Make Your Site Crawlable – Somewhere!

Navigational elements on your website can be created in many ways, but the only “true” SEO-friendly way to construct any links on your website is to use plain text links formatted with CSS — plain and simple! CSS formatting allows you to render plain, text links more appealing to the user.

However, if you are a web designer that can not envision creating links in this way and you have to use JavaScript, images or image maps, make sure you have these contingencies in place:

1) Ensure there is an Internal HTML sitemap on the site that provides alternate, text based navigation.

2) Link to important pages in your Footer Navigation:

3) Keep your XML Sitemap up-to-date to help the search engines spiders properly index pages on your site.

4) Use optimal text in your Alt tags. While certain images are “crawlable”, they are not necessarily “optimal”. Adding keyword rich text to Alt tags tells the search engines the theme of the linked page:

So, how crawlable is your website? If you are not the person who designed the site and are unsure, simply mouse over a link or button on a page and see if the URL for the link appears in the bottom of your browser window. If it does, there’s a good chance you have an SEO friendly, crawlable link. You can also view crawlable links in a “text only mode” for your site by typing in “cache:www.mywebsite.com” into Google and clicking on the link that says “Text-only version” in the dialogue box at the top of the page when it loads. If the link appears on this text only version of the webpage, you’re most likely in good shape.

To determine if the link is anchored with an image, merely right click the link and see if you have the option to “view image” or “save image as” etc in the pop-up menu.   If you use a browser such as Firefox, you will also be able to tell if the image has associated Alt text by looking at the “Associated Text” section under “View Image Info” in the pop-up menu:

For Internet Explorer, perform a search in the source code for the term “Alt” to locate any Alt tags associated with any images on the page:

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