Web Marketing: How to Make Sure All Your Content is Searchable by the Engines

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Search engines move from page to page on your website by following links. In web marketing, you need to provide a way to browse. Search engines can’t fill out forms, which means that they can’t use that search box you have on your site (ironic, huh?). They also can’t use a quick navigation box.

image0.jpg

So, if you have any of the following, make sure that a way exists to click through and browse the entire database by using regular HTML links:

  • A location database that shows a list of local stores or other addresses

  • A searchable directory of products

  • An address book for your company’s staff

  • Any other data stored in a database and searched using a form

Say your site sells salads. On your homepage, you have a form that lets folks pick what ingredients they’d like in their salad and then see which premade salads they can order that fit their requirements.

If that form is the only way to find product information, and you don’t have any regular links, you’re blocking search engines from finding your products.

Search engines can’t use forms.

To fix the problem, add a Browse All Products link. Then let visitors drill down from there by ingredients, categories, or both.

Another example: You have a searchable database of stores offering your products. Visitors type their address or postal code, and the site displays nearby stores. Great for visitors, but not good for search engines, because they can’t use a search form (ironic, isn’t it?).

Add a link that lets visitors click instead of search, by choosing their state and then their city.

Search engines can follow that link, find all those pages, and add more content to their index of your site. Make sure that all your content is browseable.