It seems so obvious, yet so overlooked. How many times have you gone to a website and the top level navigation reads: Home, About us, Products, FAQ, Testimonials, Contact us?
If you are even an occasional web surfer, I'm sure you have seen that navigation a lot.
At the same time, I bet it never crossed the web team's mind that this navigation does little for the site's searchability - and quite frankly - it isn't very customer friendly.
After all, wouldn't it be better if the top level navigation was far more specific, leveraged keywords and helped guide the readers (as well as search engines) to the contents of the site more?
SEOMoz makes this point in spades in its terrific post, "Headsmacking Tip #2: Top Level Navigation Naming Conventions": It gives the following example:
British Petrol's got this nice micro-site on their alternative energy program, and in it they have a number of top-level navigation links like "who we are," "what we do," "where we are," etc. The sad part is, while many visitors might want to learn about "who they are," not very many are performing searches around those topics. Instead, they might be looking for things like "renewable energy," "climate change," "low-emission fuel," "fuel alternatives," etc. many of which BP could be targeting in their top-level menu.
I couldn't agree more - what a missed opportunity!
And quite frankly, there's also another wonderful benefit for selecting keywords over generic navigation: Your copy will be a lot tighter. That not only makes your site more customer friendly (and in many cases, helps you compete better) but also helps you avoid any inadvertent pokes in the eye. Try it.