I have a site with over 100 links in the main menu, what I would ultimately like to do is categorize product better and reduce the amount. In the meantime, would applying nofollow on low priority product categories help or hurt? I'm guessing probably not good, but just curious.
100 links is nothing special if you're in commerce, which I gather you are. Just make sure the menu is formatted in a way that's useful and convenient for your human users. That is: not a vast single list of 100 items, but also not one of those over-scripted arrangements where if you so much as breathe on the mouse, the sub-sub-submenu disappears and you have to start over again.
I am in ecommerce and the menu works very nicely. What about code weight? Bing webmaster tools keeps complaining that our pages have too much code and that it may not be parsing and indexing it all. I believe the menu makes up for a large chunk of code.
too much code and that it may not be parsing and indexing it all
Yikes. Just how big is a typical page's HTML? If you don't have a ready way to tell, download the HTML alone-- not a full "web archive" --in any browser, and check the resulting filesize. (You may also be able to get the information from LiveHeaders or equivalent; I don't remember.) While you're at it, try some exact-text searches in Bing using text from near the bottom of a few pages. They may just be talking through their hats; this is a common problem with WMT (any search engine).
:: counting on fingers ::
Each individual link can't possibly be more than about 100 characters. 100x100 = 10K, which these days is nothing. Something is wrong.
Gotta say that adding a "nofollow" tag would hardly make the code smaller, since that's a further 15+ bytes per :)
Pages vary from 150KB to 160KB. I did an exact match search on a couple pages of different sizes and you're right, Bing is indexing all of it. Good point on the "nofollow" adding more weight! :D Thank you for your help.
If you links are to actual PRODUCTS then go nearly as large as you like. I have two sites with over 500 items, but those index pages are divided and sectioned with a left nave FOR THAT PAGE to get to the product listing by sub category ON THAT PAGE. No problems, not even with Bing.
then again, These are just LINKS to the actual product page from a master index with no special gaming of SEO. The two sites I manage that fall into this description have been on the web since 1998 and the businesses are doing fine and have no desire to change what works for them.
These days, for other clients, the left nav is to SUB CAT indexes, not a category ON THE SAME INDEX PAGE. Neater, faster, easier to maintain, with the concept that no page generates more than 30k in weight.
Pick and choose your battles, but it does sound like you need a site wide redesign.
As for keywords.... check your niche. If you are competing with 12,000-12,000,000 others in the same niche, good luck! You'd have to bring other value to your site/sales pitch to get attention.
Everyone has Red Widgets. Your Red Widgets have to be extra special by either service, delivery, manufacture, or support, or even a pretty color. Or as simple as your sales pitch is better than Tom Dick and Harry.