Continuing our look at some common SEO traps we’ve seen around the TM offices (we covered the idea of 301 Redirects in yesterdays blog), let’s look at how your site links to itself internally. It’s common during a website redesign that when content is moved around, it’ll change the navigation or layout of the site itself.

As the business owner, you’ll make decisions of what you want emphasized on your site over other parts of the site. The main navigation that shows up on your main page and links to specific pages throughout your site are the pages that are most likely to show up in search engine results. And if you have offshoot pages from some of those links that aren’t directly linked from the main navigation? You run the risk of those not showing up. So the problem comes in if you’ve had pages from your old site showing up in search engine results because they were a major part of the main navigation now not showing up because they aren’t.

First, do you want those pages to continue showing up? If they’re less important and you’d rather other pages find their way into the rankings, then it might not matter. If, however, they’re important to you, important to your business, have caught the interest of visitors, brought in traffic and business to the site, then you’ll want to take some action.

Take a good look at the structure of your site and what’s linking from the main page. Does the main page take you to the pages you feel are most important and what should be emphasized? You may find that one page might not be as important as another, so a little shuffling may be required. The main thing is to ensure that the new navigation links internally to the pages you want so that they’ll have a chance at attaining ranking in the search engines. Steer your visitors where you want them and steer the search engines to where you want your visitors.

2 Responses to Redesigning Your Website? Beware the Second of Many SEO Traps

  1. I wonder if the opposite applies? Could having too many links in the main navigation “take away” from the emphasis on the main items you want to come up in search results?

    Alvin | December 29, 2011at 4:44 pm

  2. I think from a UX perspective, keeping the number of main navigation links to 7 or less (when at all possible) will give you your best results. I noticed recently that BestBuy recently altered their structure to unbelievably simplify their initial navigation, especially for the amount of products they sell. Sure, you want less clicks when you can help it as well, but proper direction is much more important; a visitor will click more as long as they know where they are going.

    Older pages that perhaps have been combined into a newer/different page can and should be 301’d to the appropriate match. Besides, if the content was that important to begin with, you probably are still utilizing it within your new site structure.

    tyler | January 9, 2012at 10:20 am

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