MGM Grand Macau: How not to build a search engine friendly website

Many times we have read a lot of meaningful advice about how to make a search engine friendly page, or collectively, a search engine friendly site. Perhaps we are too bored reading about what these advices tell us. They are predictable and self-explanatory. Maybe a twist in presenting them would help: looking at a site as an example of how not to build a search engine friendly website.

Not that the MGM Grand site is absolutely garbage, in fact search engines crawl and index its pages. But maybe, that’s about it.

1. Build a splash/landing page entirely in Flash
The landing page was built for visitors to pick what language they would like the site to be rendered. No text whatsoever will be displayed unless you disable JavaScript, where you see the error message

This site requires JavaScript to be enabled

2. Don’t place alt attributes on images, even if they depict hotel buildings and company logos
While many of us think that the impact of placing alt text on images is minimal, so are other factors such as file naming, age of domain, keyword prominence and others. Every base must be covered because if you fail even one, your competitor might have all of them checked.

3. Build graphic navigation instead of text

The reasoning is the same as item #3.

4. Construct a URL structure that promotes less link benefit to the site
This is the case of constructing subdomains and linking to a 3rd party site. I know this is practical to have someone else host the recruitment page for logistical reasons. But remember that recruitment doesn’t take place only during the establishment of the hotel, it is done on a continuous basis. Which is why having a job section within MGM website is not a bad solution. Other hotels are doing it.

5. Create gibberish URLs on top of external sites
We must not interfere with other sites since we’re focusing on MGM Grand Macau only. However, many people would like to associate this URL as MGMs because 1) the look and has an MGM flavor and 2) the URL has mgmmacau (many visitors don’t recognize the difference between subdomains and domains).

6. Build links using JavaScript

Still at the third-party-page-that-looks-like-it’s-MGMs-site, search engines are typically old-fashioned that their robots (programs used to scan pages and retrieve contents) still has to rely on the conventional linking method, <a href=””>. But at the job categories page, we see JavaScript links as indicated by what is displayed in the status bar at the bottom of the browser.

7. Use the same page title all over the site

Does this reinforce the site identity that altering the “MGM GRAND PARADISE LIMITED” title makes the site lose its brand appeal?

8. Don’t place meta description information
I won’t say the builders of the site are too lazy to think about what meta description to produce for each page: 1) The site doesn’t have too many pages to start with 2) The webmaster has painstakingly built a lot of references to stylesheets such as

<link href=”” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”/>
<link href=”” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”/>
<link href=”” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”/>
<link href=”” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”/>
<link href=”” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”/>
<link href=”” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”/>

so considerable development effort must have been invested to build the site. For us who don’t know yet, here’s an article that describes the importance of meta description.