Iglu Properties: How To Ensure Search Engines Reach Important Pages

Iglu Property Consultants is one of the numerous property agents here in Hong Kong that specialize in residential properties for rent / lease or sale.

I am at the homepage now what?
The homepage doesn’t show me anything but a generic photo of Hong Kong skyline, plus a sign that tells me I haven’t entered into the site yet and therefore should click on it: the Enter link. It looks like the old-fashioned splash page, only that there is the absence of Flash content. The extra click can mean big deal for impatient visitors who could end up leaving the site once they notice there is nothing about properties for lease or sale is visible. We need to capture audience’s attention immediately.

Iglu Homepage

Iglu Homepage

Search Engine Robots Crawl But They’re Illiterate
When I mean search engine robots are illiterate, they can’t recognize text embedded in graphics unless they have text equivalent. Such experience is illustrated in the following graphic.Iglu About
Why put a graphic version if it doesn’t differ much from its text counterpart? If we need to change the text, we can’t simply edit the source code and make replacement. We needed to open our graphic editor and do the job five times longer than we do if we can only replace text version. But that’s beside the point. If most text contents in a site are displayed as graphics instead of text (and no Alt text is provided), it appears as though no content is present at all.

The More Serious Issue
If the previous two issues look minor, consider this: None of the Iglu property listings are visible to search engines. That’s because:

1. Individual property listings don’t have its own page; information provided on each property is only visible at the search result page.

2. There is no way search engine robots can even reach such search results pages because navigation from the iglu Hong Kong page is through a form whose path can’t be followed by search engine robots. Also, the “Previous” and “Next” buttons to navigate from one page to another are tied to a JavaScript code, another method that is not recognized by search engine robots.

Search Engine Implications of the Issue Above
So what’s the implications of the issues described above?

By using the “site:” operator for iglu URL, we can determine which pages are crawled and indexed by search engines. Remember, if search engine robots can’t reach the page, there’s no way it can be crawled and indexed.

The results show only the static pages about iglu such as company profile and articles, but nothing about property listings. This means that if someone searches for Palatial Crest or Robinson Heights in Google, we can’t expect that iglu will show up. And this means lost opportunity, and this may drive iglu to look for other means to generate traffic to the site (listings at Square Foot HK for example).

Fortunately, The Problem Can Be Fixed
My unsolicited advice for iglu to make it visible for property related search queries:

1. Create individual pages for properties.
2. Use <href=””> when using hyperlinks

There are other things iglu needs to fix, but I guess these are the ones that are more important.

If you want your site to be reviewed, you can contact me for site consideration.