LWD logoLori's Web DesignLWD logo

Website Technology That Can Affect Your Keyword Ranking

Following are several advances in technology in recent years that give a website a great visual appeal but prevent search engines from listing the contents of the website and prevent browsers from indexing the content. Most of the websites I have redesigned were originally set up with methods being used that left their owners wondering why their websites were not being found in search engines, even after several years of being online.

WSYWIG or CMS Programs

The worst Technology Blockers of all Most programs that allow you to design a site with little or no knowledge of writing HTML, like a host's free site builder program or Dreamweaver (even the most up to date versions), produce an enormous amount of code bloat and deprecated code, i.e., center and font tags that will soon no longer be supported by some browsers and it will destroy your formatting. The code from these programs often will not validate and search engines may avoid your site depending on the errors. Check the code your program puts out with the W3C validator to see if your program puts out up-to-date code (I've never seen one that does).

Password protected web sites

Search engines can't enter such pages because they don't have the password.


Search engines can't read the contents of sites built within frames. If you use frames you should also provide these same pages in non-frame versions (which increases the work load for the webmaster and cost for the client).

Image Maps

Links inside image maps will result in search engines not listing your site because they get trapped inside of them. You need to provide the same links in standard HTML somewhere else on the page--possibly in a site map or in the footer, however these won't rank as well as links higher up on the page.


Some search engines cannot read the content in Flash, except Google has been able to index flash content in .swf files since mid 2008, including buttons, urls in menus or any text that users can see. They do not generate anchor text in flash buttons, however, so using Flash for navigation can hamper ranking. Google also doesn't index the content of FLV files (YouTube videos) or some types of Javascript so don't load your flash file with Javascript.

Flash technology, because it is so image intensive, slows down computers that are on dial up, and will annoy those visitors to your site. Apple has prevented Flash from working on iPhones so Flash navigation on a website won't work for iPhone users. Some visually imparied people get physically sick watching animations and Flash presentations because of a problem with focusing their eyes. And most importantly many people are now turning off Flash in their browsers because it runs on Active-X which spreads trogans and viruses.


Sites designed with links inside of Javascript also will not be listed by search engines unless these links are provided elsewhere on the page in standard hyperlink format (the menu above is designed with JavaScript, CSS and also HTML so it's viewable by all search engines).

Dynamic HTML

Search engines can't list sites totally designed with DHTML (classifieds, databases, etc.) because the pages are actually not even there. The pages are assembled from different parts and not visible unless someone searches for data. Other arrangements need to be made for the search engine to list them, such as the program generating static html page for part of the database.


Search engines can't get information from the server, only the web page (see dynamic html above).

Multimedia Files

Media files are audio and video presentations. Any important text in these files cannot be indexed by most search engines.


Google has recently figured out how to index the content in forms.

Large pages

An acceptable page size used to be 40 K. It's probably higher now however both visitors and search engine bots won't wait for the page to load if it's too slow.

Capitals in File Names

Putting Capitals in your File Names can also cause a drop in keyword ranking because it causes a duplicate content issue in search engines.

A Hierarchy of Directories

Search engines and crawlers will usually not dig deeper than 3-4 directories or folders so keep your most important information in the upper levels or the root level of your website.

Affiliate Links

Some search engines are beginning to ignore sites with Affiliate links and no original content, because it provides duplicate content and they are trying to reduce spam.

Java Applets

Important information in Java Applets should also be provided on the text of the page because some of the older browsers can't read it. Also, if people have PopUps turned off in their browser they won't be able to view Java Applets either.


Important information, such as titles of articles or your major keywords, should not be put into images unless it is also included in the text because search engines can't read images. This may seem redundant or repetitive to the normal reader but we're dealing with search engines here--not just people.

Text-only Browsers or Text-to-voice Converters

These are used by the blind. The same thing that stops these browsers will stop most search engine crawlers so it's a good idea to have all of your web sites tested for accessibility and provide an alt tag on all images and also view your site in a text-only browser (you can do this by finding your site in Google, clicking on the cache and then on the option for text only).

Template Driven Hosting Companies

Most code put out by template driven hosting companies is run by software that is so old that the code is deprecated and will some day be no longer supported by newer browsers and thus will not validate and search engines will avoid your site.

If you would like your web site analyzed for keyword ranking
please check out the In-Depth SEO Analysis Reports page. If you are looking for a web designer to set up a new website check out my home page.

order an Seo Analysis Report

Lori Eldridge
Copyright © July 5, 2001, updated 11-04-18
All rights reserved.

Technology that Blocks Some Search Engines
Dynamic Pages vs Static Pages
Keyword Strategies
Maximize the Title Tag
How to Get Good Backlinks
Submitting websites to Search Engines and Directories
How Long Does It take to Rank in Google

Return to Search Engine Optimization Tips

Twitter     Facebook