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why is google crawling my menu text first?
Graham Wellington




msg:3209554
 6:01 pm on Jan 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I read on one of the webmasterworld SEO guides that its essential to have an important keyword near the top of your "content"

My site has a header, menu, contentarea, and footer. Google crawls the menu first, which make it look really ugly when doing a site:mysite.com

Does this mean google places first emphasis on the menu item text not on the keyword rich content? How do I make it read the content first?

google renders the description like this: (edited for TOS)

The name of my Site. Home. MenuItem1; ; MenuItem2; Menuitem3; ETC ETC ETC ...

Adding a custom meta description tag solved this, but my worry is google still crawls the menu first, treating it as the "top content" instead of my REAL content.

 

annej




msg:3210066
 2:08 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is your menu before your header etc in your HTML?

I use CSS to put my menu after my headers, main content and such. I like having my menu in the left column and CSS was the solution for me.

tedster




msg:3210101
 2:57 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I no longer see any strong evidence that this is an issue. First, doesn't the anchor text in a menu have strong relevance to the site's theme? But more than that, if you have written decent html, where the menu is structurally set apart from the content block and that menu is repeated on the template for many pages, then I see Google being able to differentiate quite well between sections or blocks of the page, differentiating between what is utilitarian like a menu, and what is that url's unique content.

Yes, sometimes in the site: results, the snippet selection takes a holiday when a page doesn't have any meta description at all, or even not a strong and unique meta description. IMO, this is mostly because the snippet presented is search-term-dependent, and there's no keyword intelligence in the basic site: operator query. Just because you see an ugly snippet in the site: results doesn't mean the same snippet gets shown in a regular keyword search.

one closing remark about the thread title -- this
question is not about crawling, it's about indexing.
Googlebot can only "crawl" content in the document's
source code order. Then begins the indexing and the
ranking analysis.

Graham Wellington




msg:3210181
 5:05 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm using a certain unmentionable wiki as CMS and the menu repeats on every one of the site's 100 pages. So is the practice of adding keywords to the "top of content" now out dated? The author of a SEO guide frequently posted here seems to think so, but it was written three years ago.

True, its indexing.

tedster




msg:3210183
 5:16 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I work with many sites that are thriving and that do not change the source order of their html. That's partly why I think that prominence in the source code is not so a big factor today. But certainly it can still help - and it certainly did help a lot not too far in the past.

Essentially, re-ordering the source code is a technical trick, right? If you were a search engine, wouldn't you try to find better ways to ferret out relevance? The algos have matured a long way.

That said, getting important keywords in early in the content block is still a big deal.

[edited by: tedster at 6:23 am (utc) on Jan. 6, 2007]

BigDave




msg:3210189
 5:37 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

How many of your users search with site: and no search term? I just don't understand why people worry about searches that end users never do.

Google had understood and recognized and dealt with page templates for years. I don't worry about it anymore.

<flamebait>
But for those of you that go on about CSS being the answer, it is easier to put your content before your left sidebar using tables than with CSS and have it display consistently. Rowspan is your friend.
</flamebait>

Jordo needs a drink




msg:3210229
 7:16 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, sometimes in the site: results, the snippet selection takes a holiday when a page doesn't have any meta description at all

With the site results, if the meta description is less than 50 characters, it will pull additional text from the first text it sees.

With normal search results, if the meta description is less than 50 characters, it will pull additional text from what it feels best shows what you're searching for.

Thaparian




msg:3210329
 12:40 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Same thing happened to my site.

Earlier i was having less pages in my site, so at that time links were or right side and appeared after content text in the code.

Later i created more pages so i created a top navigation section, which appeared before content text in code.

My traffic decreased a lot.

I was getting supplemental results.

Then i move the code for top navigation below the text in code, by using some special coding.

Appearance of page remained same but coding changed.
Now everything is fine.

Other thing you can do is by using meta description tag, but i wouldn't recommend it.

Patrick Taylor




msg:3210358
 1:38 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

<yummy>But for those of you that go on about those who go on about CSS being the answer, it is just as easy to put your content before your left sidebar using CSS as with tables and have it display consistently. Float is your friend.</yummy>

Graham Wellington




msg:3210489
 4:45 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

how do I set up my #content in CSS so that its indexed first? I just move it up in the filename.css?

Patrick Taylor




msg:3210511
 5:05 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would suggest taking a look in the WW CSS forum. Basically, it is done by CSS 'floating' the main content column right: {float:right;} and then 'floating' the left side navmenu column left: {float:left;}. This way, the main content appears first in the source code and the navmenu lower down, but on the page, the navmenu is on the left. The setup (simple though it is) has to be done right, setting up the widths.

[edited by: Patrick_Taylor at 5:09 pm (utc) on Jan. 6, 2007]

annej




msg:3210550
 5:49 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

You can't beat good meta descriptions. In the case of searchers searching by domain name it would probably be people who already know your site but most people would be using search phrases and a good meta description could help get people to look at your site over sites ahead of you in the SERPS.

BigDave




msg:3210590
 6:46 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Your content can break floated columns. Absolute positioning is a lot more reliable. Both ways provide inconsistent results with older browsers.

I have nothing against CSS, and I use it a lot. I just find it funny that people insist that it is the only way to do things or that it always produces smaller pages.

Redesigning a table based page to CSS is a lot of work for little gain. Source ordering your table will take about 2 minutes, and produce identical output to what is currently there with a different source order. And it works the same in all browsers.

Patrick Taylor




msg:3210779
 11:32 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't use tables for layout, but don't have any philosophical objections to that method. If it works, it works. If they weren't called 'tables'...

Google doesn't appear to care too much either way, and I tend to agree that the order of the source code is not a factor.

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