You may have heard of the term “SEO-friendly” describing site architecture. You may have said to yourself, “What does ‘SEO friendly’ mean? I thought SEO was all about keywords!” You are correct; however, there is an exception.
Search engines are constantly crawling pages trying to find out which search queries they could show up for. The point of SEO-friendly architecture is whether or not a search engine is even able to categorize that page. If your site is in flash, frames, hidden with wonky coding, in an image, or a variety of other crazy ways of doing it wrong, the search engines are usually not able to even see what each page is about.
Let’s go through these examples so we can understand why these are not cool to the search engines.
The major search engines and Adobe got together to share enough code to be able to read the content on Flash websites. The problem is that the Flash has to be coded in a way that is search engine friendly. My experience says that the majority of flash designers have not taken the time to program their sites properly so they can be crawled by search engines. Also, from my experience, all other elements held constant, a static html website will perform better in the search engines than even an SEO-friendly Flash site.
iFrames used to be a pretty slick way of getting content to stay in a certain part of your webpage…back in the late 1980’s. Now, they are antiquated, deprecated, and useless to SEO; it’s pretty much a horrible way to include your content. If iFrames were just ugly coding, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. The largest problem lies in the fact that they pull content from another file that search engines can’t access. When you put content in a frame, a search spider will crawl the page, see no content, and leave – and that’s exactly what you don’t want.
You can accomplish the same thing with PHP include statements as with frames, and there’s less code, and it’s all crawlable to search engines.
Text in Images
I often see designers that create text in Photoshop and plop that image right onto the site. This is just fine for users, but when the search engine spiders come to crawl, they don’t read text in your images. When you look at the site, it will look complete, but to a search engine, you will have less content and look less attractive.
KISS – The Best Acronym for Crawlable Architecture