Designing SEO friendly top navigation

Let’s be honest here. How many times have you seen the same fields up in the top navigation of a website? You know what I’m talking about. If I had to place a bet, I’d guess your site would have something like the following…

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Products
  • Services
  • Contact

But let me ask you something, have you ever considered the SEO potential of harnessing the power of your top navigation? Think about the following, how many pages on your website use the top navigation? Answer: All of them.

What this means is that on every page of your site, you are providing a link to a series of pages located in the top nav, with anchor text. Currently, if you are using a similar structure as above, you are missing out on some massive ranking potential. So let’s look at a list of solutions…

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1. Prioritize your most important pages

If you have keywords, products, or services that you want to rank on Google, pick up to five competitive, broad, and short keywords that you want to rank. These will be your main 5 tabs (minus Home and Contact).

2. Consider a drop-down or mega-menu

Do you have different product categories? Use a drop-down menu, or in extreme cases, use a mega-menu. I’ve seen companies in the Biotech industry use up to 40 different keywords in a mega-menu when appropriate. The more complicated your product line or industry, the more helpful it will be for your customers to have this navigation. Check out Abcam’s as a reference.

Top Navigation SEO from Abcam

3. Keep it short and simple

Remove any of your company branding from the navigation. For new users this will just confuse them and inhibit their ability to find your products. In the case of current customers, they can still easily find your products. Google also won’t care about your branding when indexing your links. Leave the branding to the individual landing pages.

4. Design with your users in mind

Google doesn’t want you to try to manipulate the search engine indexing. They want you to design a website that provides an amazing user experience. Make it easy for your new customers to find your products and your old customers should follow suit.

5. Don’t be afraid of the competitive keywords

After all, if you have an e-commerce site selling thousands of products, this is creating thousands of internal links. This is one of the easiest ways to tell Google what a webpage is about. If you believe your page targets that keyword, Google will eventually as well (assuming your content is good).

 

I hope this helps with your future SEO efforts. It’s certainly helped with mine.

 

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