Robots Directives

Search engines are powerful tools, yet it is surprisingly simple to provide direction to search engines and ensure that content is shown (and hidden) appropriately in search results. Likewise, it is surprisingly easy to make mistakes and instruct a search engine to show (or hide) content unintentionally. Understanding the basic tools that search engines provide allows website administrators to instruct search robots to ensure that important content appears in search results, and avoid making costly mistakes.

Discover how to control search engine crawling and indexing behavior

Canonical Links

Canonical links are frequently misunderstood by developers, marketers, content authors and SEOs. When used correctly, rel=canonical is a powerful tool that can improve search results for visitors. However, when used incorrectly, canonical links can be detrimental to search results, and may in some cases be ignored by search engines entirely.

Discover why Google may be indexing your canonicalized pages

The URL Structure of Faceted Navigation

Faceted navigation is the collection of UI elements and functionality which provide the ability to filter and refine category views. There is some debate in the SEO, UX and general web development communities about the best way to present faceted navigation in the URL.

Faceted navigation, such as filtering by color or price range, can be helpful for your visitors, but it’s often not search-friendly since it creates many combinations of URLs with duplicative content.

Faceted navigation best (and 5 of the worst) practices

The correct way to denote facets in a URL is through the use of query parameters. However, some believe that virtual subdirectories present a better alternative for SEO and UX. We’ll compare the different options for including facets in a URL, starting with simplistic examples of each method.

Learn how to best structure faceted URLs for SEO and UX

Good UX Is Good SEO

Google has a long standing tradition of encouraging a better web by updating its algorithms to benefit sites that offer a positive user experience (UX) and penalize those that don’t. As Google Webmaster Matt Cutts explains, “we try to help people make the web a better experience, so people will be on the web longer, and people will be happier … for example, we never show popup ads on Google. Even though it might have meant a little bit more money up front, because we also knew it would also annoy users and make them less likely to come back.”

Learn how Google has demonstrated that good UX is good SEO

The Appropriate Use of Modals

Modal windows are designed to enhance user experience by presenting new content situationally. By definition, these interstitials obstruct user flow by preventing interaction with the main application. This UI element generally requires a user interaction to initiate its display; however, a page load, scroll event, or an arbitrary timeout is not a justifiable “interaction” for the presentation of a modal window. Presenting a modal window without an appropriate prequalifying event not only disrupts user flow and concentration, it also introduces frustration and confusion.

Learn how and when to use modals
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