September 16, 2010

How To Ensure The Search Engines Find Your Website

One of the most fundamental aspects of search engine optimisation (SEO) is ensuring that the pages within your website are as accessible as possible to the search engines. It's not only the homepage of a website that can be indexed, but also the internal pages within a site's structure. The internal pages of a site often contain important content such as products, services or general information, and therefore can be uniquely optimised for related terms. As a result, easy access to these pages is vital.

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There are many do's and don'ts involved in ensuring all of your pages can be found by search engines. However, it is important to first establish how the search engines find and index web pages.

Search engines use "robots" (also known as "bots" or "spiders") to find content on the web for inclusion in their index. A robot is a computer programme that can follow the hyperlinks on a web page, which is known as "crawling". When a robot finds a document it includes the contents within the search engine's index, then follows the next links it can find and continues the process of crawling and indexing. With this in mind, it becomes apparent that the navigational structure of a website is important in getting as many pages as possible indexed.

When considering the navigational structure of your site, the hierarchy of content should be considered. Search engines judge what they feel to be the most important pages of a site when considering rankings and a page's position in the site structure can influence this. The homepage is generally considered the most important page of a site - it is the top level document and usually attracts the most inbound links. From here, search engine robots can normally reach pages that are within three clicks of the homepage. Therefore, your most important pages should be one click away, the next important two clicks away and so forth.

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