.

For example, JavaScript or Flash potentially can hide links, making the pages those links lead to hidden from search engines. Related to this, both can potentially cause the actual words on pages to be hidden.

Most problems can be easily avoided. In addition, a good practice is to make use of sitemaps, both the HTML and XML variety. You’ll find more about sitemaps and dealing with potential crawling issues in the Search Engine Land articles below:

Remember, “search engine friendly design” is also “human friendly design!”

As: Site Speed

Google wants to make the web a faster place, so much so that it has declared that speedy sites get ranking advantage over slower sites.

Boosting your web site’s speed isn’t a guaranteed express ride to the top of Google’s results, however. It’s a minor factor, but one that can help reinforce others.

So speed up your site, if you can. Your human visitors will probably appreciate it, too!

Below, some of our past coverage of the importance of site speed:

Au: Are Your URLs Descriptive?

Yes, having the words you want to be found for within your domain name or page URLs can help your ranking prospects. A little. It’s not a major factor. But if it makes sense to have descriptive words in your URLs, do so.

Aside from helping a bit with ranking, various research reports over the years have shown that searchers are more likely to select pages with short, descriptive URLs over other pages in search results.

For the original article go to: http://searchengineland.com/seotable/site-architecture-search-engine-ranking

Good Web Site Navigation – Reaching The Information Instantly

21 Apr

Good Web Site Navigation – Reaching The Information Instantly

Author:  Mardiros Internet Marketing

Creating good web site navigation is the most important task a web designer has to accomplish in the web design process. Web site navigation is the pathway people take to navigate through sites. It must be well constructed, easy to use and intuitive. Poor navigation does not help users and often, your site can prove to be less accessible than others.

Good navigation is fundamental to good web design – in both business and informational sites – users should be able to find information easily. If the navigation is not easy to use or intuitive users will quickly go elsewhere in search of information. We often see ourselves in front of web sites without knowing what to do next. The navigation is so well hidden or disguised that the some users simply dont know how to use it. Navigation is the single most important element in creating accessible and usable web sites.

Checklist and key points to consider when designing navigation

  • People can enter a site through any other page, not just the homepage. Using other pages as entry points is achieved through search engines, links from other web sites or bookmarks. Users must easily find their way around a web site from every and any page. They should be able to reach the homepage from any page within the web site. Reaching all major site sections can only help them see more of the provided information.
  • Bear in mind what people expect from good website navigation: primary navigation (most important links, categories etc), secondary navigation (secondary links, subcategories etc), position of navigation, link titles, number of links per page etc.
  • Keep in mind the “the less clicks the better” concept when designing web site navigation. You must aid your visitors in finding the information they seek as quickly as possible. The website must respond instantly to their instincts.

Think and act like the average user does. Then design.

The most frequent issue in web design is that designers do not act and do not try to experience web sites from the user perspective. They are often misled to think that their web site’s navigation is the best when in fact it might not be. They might only have that impression for the simple fact that they’re familiar with it.

It would be useful to open up a few sites and take a look at the web site navigation, how it’s positioned, how easy it is to go through etc. Consider how many pages you can access from any page. Can you go to related pages? Are there hints to help users navigate? Is there a site map with all the pages in the website? Can you figure out where you are at any time?

Design good primary web site navigation

Although primary navigation is very important users should not be forced to rely heavily on primary navigation but rather be able to use smaller “doorways” to jump to related pages.

  • Left navigation. Left web site navigation is the most common type of navigation. However, the designer must make sure that at 800×600 resolutions or higher the most important navigation links are visible in full at first page load and that they do not fold below the screen. The navigation links width should be narrower than 300px in order to leave enough space for body text. Left navigation has become very popular because it is responds to user behaviour: start reading from the left – read navigation links – click on the desired link – keep reading fresh content to the left.
  • Top navigation. Top navigation is the second most common navigation. The advantage of a top navigation bar is that it leaves more room below for content and other relevant information. However, you must make sure that the navigation stands out. People tend to ignore everything that looks remotely like adds. If you intend to put graphics in the header of the page make sure the navigation bar is situated below the graphics and not above it. People might ignore the graphics and the navigation bar along with it. They might end up thinking that there’s nothing more to that website. This is a classic example of the importance of secondary navigation.
  • Right navigation. For English language based web sites people read from left to right. Thus, a menu situated on the right hand side would be difficult to use. People tend to read the navigation first and then the body text.

Design good secondary navigation

Links which do not belong in the primary navigation are used to make up the secondary navigation. Such links are the usual Contact Us, About Us, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, Site Map, Links and so on.

Position of the secondary navigation does not have a general rule

  • Secondary navigation can be placed just below primary navigation while making sure it does not stand out as much as the primary navigation does. Web designers can either make the link text smaller, use a separator or leave a reasonable amount of space for the eye to be able to make distinction between the two. When using top navigation secondary navigation can be placed on the left hand side of the page.

Text menus to help users

Text menus can be used as primary navigation but they can also be used as an additional navigation method. Often the text menu is placed at the bottom of the page. By the time you finish reading relatively long pages the main menu may be out of sight, a text menu in the page footer proves to be a solid navigation alternative for users who get easily confused or wish to save time.

Internal linking

One important aspect of navigation is internal linking between the pages. One can place links to other pages within the site in the actual body text of the page. This can help users find related information quickly. Internal linking can also help search engine spiders to find their way to every single page. For example, if you’re talking about text based browsers link the word browsers to a related page like a glossary for instance.

Placing a small set of links just below the text to related pages or resources is also a very successful way to interlink pages of similar interest.

Reasons against intricate, overly modern navigation

When designing for users it is important to give them what they expect. Web designers should not confuse matters by using funky, intricate navigation no matter how cool it might be. Users do not like to be kept away from the information they are after. They do not have the patience or time to discover and learn navigation, it should be instinctive and instantly clickable. Complicated and difficult to use navigation makes users feel uneasy and apprehensive about a web site. They are likely to leave the site to go somewhere else where they feel welcome and where they can easily find what they’re looking for. It’s very important to prevent that from happening.

Web site navigation checklist

  • Titles of navigation links should be short, descriptive and intuitive. Users should easily understand what every link leads to.
  • The primary navigation should not have more than 6-7 links. Keep only the most important links in the primary navigation and leave the rest for the secondary navigation.
  • Make the primary navigation stand out by using graphics or different links style.
  • If using graphics or javascript links, a text alternative should be available. Some people might have the graphics turned off or javascript disabled when browsing the Internet. In such cases an alternate option should be available. To achieve this, a text menu and the bottom of the page could be included.
  • On every page there should be a reasonable number of links. Pages with 20-30 links are harder to use than pages with 10 links. Visitors don’t have the time to click on all of them to see if they are interested in the information secluded behind them. The best approach is group similar links in categories and let people discover them click upon click.
  • Users should be able to tell at any time their whereabouts are in a web site. A crumbs type of menu such as the one on this page lets them know that they are in a subsection of the Accessible web design section.
  • Colour links don’t necessarily have to be standard but they should be able to tell if a link has been clicked before or not.

Testing web site navigation

In order to test web site navigation have inexperienced users navigate through the web site. If they find it intuitive to use then so will more experienced users. It means that the web site is a navigational success.

For the original article go to: http://www.mardiros.net

10 SEO Tips to Remember When Building Your Site

2 Mar

10 SEO Tips to Remember When Building Your Site

Author:  Mark Cronin

Let us assume that, just like everyone else, you are building a website–after all, the Web is where it is all happening now. As soon as your website goes live–and especially while you are still in the design and development phase–you need to make sure your site’s content will be found through search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing where many people go to look for information.

Whether you’re starting a blog or deploying an e-commerce solution for your clients, it’s a good idea to keep in mind some good web development practices that will enhance your chances in search rankings.

This article follows up on a previous Six Revisions post called 9 Ways To Improve the SEO of Every Website You Design, sharing with you a few more tips for improving the search engine optimization, semantics, web accessibility, and interoperability of your web designs.

1. Use Flash Wisely

Don’t call me patronising–it goes without saying–but try not to use Flash when HTML/CSS should be used. Flash has its place on the Web: it’s great for interactive components such as sophisticated learning activity games with audio and video, and 3D animation. It’s better served as components of an HTML/CSS site than as the technology that powers the entire site. For example, check out Kongregate, a popular social Flash gaming site. Although Flash is their bread and butter, they still use HTML, CSS, and server-side scripting to power their site functionalities.

Use Flash Wisely

Flash can be SEO-friendly and web accessible, however, it’s more difficult when compared to using open web languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

2. Use Gracefully-Degrading JavaScript for Hidden Content

If you are hiding and showing content on a web page, it’s best to use JavaScript so that the content is still within the web page’s markup. This is not only good for web robots such as search engines, but also great for those that use screen readers.

Use Gracefully-Degrading JavaScript for Hidden Content

A good test to see whether hidden content on a web page is viewable by web crawlers is temporarily disabling JavaScript and determining if you can read your hidden content. You can do this from within your browser settings, but more conveniently, you can use a browser plugin like Web Developer Toolbar.

3. Name Your Image File Names Accurately

It is easy to forget how important images can be for SEO and web design alike. Name the actual file correctly by giving it a key term (e.g. yellow-banana.jpg and not some random name like img2gtc92.jpg) because this gives your site assets extra context. Make sure that you give the alt property of the image similar key terms and a decent and succinct description–aim to keep it 10 words or fewer.

In addition, Google Images is another way to get traffic to your site, and if you name your image files well and give them excellent context through their alt property, you will improve your chances of showing up in Google Images results.

4. Don’t Drown Your Home Page with Links

Internal linking–hyperlinks that point to other web pages on your site–is important, so try not to have more than 150 links from page to page so that you don’t dilute your web pages’ rank.

Don't Drown Your Home Page with Links

Too many internal links can overcrowd the page and can also slow down your users’ ability to find the link they need.

5. Don’t Use Redundant Links

Some may think that increasing the value of a particular page involves repeatedly linking to the same page from another page. Search engines will only count the first instance of that link, so there is no need to repeat links. In addition, this is a poor practice that will confuse your users.

6. Deep Linking Can Improve Conversions

Deep linking are links that point to internal pages instead of the main/home page. It is a fantastic way for you to send power to pages deeper in your site outside of your home page. Deep linking also promotes the exploration of your site by visitors, providing additional points of conversions.

7. Have a Blog

Blogs are a great way to keep building fresh content on your site and targeting long-tailed key terms. A possible idea is to bring snippets of blog posts onto related pages for fresh content on these specific pages.

8. Make Your Brand Obvious

Make sure that your branding is very clear and that your brand name is obvious on your website. This makes for an easy way for people to remember who you are and augments the possibility of people searching for your brand name on search engines. Being searched by your brand’s name also means that you won’t compete with generic words that people often use in searches (i.e. “budwieser” versus “american beer”).

9. Use an XML Sitemap

An XML Sitemap is a protocol that aids search engine crawlers gain contextual meaning about your site’s web page.

Use an XML Sitemap

If you’re using a content management system, see if it has an XML Sitemap extension (or built-in feature) that will automatically generate the XML file for you. If not, you can use a tool like XML Sitemaps Generator.

10. Use Anchor Text Accurately for Deeper Pages

When linking through to your deeper pages, use your anchor text as precise and short pieces of information. It is important to use keywords that search engine bots can relate exactly to your page. For example, if you’re linking to a web page about Maldives holidays, your link should be <a href="/maldives-holidays.html">Maldives holidays</a>. This way people, as well as web robots, easily know what they are going to get.

For the original article go to: http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/10-seo-tips-to-remember-when-building-your-site/