While there are great reasons to use these technologies, they create problems when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) which is available in a website visibility report. Web page content that is wrapped in a fancy package can be difficult – or impossible – for a search engine to “see.” That means the search engine crawlers may have a hard time understanding what your page is about.
The crawlers may not index all your important pages, leaving your website buried in pages behind ‘page 1’ in searches. The search engines may also find it difficult to follow any links – internal or external – you have placed in web page content rendered in Flash, Silverlight, or other technologies. That matters because search engines use your internal links to discover other pages on your site, to understand how pages on your site relate to each other, and to determine which pages on your website are more important than others.
Flash website designers sometimes incorporate the search function for a Flash website into their designs. That can be helpful for people, but may pose problems for search engines trying to crawl your Flash website. If pages on your Flash website are accessible only from a search box, the search engine will not be able to see those pages, because search engines do not type keywords into search boxes to find relevant web pages. Consider some of the popular technologies for creating attractive, people-friendly web pages, descriptions of the potential issues, option for avoiding costly problems.
People who are serious about tracking the business performance of their website use some form of analytics such as Google Analytics. Seeing how visitors get to your website, and where they go after they land on it, helps you understand how to turn more visitors into customers. Sometimes web designers use a single page with pre-set parameters to track clicks. The page captures the information about which links were clicked, and then redirects the web browser to the final page that will be shown to the person who is surfing.
Website Flash is an incredible technology that enables a richer user experience. Flash is often used for video, slideshows and interactive features on a website. However, search engines can’t “see” any content that is rendered in Flash.
Many websites have everything in Flash. It can look great to human visitors, but to search engines, it looks like the website consists of a single web page – and one with very little content, at that. If the search engines think your entire site consists of a single page, they’ll think your site doesn’t have much useful content, and won’t rank your site high in search results, leaving your website buried deeply in searches.
Google has improved its crawler’s ability to “see” what is in a Flash object, especially if the web designer has followed some fairly straightforward rules. Still, it is not certain that all text rendered in Flash will be accessible to Googlebot. Keep in mind that a good percentage of searchers do not use Google.
Do you really want to fence out a third of your potential customers? At the end of the day, use Flash for decorative elements. Render your links and navigation menus in HTML, so search engine bots can see them.
This technology, created by Microsoft Corp., enables rich media experiences similar to what you can do with Flash. Googlebot has problems seeing the text and links in Silverlight. Just as with Flash, you’re best advised to use Silverlight for decorative purposes, and use HTML to render links and navigation menus.
Low Quality Solutions
That gives each page on your site just one link, making it appear to a search engine bot that each page is as important as every other. That is not accurate, and means that your most important pages will not show up as high in search results as would be shown in a website visibility report. Google webmaster tools can tell you how many pages on your site link to any other page. Log in to Google webmaster tools, click on “Your Site On The Web”, then click “Internal Links.”
Pages Are Accessible Only by Online Forms
Some sites have pages that can be reached only by filling out a form. For instance, one of the largest automobile insurance companies in the world used to have a simple form on its home page that asked for your postal code. You’d fill that out, click on Submit, and be directed to the portion of the insurer’s site that dealt with your region.
It sounds logical, but search engine crawlers don’t type in postal codes, and they don’t click on Submit. To the search engines, this insurer’s site looked like just a single page – and a pretty boring one, at that.
Search forms pose a similar problem. While this is a tremendously useful way for a human to find information on your site, it is not a navigation method the crawlers can use. Crawlers don’t type words into a search box, and they don’t click on a Search button. The solution? Keep the search form – it is great for your human visitors. Add a sitemap, and submit to search engines an XML sitemap that links to every page you want indexed.
How to Check If You Have a Crawl Problem
With a States Technology Labs FREE website visibility report, you can quickly check how many pages of your site the major search engines have indexed. If the number is lower than you think it should be, contact us for a free initial report. We are happy to discuss the best steps to bring better ranking and qualified traffic to your website.