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Hierarchy and Structure

 
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Common Mistakes 1 - Building an Entrance Page

A correct planning of your site's structure can substantially enhance the search engines results. There are several important factors to understand:

Static versus Dynamic Sites

One of the simple ways to build a website is by using a dynamic engine that dynamically creates the visible pages for users (and search engines!). The information displayed is determined by a number of variables that are transferred to the engine that operates
the website.

Several issues to consider:

  • Static pages = high Google pagerank. Google clearly prefers static content.
  • More variants = less importance. More variants in a dynamic page means lower Google rankings. Avoid using more than two parameters.
  • Don't use the variable "&id=" or any variable that contains these two letters as one of the parameters that you use on your site. Many sites use this variable for session ID, and therefore the Google robot ignores pages that include this variable in many cases.
  • A good way to build a dynamic site is by dividing it into various folders that serve as the transferred parameter.
  • An additional way is a dynamic system that creates static pages.
  • Don't even think about a Flash site!

Website Depth

The definition of website depth is how many clicks it takes for the user to go from the homepage to the farthest page on your site. The lower the number of clicks is, the higher the pagerank in search engines.

Search engines also consider the website's physical structure. Pages that are located in the root folder will rank higher than those placed in a sub-folder. It is recommended to have one sub-folders level (meaning, not creating sub-sub-folders).

SiteMap

In order to enable an effective hierarchy structure on your site and still apply the condition which states that all pages should be no more than two or three clicks away from the homepage, the idea of a site map was born.

A site map is a page you can reach from the homepage and all other pages, which includes links to all of your site's pages.

The concept of a site map is to serve as an outline of the site's navigation bar, and therefore the map's structure should correlate to the structure of your navigation bar (category names, page names, etc). The order of appearance of the pages on the site map should also be the same as the order that is displayed in the navigation bar.

The general recommendation to stay within the limit of less than a hundred links per page applies also to the site map. Therefore, if your site contains more than a hundred pages, you should consider removing some pages from the site (remove the pages that you don't expect to show up in search results).

The site map is the place to make the links text as effective as possible (which may appear strange if we do so on a regular page).

File and Folder Names

If your important keywords are in English, try to insert them into the names of the files and folders on your site.

If you wish to put more than one keyword into a file's (page) name, do so by separating the keywords with a hyphen (-) and not an underline (_). If you use the underscore, Google will connect the words on both sides of the underline to one word.

A good example:

http://www.domain.com/blue-bonbons.htm

Wrong example:

http://www.domain.com/blue_bonbons.htm

Common Mistakes 1 - Building an Entrance Page

Site builders think that an entrance page with impressive graphics or a stunning Flash presentation will bring customers to their site. This might be true, but that kind of page will keep search engines away from the website. The entrance pages suffer from three main problems:

Lack of Text

Entrance pages will usually contain no keywords at all (except maybe "Skip Intro"), so there will be no text for the search engine to read, therefore this page will not be displayed in search engines although this page is the one that receives most of the incoming links and most of the pagerank.

Linking Problem

entrance pages will usually link to one page (the site's main content page), and usually not link to other pages. This way the important attention to your homepage is diverted.

Automatic Redirection

The entrance page often contains an automatic redirect. Therefore, the search engines will not save it.

A customer that couldn't find you is your competitor's customer..

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