Visual Web Tools and Link Artifacts Bad For SEO

A quick note on Dreamweaver, or any other tool that allows for visual editing of web sites, and SEO. Today, in what must have been penance for sins real and/or imagined, I was obliged to search endless pages of the company web site ensuring link integrity; the joys of accomodating dim witted bots and policies forced by black hat search engine spammers. Adding to my grief, well, actually causing it, is that there are many contributors to the site utilizing a spread of tools (I personally use eclipse - unless I accidently forget in which workspace my global searching has been corrupted and have hung it up for painful minutes forcing me to bounce to notepad for quick fixes - and that happened today) including Dreamweaver.

I've got nothing against Dreamweaver as it always did what I expected of it. The problem is that it is such a great tool for visually-oriented developers that some can use it without ever looking at the code that is produced. There is a wonderful scenario that can bite you in the ass. If you have text that is linked, it is possible to delete the text without deleting the link. It's particularly not visible when the user then goes on to add replacement text and a different link. So you wind up with something like:


Learn more about
<a href="deadLink.html"></a><a href="http://blog.shortfusion.com/index.cfm/2009/1/25/Circular-Text-In-Flex-Explained">
placing text on a circular path in flex</a>.

The orphaned link has no visual context and so, presumably, is not displayed to the person editing in just a visual mode. This is bad because now I have that link just sitting there with no way for a visitor to the page to see it or activate it. When the bots get there, they'll notice this sorry state of affairs and likely cast it off as some attempt at search engine spam. That's bad. So if you have contributers of content, that strictly use visual tools, to a site for which you are responsible, you might consider checking for artifacts that might hurt your site's search engine ranking.

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