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Question about switching to top navigation..
affect on search engine rankings

 10:07 pm on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've got a small site that we'd like to change to top navigation. If it's done with graphical links on top, I will still keep text links at the bottom of the pages.

Will it make a tremendous difference if the top links will be graphical or text?

I am concerned about how the change will affect search engine rankings, since the site is ranking #1 and #2 on the primary keyword phrases.

Will the change adversely affect the rankings? Is there a "safe" way to do top navigation without having funny looking descriptons show up on searches?



 11:57 pm on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Marcia,

We have a few sites with top button menus, and what we do to prevent adverse effects on our rankings is we add text links on top of the button links...so the text links will be at the very top of the page, then the logo/title of the site, then the button menus.
It seems to me that it would have a negative impact on SE rankings because some of the best spider food will be at the bottom.


 11:02 am on Apr 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think it is wise to use the <a href...><img src...></a> style of graphic link generation. I would not do a bitmap today. Some rather surprising recent evidence suggests a couple engines are have a serious problem with bitmap link reading. It kinda surprised me, but then again; I'd never went for the bitmap style much so I'd not had a great deal of experince with it. We recently ripped graphics off of many sites and some had bitmaps - rankings went up accross the board on those and it is the only difference we can see.


 6:49 am on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

Brett, when you say bitmap links, are you referring to image maps, or something else?

2_much, regarding the button links on top - are those the img src= buttons Brett is saying to use?

If there are buttons (gif or jpg, img src=) further down in the page, if they're on the side of the text, they will always appear below the main body of page text in the code. And when I use those, I still use text links on the bottom, which is habit by now.

While we're on the subject of top navigation, what is the effect of using a drop down list for navigation at the very top? That is nice looking and compact, convenient means of secondary navigation, but how does that appear to spiders?


 11:57 am on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)


On my drop down lists the spiders seem to be able to follow the links.



 5:34 pm on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)


Yes, we we use the img source buttons, but we also back it up with text links.

Shari Turrow wrote somewhere that it's not advisable to use drop down menus. She said that, although they're good because they don't take up too much space when it comes to navigation, the download time is slow and most spiders can't follow links.

I've never used drop downs so I can't add anything about my experiences with this.


 6:48 pm on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

When we got rid of image based menus and went for the Jakob Nielsen/Search Engine World inspired simple Keyword rich text links at the very top on one site 8 months ago, our hits soared relatively against sites we left alone.

Similar with a site where we got rid of a js menu at the very top under <BODY> . Everybody liked the js menu, but its effect on SEranking i think was substantial.

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