9 Common Web Design Mistakes Prevent Google From Indexing Your Site

Web Designers frequently destroy their clients’ chances of ranking well in Google, without even knowing it! Here are three common mistakes that can ruin a client’s chances of ranking well in Google, Yahoo or MSN – simply by preventing the site from being indexed!
Search engines follow regular text links, but web designers like to use these unfriendly search engine navigation methods:

1. JavaScript Menus
Search Engines do not follow links reliably in JavaScript, if at all.

2. Imagemaps
Search Engines cannot see the image, and so cannot classify the relevance or topic of the link. Lesser search engine robots do not even attempt to follow imagemap links.

3. Image Links / Rollover links
These links frequently contain JavaScript, but also are difficuly for search engines to classify.

4. JavaScript popups
Search Engines do not follow JavaScript reliably, and do not seem to like popups at all!

5. “Jump menus”
These pulldown menus are usually submitting a form. If the form target is sent GET requests, there is a chance that the links will be followed in some manner, but again – this isn’t reliable navigation for Search Engines.

6. NOSCRIPT embedded links
We were told that content in NOSCRIPT tags is for those visitors that have JavaScript off. But if you were told this means search engines, you were told wrong! This HTML tags has been abused by spammers early on, and search engines do not reliably follow navigation within these tags.

7. Frames – they’re rarely done in a search friendly manner
More on the “right way” in a later post. Frames are challenging for search engines, and we have recently seen Google penalizing framee-based sites, perhaps due to the usability challenges they can present.

8. Java
Java cannot be executed by search engines. Many early rollover effects relied on Java, but the navigation cannot be read by search engine robots.

9. Flash
Flash navigation cannot be followed by search engines. Splash pages can become a deadend for search engines, and alternatives to Flash navigation should always be given.
So what can you do to be sure that search engines will crawl your site? We’ll have answers in a future post, but a frequent supplement to websites that use the above techniques – meant almost entirely for search engines – is a set of footer links for seach engines to follow.