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  1. #1
    Member Tobius's Avatar
    Join Date
    August 16th, 2006
    Columbus, OH
    SEO/Visitor Navigation Methodologies?
    I've been going back and forth on which might work better from both the SEO and the Visitor's point of view in terms of website navigation. I keep finding conflicting suggestions and am curious what you all think.

    Let's say that the sites focus is on rainbow colored widgets and varied color coordinated widget accessories. Here are the different ways that I can see the global navigation for the website being built.

    1: Fully Exposed or Nested?

    A fully exposed navigation would basically be a sitemap used as global website navigation. Consider for a moment that the entire navigation can be embedded on every web page, but concealed from initial display via CSS as is the case with CSS drop down menus.

    A nested navigation is the exact opposite where you would only ever get to the level of navigation by which you are currently viewing. So you would literally be crawling up and down a navigation tree with every click.

    2. Content or Structure?

    A content based navigation would put the content categories (pertaining to the website topic) up front and contain the breakdown of that content within those categories. For example, you would go to Red Widgets and THEN you would go to Articles or Products about Red Widgets.

    A Structure based navigation would put the website structure up front. So you would browse to Products and THEN you would browser to Red Widget Products. Now with this method to get to a Red Widget Article (that isn't being cross-linked) you would first have to switch from the Product section to the Articles section and THEN you would continue back down the path to the Red Widget Articles.

    3. Ignore Structure and Cross-Link Everything

    This would basically be where you don't concern yourself with navigation structure because you've cross-linked everything. So instead of focusing on the right navigation tree you would just keep it generic and provide enough site-wide cross linking that anything relevant is available as a cross-link or a complementary link.

    4. Ignore Structure and Search for Everything

    This is basically the same mentality from #3 except instead of focusing on cross-linking you focus more on a local website search engine.

    I know that there are a lot of ifs, ands and buts in here so please bear with me. I would think that the obvious solution would be one that impelements full site navigation on every page (obscured from the user unless requested) with well-formed/well-nested travel paths, combined with smart cross-linking and highly efficient search algorithms. But I know that there are probably valid reasons to weigh one method over another and that's really what I'm trying to get to the heart of.

    Is it 90% full exposure to 10% of everything else, 50% full exposure to 25% search to 25% of everything else, etc.

    So whaddaya think?


  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Personally I say to have links to everything, fully exposed. If you can make it look nice and still have it spiderable, that's a bonus. But don't put too many clicks between the front page and the pages you want ranked. IMO neither robots nor humans have the patience to keep drilling and drilling and drilling and drilling, down through tons of layers of categorized nav.

    Also have a site search so real humans (as opposed to robots) can find things quickly.

    Structure-based (as you describe it) sounds like it'd be a PITA for the users, and confuse the robots. There'd probably be a lot of pages that'd never be found by either.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
    Join Date
    August 18th, 2006
    Washington, DC
    I agree with leader, though some nesting is ok sometimes.

    I like the cross linking too, blog style.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager

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