How to make a SEO friendly navigation bar

How do you make sure your navigation bar is optimised as much as possible without making it look it spammy?

The navigation menus are created to allow both the user and search engine spider to go through the different areas of the website. The navigation bar plays a plays crucial role in directing spiders to the site’s most important content and encouraging site visitors to visit the deeper levels of the site.

Here are five ways:

1. Avoid flash and JavaScript

Search engine spiders cannot crawl JavaScript generated menus, nor can they crawl Flash menus or Flash websites. They can crawl anchor text links, image links and image maps. Therefore all navigation should be in plain text or HTML and if any of the non crawl-able methods are used, alternative methods should be provided to allow search engine spiders to crawl and index the site. As there is a drop down menu, these should be built with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

2. Easy to access areas

The navigation bar should be easy to use and help visits find all relevant areas of the site. Do not overcomplicate things with keyword stuffed navigation drop down menus.

The ideal method is to embed the keyword phrases in the site navigation using plain hypertext anchor links. If image links are used, the ALT attribute should contain the keyword phrase. Google advises on using simple text links instead of relying only on complex navigation, drop-down menus or image navigation. Text links are indexed more easily by search engines.

3. Be consistent

Navigational links should be consistent throughout every page on the website. They should be in the same location with the same font, style and title. This helps users to find

4. Breadcrumbs

Use “breadcrumb” navigation. A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to navigate back quickly to a previous section or the root page. Many breadcrumbs have the most general page or root page as the first, left-most link and list the more specific sections to the right.

5. Keep it simple

It is important that the navigation is clean and there is no flash. It is not clear if the rotating images in the screen grabs are made out of flash. The number of clicks needed to access the key content pages should be kept to a minimum.

So there you go, a few pointers to get you on your way, so start building that site!

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