SEO Tips for Creating Navigation Structures that Search Engines Can Read

By Peter Kent

Your navigation structure needs to be visible to search engines. Some page components may be invisible to search engines. For instance, a navigation structure created with JavaScript may not be deciphered by some search engines. If the only way to navigate your website is with the JavaScript navigation, you could have a problem; some search engines may not be able to find their way around your site. (Google’s pretty good at reading JavaScript these days; some other search engines may not be.)

Here are a few tips for search engine–friendly navigation:

  • If you use JavaScript navigation or another technique that could be invisible, make sure that you have a plain HTML navigation system, too, such as basic text links at the bottom of your pages.

  • Even if your navigation structure is visible to the search engines, you may want to have these bottom-of-page links as well. They’re convenient for site visitors and provide another chance for the search engines to find your other pages, provide more keywords on the page, and provide more keyworded links to other pages.

    Yet another reason for bottom-of-page, basic text navigation: If you have some kind of image-button navigation, you don’t have any keywords in the navigation for the search engines to read.

  • Add a sitemap page and link to it from your main navigation. It provides another way for search engines to find all your pages.

  • Whenever possible, provide keywords in text links as part of the navigation structure.