SEO Barriers

Just as there are steps you can take to improve your site’s search engine performance, there are also things that can hurt your chances at optimal rankings—below are some major culprits…….

Avoid Frames
Sites utilizing frames typically separate the content of the page from the frameset, making it
virtually impossible for search engines to find, let alone index and produce, the content of the
framed pages in their results. If you have framed pages that you want to optimize for search
engines, your best bet is to convert them to standard non-framed pages so that search engines
can see what they have to offer for content display them properly.

Dynamic URLs
Dynamic URLs (e.g. containing “?” or “ID=”) have traditionally been difficult for many search
engines to crawl and index properly, although they are getting better at it. To play it safe,
monitor your dynamically generated pages to assess whether or not the major search engines
are finding them and, if necessary, create non-dynamic, search engine-friendly, versions of
those pages on your site (e.g. yourorganization.com/about/default.asp).

Images vs. Text
Web developers will often utilize images to display text for page headings and navigation
elements to enhance the design and/or control the layout of site pages, as opposed to utilizing
HTML “true text” (in general, if you can highlight the text with your mouse, you will know it is
true text). While there is nothing inherently wrong with this practice from a web development
standpoint, it is important to know that search engines are not able to view text that is
presented as images. Therefore, if words that you want search engines to find are embedded
in site graphics, you should consider transitioning those images to actual text. Minimally, you’ll
want to use ALT text to indicate the words that are displayed in site graphics not only so that
search engines can read them, but also as a usability enhancement for visitors who may not be
able to view the images.

Multimedia
Flash animation and video may look cool to site visitors, but search engines cannot read or
index the content embedded within multimedia objects. That is not to say that you shouldn’t
use multimedia where appropriate, but be aware that it is not search engine-friendly. Inserting
Flash components as individual page elements (amongst HTML) to achieve the effects you
seek is a much better option than building entire pages in Flash if you want search engines to
find the pages.

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