This is an article by James Fishkin. He is a leading columnist in the most reputed technical blogs and also runs his own Digital Marketing Agency offering services for many bigger corporate houses.
Search engines have a unique way to crawl the world wide web and interpret the inputs they get. A web page always changes in ways as it looks to the search engines. In this excerpt, we will focus on the advanced technical aspects of creating or restructuring web pages so that they become more acceptable to the search engines as well as the users.
SEO executives, web developers, IT architects, designers, and webmasters can benefit from using the tips discussed below. It is not just the marketers, but all parties involved in the making and maintenance of a website should be involved in the SEO process to ensure the most desired results.
Making content indexable
To perform at best on search engine rankings, all the relevant content you put on a web page should be in standard HTML text format. Even though the crawling technology has advanced a lot, images, JS applets, flash files, and on text content tend to be often overlooked or devalued by the crawlers. The sure-shot way to cover it up is to place all of these entities in HTML text. Note the below points to serve this purpose adequately.
- Always provide image alt texts. Assign the images in standard formats like .gif, .jpg, and .png with “alt attributes” mentioned in the HTML. With this, the search engines get an easy to infer text description of the otherwise visual content.
- Supplement the search boxes with easily crawlable links and navigation.
- Enhance The Java and Flash plug-ins with on-page text descriptions.
- On posting video or audio content, also provide a transcript if you want to index the content used in it on the search engines.
Think from a search engine perspective
You will not understand it simply by assessing it all on your own from your point of view. Many of the websites face significant problems with the indexable content, so always double-check it. By using advanced tools like Google’s cache, you can easily identify which elements in your content are indexable and visible to the search engines.
Setting crawlable structures for links
Similar to seeing content to list page in keyword specific indexes, search engines also need to identify the links to find the relevant content at the first point. An easily crawlable link structure is necessary, which lets the crawlers to browse the website pathways to understand appropriate connections.
Thousands of websites have made the critical mistake of inappropriately structuring the navigation protocol because of which search engines may not be able to index the site pages. An expert Digital Marketing Agency will be able to assist you in finding this flaw at the first point to further improve the SEO initiatives.
Link tags may contain text, images, or other typical elements with a clickable area on the web page for the users to engage or to move to another page. These links function the same way as the original navigational protocols of the Internet (same as hyperlinks).
Let’s further explore some more common reasons why pages become non-crawlable.
Forms require submission
If you want users to fill in some forms to access certain content that you offer, then there are high chances that the search engines will never reach to those type of protected pages. Forms may include log-in which are password-protected or surveys. In any case, crawlers will not attempt to submit such forms, so the valuable content accessible only through form submission will remain fully invisible to the search engines.
Links to blocked pages by robots.txt
The robots.txt file and Meta Robots tag allow website administrators to restrict the crawler access to a particular web page. A word of caution to be kept in mind is that many of the typical webmasters have used these unintentionally and the access gets blocked.
Frames / iframes
Both the links at frames as well as iframes are crawlable, but both tend to make structural issues, which will further make it difficult for the engines to crawl and follow the page. Unless you learn it fully how ideal search engines index the links and follow it in frames, it is best not to attempt the same to avoid any further damage.
Above all, search engines also have certain limitations on crawling more than individual links on any given web page. This restriction is set primarily to cut down the possibility of spamming. Pages with hundreds or thousands of links always have this risk of not getting all available links being crawled to enjoy any SEO benefit out of it.