Thursday, 1 March 2012

Optimizing Your Navigation Menu for Better Rankings

How has your progress been? This week we are going to talk about something that you will rarely see discussed. Yet when implemented can give you an SEO advantage over your competitors. What is it? It is your navigation menu...that’s right, the menu near the top of your page.
The important thing to do in your navigation bar is to use your primary keyword phrases for the pages they link to. But there are also a few more things you can do to really get some more SEO juice out of your navigation menu.
Let me show you a quick example... 

Say that you are linking to the page on your dining room table site that is about glass dining room tables. And the primary keyword phrase for this page is "glass dining room tables". All you need to do then when linking to the page is use "Glass Dining Room Tables". All you are really doing here is properly using anchor text. But many people don’t use proper anchor text throughout their website.

Here's how the HTML of your link to this page would look:
<A href="glass-dining-room-tables.html"> Glass Dining Room Tables </A>
Here's another example using a full navigation menu...
Your main navigation links in this example are as follows:
         All About Dining Room Tables
         Modern Dining Room Tables
         Glass Dining Room Tables
         Black Dining Room Tables
         Contact Us
         About Us

Note that Modern Dining Room Tables, Glass Dining Room Tables, Black Dining Room Tables all link to main sections of your site. Within those sections you'll probably create more pages with more detailed information about these topics.
Note: It's best to place all of your pages on a similar topic into their own directory (or virtual directory), and name that directory with your primary keyword phrase for that section.
So here's how your main navigation links might look:
<A href="/index.html"> All About Dining Room Tables </A>
<A href="/modern-dining-room-tables/index.html"> Modern Dining Room Tables </A>
<A href="/glass-dining-room-tables/index.html"> Glass Dining Room Tables </A>
<A href="/black-dining-room-tables/index.html"> Black Dining Room Tables </A>
<A href="/contact-us.html" rel="nofollow">Contact Us</A>
<A href="/about-us.html" rel="nofollow">>About Us</A>
A Few Important Things to Notice
Did you also notice how some links have a "rel=nofollow" in them? Good. Here's why...
You should use a no-follow attribute on the main navigation links which link to pages that aren't relevant to your site's overall theme. In this case ‘Contact Us’ and ‘About Us’. Technically speaking this will redistribute page rank to other more important pages of the site and reduce the number of irrelevant links on the internal pages of your site.
If you don't know what I mean by that don't worry. Just use the no-follow on those pages that don't really contain important content, but are more or less helper pages. Privacy Policy, and Terms and Services are also examples of these kind of pages.
Dividing your content using sub directories and using your keywords as the clickable copy in your navigation links (or using alt tags if you're navigation menu is made of images) is key to clarifying to the search engines what your content is all about. It's simple to do, but powerful.
I hope you've learned a lot about on-page search engine optimization so far in this series. Next post we'll begin to take a look at building links to your site.

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