Before diving into gory technical details, it is worth mentioning that there are certain architectural deci-
sions that are categorically problematic for any search engine optimization campaign. If upper manage-
ment, for example, demands a web site be entirely built in Flash, the search engine marketer will not
have much leg room to the end of achieving search engine friendliness.
Likewise, if business logic requires that user agents log in before they can see any content, it is easy
to anticipate the problems that will cause for search engine optimization. A spider will
log in, and
therefore see nothing except the login page.
Technically, you could employ cloaking to detect the presence of spiders and deliver the content to them
without requiring them to log in. However, this is an especially controversial use of an already contro-
versial technique, cloaking. See Chapter 11 for more details on cloaking.
Unless there are circumstances that impose contradictory restrictions, we would advise that the follow-
ing general guidelines be followed:
require visitors to log in before they can view your content. A search engine spider
cannot fill out forms to create an account or log in!
Present copy as clear text, not images. Use an HTML/CSS-based design — do not use AJAX
or Flash pervasively.
The rest of this chapter details how to improve the search engine friendliness of a web site by example,
Search engines are designed to index content rather than execute application code. Therefore, Java
Script, when used the wrong way, can degrade a web site’s search engine friendliness. On the other
problematic, and has its appropriate uses.
Crawlable images and graphical text
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