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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast MonsterZero's Avatar
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    Question Main Navigation & Its Effects on Ranking

    I've been asked to redesign and promote this site. The previous designer was a good artist, but lacked technical finesse. The site has numerous problems such as poorly compressed images & embedded Flash animations 10 times the maximum recommended size, lack of descriptive content, sloppy internal directory structure, etc., etc., etc. Those issues can be resolved fairly easily; I just want you to confirm I'm aware of those, before everybody starts to complain that the site takes forever to download.

    Right now the most pressing question is what to do with the main navigation (company, products, fabricating, showroom, references, contact us links). Should I re-design the navigation so it contains a full list of products lined up right there on the home page or just a single "products" link that takes them to an intermediate product page?

    As far as I know search engine crawlers love to see those important product links available on the home page. It improves site ranking-or so I heard.

  2. #2
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    The important thing is going to be having links pointing to the pages you want people to see in search engines. However its not just enough to have these links, you'll also want these links to be text based with your keywords in the anchor text.

    So if you sell "purple widgets" you'd want text links throughout your site pointing to your purple widget page using the text "purple widgets."
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
    My Blog|My Webmaster Forums

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast MonsterZero's Avatar
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    Yes, I am aware of that. The image-based links will go. In addition to being crawler-unfriendly they add file size and complicate the HTML source in exchange for...nothing really. The same effect can be achieved with tables containing CSS formatted text links. Thank you.

    People got used to "image button" links mainly because of the rollover effects but those went out of style years ago and have to be used with caution, IMHO.
    Last edited by MonsterZero; Aug 5, 2002 at 12:00.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast MonsterZero's Avatar
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    This is what it should look like, IMHO. At General Electric all the critical products of the main navigation are listed as text links in neat vertical stacks. The product group titles are little red images but it doesn't matter anymore.

    Boss wants quick results though and I was kind of hoping to get away with the old navigation-hence my thread here.
    Last edited by MonsterZero; Aug 5, 2002 at 12:12.

  5. #5
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    Hi,

    You have a very nice site there--love your pictures. But I see very little text throughout your site--except on the company page and a little on the product page. Search engines work out the theme of your site by reading the text on your site. Also, your domain name, your <title>, your <meta>, the text in your <body>, all of them are used by the search engines to make out the theme of your site. Unfortunately, I see none of them optimized with your keywords.

    Optimizing each element of your site:

    I also looked at how you've named your pictures, your html pages, etc. It would be good to properly name your pictures using your keywords. The same goes for your html pages and everything else--even your subdirectories. This will help the search engines make out the theme of your site.

    Linking strategies:

    Any site can reach a top ranking if it has good quality inbound links-- whether the site is properly optimized or not.

    The problem youíre facing is that most sites will link to you with the text "www.awwstone.com". Such a link provides no keywords and so it wonít help you in ranking high on the keywords youíre targeting.

    Keyword analysis:

    Keyword analysis is the single most important step in search engine optimization: If you optimize your site with the wrong keywords, then you wonít do well no matter how well youíve optimized and re-optimized your site--youíll be targeting the wrong keywords.

    Did you decide which keywords to target based on your knowledge of your clients and your business? If so, chances are that youíre targeting the wrong keywords or your keywords are too general. Almost all of my clients do the same mistake.

    Instead, go to www.wordtracker.com and find out first hand which keywords your clients use to find websites like yours. They have a free version you can try, but it wonít generate accurate numbers on competition. Youíll have to go to the paid version for that. Make sure you learn how each feature of wordtracker works. I promise you that youíll be surprised with the results--all my clients are when they discover the real key phrases that their prospects use.

    My recommendation:

    First do your keyword analysis, and then get a domain name with your main key phrase in it (this will help with your ranking and people will link to you with your keywords in the text link). Then optimize every element on your page.

    If you really like your present domain name, you can always have it as a secondary domain name. Have it redirected to your site. Your webmaster should know how to do this.

    Thatís what I recommend.

    Hope this helped.

    Sheriff
    Last edited by SheriffG.Guirguis; Aug 7, 2002 at 01:10.


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