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Previously, I focused on hiring SEO consultants. Today, I would like to tackle how you can use web crawlers to your advantage. Believe it or not, those search engine bots that crawl your firm’s website are very helpful as long as you are doing your best to follow the algorithm that Google has created. While these crawlers can certainly seem like something out of a sci-fi movie at first thought, I always tell my clients that the best possible thing you can do for your website is to not only accept them as necessary, but to make it easier for them to give you a higher ranking by adhering to as many SEO guidelines as you can. Google explains:

A crawler, also known as a spider or a bot, is the software Google uses to process and index the content of webpages. The AdSense crawler visits your site to determine its content in order to provide relevant ads.

I have touched on the subject of crawlers in the past, but I have never gone this in depth with my discussion on how they help your website. Take a look at some of these helpful ideas to make your site a more crawler friendly atmosphere.

Make It Easier For Crawlers To Navigate

In order for bots to get all of the information Google needs to rank your page and support ads on your site they must be able to access all of your different pages. This means having an easy-to-navigate layout that provides entrance to all pages and content. Search Engine Journal reports:

If you absolutely MUST use Java script drop down menus, image maps or image links, be sure to put text links somewhere on the page for the spiders to follow.

Sometimes the more aesthetically appealing styles of menus aren’t beneficial to crawlers; this means that having text links are ultimately the best way to give easy access to these web spiders. While I understand why many law firms choose drop downs to serve their clients online, with a simple call to your web maintenance team, you could easily transfer those drop downs into text links, and clients would still be able to navigate your site without trouble.

Don’t Exclude A Video Sitemap

I know that for many firms using videos to connect with potential clients is a novel concept, but it can certainly help bring in new interest, boost your site rankings, and when properly cataloged it can also increase crawler activity. Now, I know I have talked about the importance of sitemaps in the past, especially in terms of whether or not they get listed in your Google Webmaster Central account, but this is especially important for videos. Word Tracker states:

Google’s spider can only crawl linked pages by the way – it can only access pages that you could access with a mouse. It can’t enter in login details or passwords, and it can’t enter terms in your search bar. As a general rule, if your page isn’t accessible by a clickable link, Google probably won’t see it.

By creating a video sitemap, and making sure that it is available in your Webmaster Central tool, you open your site up to a more conclusive visit from the next crawler that creeps your pages. This will help the bots to better pick up on new videos and video content.

Clean Up Your Code

I like to explain code to my clients by comparing it to an intersection; when you’re driving your car to an unknown destination and you’re watching road signs, and you come to an intersection, it’s much easier to get through that intersection into the right lane of traffic when there aren’t so many other vehicles blocking your line of view and distracting you. This is the same way that crawlers see code on your website. When the code is jumbled, includes flash and java menus, or uses frames, this confuses crawlers the same way that a busy intersection does, and the bots won’t know how to get where they need to go, or may get lost in the jumble.

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