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Optimal Navigation Solution For Users And Spiders


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25 replies to this topic

#1 Hans

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 07:47 AM

Even after reading quite a lot about this issue I am still confused about the question: "What is the optimal navigation solution to serve both visitors and SE spiders best"
On other threads in those forums people speak of "keep everything close". Ideally one would like to keep things close to the home page indeed both for visitors and spiders.
Any ideas or recommendations?

Hans M. Wind

#2 Mel

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 09:50 AM

Hi Hans:

I am sure there may well be a lot of different opinions on this matter, but lets give it a shot anyway.

First of all the navigation system has to be both familiar to users, simple to use, and not set in some strange place (I know of one site where the navigation is right across the middle of the page). For small sites this can be just a series of text or graphic links, but for larger sites, with many different sections that users might want access to from any page, a collapsible menu system may be the way to go.

Then there is the question If the spiders can see the page, and then if they see it in the order that results in the best ranking. Again for simple sites a series of text or graphic links using the table trick to get it read when you want it to be may be the way to go.

But for those large sites with necessary collapsible menus, one has to avoid JS menus, and IMO the easiest way is to use layers to build and display your menu and control the layers visibility with JS. You can build very complex but easily navigable menu systems this way, position them anywhere in the code you like and the links contained therein will be spiderable.

#3 dragonlady7

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 10:15 AM

I ended up using javascript and visibility for my menus, actually. The site's going to be launched today. I'll let y'all know how it works out!

#4 Hans

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 10:37 AM

To contribute to my own question.

An article with some info on Javascipt and Search Engine visibility I found in the meantime is:
JavaScipt and Search Engine Visibility by Shari Thurow

Looking forward to your experience DragonLady7!

#5 dragonlady7

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 11:41 AM

Oh, just a side note-- Googlebot has begun spidering external javascripts. Some folks over on another forum noticed that in their logs. No results have come of it, and it's not something I'd count on, but it's definitely pulling up those files and looking at them. So... don't count on them figuring out your javascript navigation, but don't try to hide anything in there either!!

#6 qwerty

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 11:53 AM

To take things a tad further off-topic, I've also heard that the spiders have started looking at style sheets. I haven't seen it on any of my sites yet, but I'm watching for it. So if anyone out there is stuffing keywords into hidden layers.... :stunned: omg :)

#7 Mel

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 11:33 PM

With regard to Sharis article she is, as always, spot on, but not all dhtml menus have spidering problems, and in particular those built using layers are spidered 100%. The reason for this is that the layers are always resident in your code as plain old html and not embedded in any scripts. What the scripts do is only to change the visbility of the various layers to enable the visibilty of these layers.
Still it never hurts to have a bit of a text menu at the bottom of the page, and of course an html site may is a must.

One of the best sites that I know of if you want to do this kind of menu is Here where you can also find lots of great (mostly free) Dreamweaver extensions.

#8 Mel

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 11:38 PM

More on DHTML menus. Must mention that if you need more information on how a particular menu system will spider the Sim Spider will give you a good indication of it.

#9 Hans

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 12:22 PM

Thanks for that link Mel. :thumbup:

I didn't know that one yet. Very often I use Lynx to see how spider see the site and it's navigation.

#10 websage

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 02:49 PM

Mel, I agree with you on the menus using layers, but what if the layers are being called by Javascript?

#11 dimok

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 04:59 AM

I suppose there two main issues that can solve the problem:

1. Duplicate the navigation with plane text link, for example, at the bottom of the page.

2. Create good site map. Good I mean that it creates dynamically according to changable structure of the site and cover all primary pages/topics.

If you have that any spider can crawl you pages :chef:

#12 cre8pc

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 03:52 PM

I'm not sure if these will help but I'll try. They were run in Jill's newsletter awhile back...

http://www.cre8pc.co..._seousenav.html - How To Impress Search Engines and Users - Focus: Web Site Navigation

and

http://www.cre8pc.co...eousestruc.html - How To Impress Search Engines and Users - Focus: Web Site Structure

For both visitors (spiders and humans), keeping the vitals at or near the top will bring back positive results for you, and make life easier for them.

Kim Krause

#13 Mel

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 10:23 AM

Mel, I agree with you on the menus using layers, but what if the layers are being called by Javascript?

Hi Mitko:
Sorry for the late reply.

The only problem with JS is that the spiders can't read it, and so jscripts which generate the menu won't be seen by spiders.

No problem with menus built using layers controlled by js since the content of the layers is all in the html code of your page, so the spider can see it with no problem.

#14 TBroadfoot3rd

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 06:12 PM

Menus created in layers should not have a problem being viewed by the spiders. Being controlled by js is not a problem since the spiders will see the code as html in the layers.

Site maps are good and on the bottom of each page at least bare minimum all the major pages of the site ... home, about us, contact, main product or service page which all the products or services flow from, and site map

This gives you the best bang for the buck to allow user and spider to see the site and get the most from the experience. Though do spiders have experiences?

As always YMMV,

#15 garyhall

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 04:59 PM

2. Create good site map. Good I mean that it creates dynamically according to changable structure of the site and cover all primary pages/topics.

Do you have any suggestions to a good product that will do this?
We have a dynamic site and wish to add a site map. Currently
looking for a product that will do this without jumping through a
bunch of hoops every time we make a change.

I would like it to look "nice". Haystack mentioned in another post
several examples:
http://www.forbes.co...c/sitemap.shtml

http://www.apple.com/find/sitemap.html

Thanks.

Regards,

Gary




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