Workflow Expectations

Jakob Nielsen‘s Alertbox, April 26, 2011


When we designed our 2-day seminar on application design, we partitioned the topic into 2 parts: workflow and screen components.

The second topic is easy to understand: it covers everything from individual controls, such asradio buttons and checkboxes, to more complex composites of widgets, such as forms design, to the layout of these controls. All very tangible.

Workflow is much more abstract, but actually more important for the application’s ultimate success. We’re no longer talking about visible stuff on the screen, but rather about user movements among various features. Workflow theory ranges from simple concepts, such asprogressive disclosure, to thorny ideas, such as inductive vs. deductive interfaces.

To illustrate the importance of workflow design, I’ll offer several concrete examples from recent user testing in varied domains. As the examples illustrate, effective workflow design builds on a simple principle: Have things happen when users expect them — either because of theirexisting expectations or because you’ve clearly communicated what to expect. (The former is obviously better; instructions automatically degrade the user experience by diverting users’ attention from their main task.)

Premature Requests: Asking Users Before They’re Ready

Lately, I’ve been sitting through many usability tests of iPad apps. After installing a new app, the first thing users typically see is a message in a dialog box: [This App] would like to send you push notifications. This message followed by two buttons: Don’t Allow and OK.

Uniformly, users press Don’t Allow.

People get enough junk already. After years of Web usage, people are extraordinarily weary of companies spamming them with “selected offers.”

In addition to engendering dramatically stronger customer loyalty by reminding them to use the iPad app, push notifications often provide helpful information that users might appreciate. So why would they refuse good stuff that could enhance the value of having a tablet?

Because the opt-in prompt appeared at the wrong stage of the workflow: it was grosslypremature.

The prompt appears when users open the newly installed app — which is, by definition, beforethey’ve actually experienced the application and understood its value. At this early stage, users have a very low level of commitment to the app. You can’t ask them for much, because they don’t think much of you yet.

Our user research with mobile apps has shown that they’re often intermittent-use applications. People download many more apps than they actually use with any frequency. And users know this; they’re not going to let an app impose an eternal burden on them when an a prioriassessment shows that it’ll likely be one of the many apps that they don’t really use.

(Yes, it’s possible to turn off push notifications later, but most users either don’t know how to change system settings or don’t want to bother.)

So, a much more fruitful approach is to first build up some credibility capital with users by offering a useful service. Once users have grown to really like you and know they’d actually benefit from updates, you can ask them to opt-in for push notifications.

Another example along these same lines: For many years, it’s been a key guideline for e-commerce checkout to let customers make purchases as “guests” rather than requiring them to become registered users of the site. When making an initial purchase, people aren’t yet sufficiently committed to a company to accept the hassle of registering. (Later, after a few purchases, they’ll probably register if appropriately prompted to do so.)

Final example: in our testing of B2B sites, business professionals usually rebel when a site attempts to collect lead information too early in the sales process — before the (prospective) customer has decided to admit the vendor to the shortlist. Premature request = no leads at all, as users proceed to more welcoming sites.

Questions That Only Make Sense Later

In testing social media features, we frequently see sites asking new users for personal information without explaining how it will be used. For example, people are asked to create a screen name when they register. Some users don’t realize that this name will be shown next to all of their future postings. Even worse, many sites make it impossible to edit screen names at a later date, when the user’s approach to the site has changed.

Knowing that the name would be widely displayed and not just used as a login credential would prevent people from being stuck with unfortunate names like SuperStud on a professional site.

There’s a fairly easy fix here: simply explain to users how each piece of information will be used. You might, for example, show them a sample of how their profile and postings will look, and let users edit their entries before committing to register. (Of course, any such instructional text should be concise and thoroughly tested, as we know users allocate minimal attention to instructions.)

Many Web-based applications are ephemeral applications, meaning that users view them as low-commitment transient encounters: a quick in/quick out of something they’ve never seen before and might never see again.

In this environment, we frequently observe usability problems caused by users’ weak mental models of the application workflow. People don’t know what’s coming later, and they often don’t even understand the application’s purpose. It’s thus hard for them to correctly answer early questions and they have little motivation to slog through set-up features.

One obvious answer to these problems is to reduce the set-up burden and enhance the usability of the early-use phase. Think of a gently sloping on-ramp rather than a wall that users have to climb.

Even the best designs can’t create perfect usability where everybody understands everything without any effort whatsoever. The goal is to set the stage for users to understand the workflow, without slowing them down. Clearly, this is one of the toughest challenges in online communications.

Better Workflow = More Use

As the examples here illustrate, the user experience is strongly impacted not just by what’s on the screen at any given time, but also by how the current screen relates to future states. It’s also impacted by how the current screen relates to past screens; here, the general guideline is to reduce the need for users to rely on their fallible memories.

Thus, one reason to care about workflow is simply that usability is enhanced when you consider the totality of the user experience and not just stand-alone screens.

But there’s also a more business-oriented argument for improving workflow usability: users can often overcome isolated usability problems, but a broken workflow is much harder for them to fix. Among the typical consequences of bad workflow design are

  • undiscovered errors that occur when users don’t relate what happened on screen A with a (much-later) screen B;
  • abandonment, where users simply give up on something they don’t understand; and
  • frustration, which arises when an awkward process takes much more time than it should. (Individual design elements can also delay users, but a poor workflow takes considerably longer to complete.)

The bottom-line outcome of all three? People stop using your application. Conversely, if the process flows smoothly and users feel in control through all the steps, they’re much more likely to come back.


How Engaged Is Traffic from Social Sites?

APRIL 25, 2011 

Web users who follow links from social sites are less interested in their content

Person-to-person sharing has become a major way content producers hope to have their information disseminated as social media has offered the chance for content to go viral. Despite studies that suggest email is still the top way people share content, and that search is still the top way people find websites, social sharing—newer and more exciting—is in the spotlight.

According to data from Outbrain, just over 10% of external referrals are from social media sites, compared with approximately 41% from search and nearly a third from other content sites.


External Sources of Traffic to Content Publisher


Referrals from social sites fall overwhelmingly into a few content categories. Social media users are eager to share—and click on—news and entertainment stories, which account for nearly three-quarters of all social media referrals. Industry watchers have posited that one reason for social sharing getting so much attention from the media is their outsize impact on media websites.


Traffic Driven to Content Publisher


Significantly, Outbrain also found social media referrals were less engaged than those from search or other content sites. They had fewer page views per session and a higher bounce rate. Outbrain also developed a definition of a “hyperengaged reader” as one who views at least five pages per session. Social media referrals were less than half as likely to be hyperengaged as referrals from content sites or search.

The Outbrain report suggested that content site referrals were already in reading mode, ready to consume more content, and search referrals were actively looking for information, making them naturally engaged. Social media site users, by contrast, make up fewer referrals to content pages, and those who do click are less engaged.


Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions


I never tire of hearing Guy Kawasaki speak, so his recent address at the NRF’s INNOVATE 2011 Conference was a delight to attend.

He demonstrated a spirit of service and humility as he offered the audience the option of hearing a couple different presentations — and then indulged our urgings and delivered both of them with gusto!

 Guy speaks with a passion and authenticity that few professional speakers do – and he keeps his audiences laughing as he offers wise insights about business, marketing, and life. In a word, he enchants his audience, and so he’s the perfect author for a book with Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions as its title.

Here are the 10 points Guy highlighted from his book:

1. achieve likability
No one has ever enchanted someone who wasn’t likable.

To become likable:

  • Use a genuine smile – French physician Guillaume Duchenne identified two distinct types of smiles. A smile which in which you contract both the zygomatic major muscle (which raises the corners of your mouth) and the orbicularis oculi muscle (which raises the cheeks and forms “crow’s feet” around your eyes), and a smile which involves only the zygomatic major muscle. Many researchers believe the former, which they dubbed the “Duchenne smile,” indicates genuine emotion since most people can’t voluntarily contract the orbicularis oculi muscle.  (Guy definitely practices what he preaches!)
  • Dress for a “tie” with the people you’re meeting (aka “equal dressing”). (Love that Guy, a titan of an industry ruled by CEOs in hoodies and Chuck Taylors, preached about dressing appropriately for your audience!)
  • Shake it – check out this “formula” for the perfect handshake:

2. be trustworthy
Trust is a sequence; it’s not a chicken or egg thing. Trust others before they trust you.It’s no surprise some of the most loved companies — Amazon, Zappos, Nordstrom – have generous return policies – they trust their customers. Life is not a zero sum game. Default to a “yes” attitude – think: how can I help others?

3. get ready
Do something; create something great.

Follow the “D.I.C.E.E.” acronym of great products:

  • Great products are deep – they have lots of features – e.g., Reef sandal with a bottle opener built in.
  • Great products are intelligent – e.g., the Panasonic flashlight which can run on 3 types of batteries, the Ford “my key” feature which enables users to program the maximum speed for a car (useful for parents of teenagers!)
  • Great products are complete – they are created for the totality of the user experience – think service, support, etc.
  • Great products are elegant – they have an elegant user interface and brand messaging that’s short, sweet and swallow-able.
  • Great products are empowering – they enable people to be more productive, more creative.

Also, conduct premortems. Postmortems are conducted too late – everyone’s emotional, people are scattered. Instead, before shipping your product, spend time predicting all the possible reasons it could fail and then eliminate those reasons.

4. launch
Tell a story (nuff said).

Plant many seeds. With old fashioned marketing, you used to have to suck up to a select few oracles whose pronouncement on your product dictated its success or failure. With new marketing, you don’t know who is going to make your product successful so you have to plant many seeds. Guy sent his Enchantment book to 1500 bloggers including Betty, the Beauty Blogger, because you never know…

Use salient points. Talk about the things people care about. For example, instead of promoting how many gigabytes a music player has, talk about the number of songs you can load on it.

5. overcome resistance
The more innovative your product, the more resistance you have to overcome.Here’s how:

  • provide social proof — e.g., the white cords of headphones drove the success of Apple’s iPod because people could see “proof” that you owned a cool product.
  • find a bright spot — e.g., Jerry Sternin went to Vietnam to address malnutrition. By examining the children who were larger and healthier than most, he discovered important differences in their eating habits and diet. So he helped spread the ways the better-nourished families cooked and ate, and achieved great success in the fight against malnutrition.
  • enchant all the influencers – e.g., at the premiere of his movie, Justin Bieber’s manager went out into the parking lot and gave tickets to a few fans. The good will this gesture generated was golden. (see Guy’s post on American Express’s OPEN Forum about “What We Can Learn from Justin Bieber” )

6. endure
Evolve – e.g., While other musicians try in vain to prevent piracy, The Grateful Dead actually sets aside place at their concerts for people who want to record them.  (Leave it to a 50-year old band to demonstrate the importance of adaptability!)

Invoke reciprocation. It’s not about using money, it’s about relationships. When you do something for someone and they thank you, be sure to respond with “I know you would do the same for me.” This tells them you’re an honorable person – and it, and sets them up to pay you back some day.

Build an ecosystem. To promote and distribute his book, Guy is creating an ecosystem of user groups, blogs, resellers, etc.

7. present

(Guy’s well-known advice for killer presentations):

  • Pitches should follow the 10/20/30 rule — 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font size.
  • Customize the introduction for your audience.
  • Sell your dream.

8. use technology
Technology should be used to provide information, insights, and assistance. Be aware of technology speed bumps (features like Captcha which frustrate the user and make it difficult to communicate with you.)

And use technology to engage “fast, many, often” – fast: within 24-48 hours; many: with a lot of people; often: with frequency. In today’s business environment, social media is core, not context. Use it.

9. enchant up
How to enchant the people you work for:

  • Drop everything at once – your boss is your customer. (Again, a refreshing contrast to the prevailing entitlement mentality of many from the digital generation, doncha think?!)
  • Prototype fast – “don’t worry, be crappy.” It’s OK to ship first, then test.
  • Deliver bad news early — never let a problem become a surprise – just tell your boss what happened and then tell her what you’re going to do to fix it.

10. enchant down
How to enchant people who work for you:

Give them what they really want – M.A.P.:

  • mastery — show them how you are increasing their skill set
  • autonomy – give them freedom
  • purpose – connect what they’re doing to a greater cause

Suck it up — be willing to do the dirty work. Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

Involve them. Guy crowdsourced the image on the cover of his book, and got a butterfly named after himself in the process. He closed his talk by proudly showing off the “Kawasaki Swallowtale!”


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What’s an online campaign?

By Steve Daigneault, Apr 5th, 2011

This week, a client asked if I would help explain to their boss what goes into an online campaign. I actually get asked this question fairly frequently, so I figured maybe I should just quickly write up some thoughts to outline the anatomy of an online campaign.

Here’s what comes immediately to mind – and I admit that I probably am missing some tactics or maybe even big picture concepts – feel free to tell me what I missed in the comments and I’ll make an edit to the post. Hopefully this can serve as a resource to anyone who needs a good answer to that question.

Purpose. Campaigns need to have a purpose. You should be able to clearly communicate that purpose. The purpose should be a rallying idea – something that hits a nerve with your audience. That could be something fairly large and significant, like passing legislation to outlaw the death penalty in a state. Or it could be more focused, like asking Apple to remove an app from their store that is hateful towards the LGBT community. The purpose is the underlying reason why your supporters are banding together with you.

A campaign’s purpose should answer:

  • Why now? The better your answer, the more people you’ll mobilize. And when I say “now”, I mean this very second. So the 24 hour news cycle is your friend here. What’s happening right now in the headlines that relates to your campaign? If not headlines, maybe you have information that you can share with your supporter that answers this question? It could be that your staff is about to visit a Member of Congress, and that meeting won’t mean anything if supporters don’t call or send an email to that Member’s office today. The best performing campaigns are hyper-relevant to the news cycle, so much so, that it’s often better to scrap a perfectly planned pre-existing campaign your team has slaved over for weeks for a back of the napkin response to late-breaking headlines. And when it comes to responding to news, perfect but late doesn’t help. Much better to be imperfect but on time.
  • What’s the “crisitunity”? I first heard this term while I was at Amnesty International USA. “Crisitunity” means that right now, there is either a crisis or opportunity that’s about to unfold or pass us by if we don’t act. Every great campaign has a “crisitunity” moment. Someone is about to be put to death and they could be innocent. The House of Representatives released a budget zeroing out public broadcasting. Gorillas in Africa face a new hunting season after barely surviving a brutal drought.

Goals and Plan. Your campaign needs defined goals that make progress towards your stated purpose. You need to have a plan – and be willing and able to communicate that plan. That could be raising $50,000 to put organizers in local communities. Or it could be delivering 100,000 petition signatures to Apple’s senior staff. These goals need to be achievable, and something your audience believes will make an impact. Credibility here is key. Don’t launch a petition asking Newt Gingrich to defend social security – it’s just not credible.

Since this is one of the biggest weaknesses I see in online campaigns, here are a few examples of what this could look like:

  • Tell them what you’re doing with their donation in very specific terms:

  • Tell them what you’re doing with those petition signatures:

Timing. The life-cycle of a campaign can run the gamut from just a few weeks to several months or even a year or more. Sometimes you have a campaign that starts and achieves success in less time than that – often these are campaigns with very specific goals. The Humane Society’s campaign a few summers ago on dog fighting lasted several months and was fueled by investigative videos they released over time. AARP’s campaign on health care reform lasted over a year, but the issue stayed front and center in the headlines, so the news cycle made that kind of prolonged campaign possible.

Fundraising campaigns usually have a pre-defined end date, so that appeals can build up to a deadline. Advocacy campaigns can also have deadlines, though these are more typically focused on real-world events and so could more easily shift.

In general, though, most online campaigns take place over a period of 2 to 6 weeks.

Tactics. Assuming an average campaign life-cycle (2 to 6 weeks), here are some of the more common – and effective – techniques I use to help achieve the campaign’s goals:

  • Email. It’s not a new tactic at this point, but based on our most recent 2011 e-Benchmarks Study, it’s still the most powerful tool most organizations have at their disposal. Not only do organizations have far more email addresses on file than they do social networking “friends” or volunteers, email can easily and quickly generate a lot of activity for campaigns. Email messages are easy to pass around. You can include links to do almost anything you’d want your supporters to do. And nearly instantaneous reporting tells you what’s resonating with your supporters and what’s failing to inspire. A four-week campaign might include a series of 4-6 emails to your list. (below tidbit taken from our benchmarks infographic)

  • Website. This is where you’ll host your action page, or donation form, or give your supporters more information about the action you want them to take (or all of the above). Many campaigns have micro-sites or even nano-sites (one page websites) that have one primary focus – typically a petition page or a donation form. If you have an existing website with sizable traffic, you’ll want to aggressively promote your campaign – adding banners or even launching a lightbox or splash page.

  • Offline integration. How does this online campaign support what’s already happening within the organization, either in the field or on the Hill? The best campaigns will tie the online tactics with offline programmatic efforts to build the campaign and organization’s credibility. Sometimes this can be as easy as showing a few images or pointing to a news story about an event, etc.

  • Social Sharing. You want to give your supporters a reason to share your campaign’s goals and actions. You want to make sharing easy. Doing this will give your campaign’s purpose, your organization and your featured action all additional air-time. That means adding Facebook and Twitter share links on your key action pages. But it also means writing awesome emails – something that makes your readers hit that “Forward” button. At best, this type of “viral marketing” can catapult a campaign to prominence. And even if the sharing does not translate into a massive amount of new list members or donations for your organization, it will bring in a smaller stream of new recruits while also providing a key way to engage your existing supporters.

  • Video. These don’t always work, but when they do they can easily eclipse the reach of other tactics. The right kind of video speaks to the viewer in a way that’s unique, shows something unexpected, and usually is short and easy to watch. Talking heads usually don’t play well. Interactive video where you connect your Facebook profile to create a customized video was all the rage a few years ago – and when done well can still pass the viral threshold.

  • Messengers. Who does your target audience respect and admire? Whoever that person is, try to get them to be a messenger for your campaign. If your goal is to shut down Guantanamo – and your target is the military – a former army general is a great messenger. If your average online donor is a woman in her mid-50s, Robert Redford is the perfect messenger.

  • Thermometers. OK, this may seem like a small thing compared to others, but there’s a reason Howard Dean’s fundraising campaign kept on using that bat. Time and time again, I’ve seen the last appeal of an email campaign – one that featured a goal that was just a little bit out of reach – out-raise earlier appeals by 5x. It’s in our nature to want to be a part of a success – and to have our donation be the one that put the campaign over the top.
  • Talk about the Enemy. Sometimes the best way to mobilize your target audience is by clearly delineating who the antagonist is in your struggle. If you’re Human Rights First, that could be Liz Cheney’s group, “Keep America Safe”. Or maybe it’s Exodus International, the organization that built the “cure gays” app that Apple allowed onto its app store.
  • Report back. There’s nothing worse than being asked to do something, getting excited about it, and then after investing your time, energy and money, never finding out what actually happened. Don’t make this mistake. It’s especially important to give supporters information about what happened during advocacy campaigns particularly if you were successful!

The goals we’re trying to achieve may change. We find new tools to use, and new ways to organize. But the core elements and strategies that make a campaign successful remain the same.


16 SEO Tactics That Will NOT Bring Targeted Google Visitors

By Jill Whalen

In my day-to-day reviews of client websites, I see lots of things done to websites in the name of SEO that in reality have no bearing on it. Photo Credit: Bitterjug

In an effort to keep you from spending your precious time on supposed SEO tactics that will have absolutely no effect on your rankings, search engine visitors, conversions or sales, I present you with 16 SEO tactics that you can remove from your personal knowledge base and/or SEO toolbox as being in any way related to SEO:

  1. Meta Keywords: Lord help us! I thought I was done discussing the ole meta keywords tag in 1999, but today in 2011 I encounter people with websites who still think this is an important SEO tactic. My guess is it’s easier to fill out a keyword meta tag than to do the SEO procedures that do matter. Suffice it to say, the meta keyword tag is completely and utterly useless for SEO purposes when it comes to all the major search engines – and it always will be.
  2. XML Site Maps or Submitting to Search Engines: If your site architecture stinks and important optimized pages are buried too deeply to be easily spidered, an XML site map submitted via Webmaster Tools isn’t going to make them show up in the search results for their targeted keywords. At best it will make Google aware that those pages exist. But if they have no internal or external link popularity to speak of, their existence in the universe is about as important as the existence of the tooth fairy (and she won’t help your pages to rank better in Google either!).
  3. Link Title Attributes: Think that you can simply add descriptive text to your “click here” link’s title attribute? (For example: <a href=”page1.html” title=”Spammy Keywords Here”>Click Here</a>.) Think again. Back in the 1990s I too thought these were the bee’s knees. Turns out they are completely ignored by all major search engines. If you use them to make your site more accessible, then that’s great, but just know that they have nothing to do with Google.
  4. Header Tags Like H1 or H2: This is another area people spend lots of time in, as if these fields were created specifically for SEOs to put keywords into. They weren’t, and they aren’t. They’re simply one way to mark up your website code with headlines. While it’s always a good idea to have great headlines on a site that may or may not use a keyword phrase, whether it’s wrapped in H-whatever tags is of no consequence to your rankings.
  5. Keyworded Alt Text on Non-clickable Images: Thought you were clever to stuff keywords into the alt tag of the image of your pet dog? Think again, Sparky! In most cases, non-clickable image alt tag text isn’t going to provide a boost to your rankings. And it’s especially not going to be helpful if that’s the only place you have those words. (Clickable images are a different story, and the alt text you use for them is in fact a very important way to describe the page that the image is pointing to.)
  6. Keyword-stuffed Content: While it’s never been a smart SEO strategy, keyword-stuffed content is even stupider in today’s competitive marketplace. In the 21st century, less is often more when it comes to keywords in your content. In fact, if you’re having trouble ranking for certain phrases that you’ve used a ton of times on the page, rather than adding it just one more time, try removing some instances of it. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
  7. Optimizing for General or Peripheral Keywords: You’re not gonna rank for a one-word keyword. You’re just not. You are likely not even going to rank for a 2-word keyword. So stop wasting your time optimizing for them, and find the phrases that answer the searcher’s question. For example, most people seeking legal help aren’t putting the one word “lawyer” into Google. They have a very specific need for a certain type of lawyer as well as a specific location in which they hope to find said lawyer. So rather than throwing the word “lawyer” all over your site, ask yourself this: There are people out there who want what you’re providing. What are they typing into Google? Now focus on those words instead. And don’t even get me started on people who put words on their pages that are barely related to what they do “just in case” someone who types that into Google might be interested in what they offer. You won’t rank for those phrases anyway, but even if you magically did, they won’t make you any sales.
  8. Targeting the Same Keywords on Every Page: The keyword universe for any product or service is ginormous. (It really is.) Even if there are one or two phrases that bring you the most traffic, why the heck would you want to miss out on the gazillions of others as well? Stop focusing every page on the same handful of phrases and start targeting each page to its own specific set that most relate to what you’re offering there.
  9. Focusing on Ads as Links: Banner ads, Google AdWords links and most other forms of online advertising do not create links that count toward your link popularity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use this form of marketing – just don’t be deluded into thinking that it will have a direct effect on your organic search engine rankings and traffic.
  10. Mad-lib Doorway Pages: While you may offer lots of products or services that are extremely similar to one another with just one minor change, it’s not a good idea to create separate pages for each of them and making only minor keyword changes to each of them. While this may be okay for paid search landing pages, it’s a duplicate content spammy nightmare for organic SEO purposes. (In fairness, I do sometimes still see this technique work, but it’s still not advisable to do it.)
  11. Linking to Google or Other Popular Websites: It’s the links pointing to your pages from other sites that help you with SEO, not the pages you’re linking out to. ‘Nuff said.
  12. Redirecting a Keyworded Domain to Your Real One: So you have your business name as your domain (as you should), but you have noticed the unfortunate fact that Google seems to really like domains that have keywords in them. Buying one (or more) and redirecting it to your actual website can’t provide you with any advantage because a redirected website (and its domain name) is never seen by the search engines. And besides, even if there were something magical about doing this, again, you’re only talking about one keyword phrase.
  13. Republishing Only Others’ Stuff: While it’s fine to republish an article that someone else published first, if that’s all your blog consists of, it’s not going to help your search engine rankings. Instead of republishing entire articles, discuss them in your own posts and provide your thoughts and opinions on what’s good / bad / ugly about what the others are saying. It’s all about adding value.
  14. Making Minor Changes to Freshen Content: This is not going to help a thing. If any old articles or posts need to be updated, then update them. But just changing a date or a few words will not have any effect on your search engine rankings or traffic.
  15. Nofollowing Internal Links: Perhaps you’re not looking for your privacy policy page to be followed by the search engines, so you add a nofollow attribute to it. That’s all well and good, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that this will somehow control your PageRank flow and get you better rankings. It won’t.
  16. Main Navigation That Links to Every Page: If linking to pages in your main navigation gives them more internal link popularity and therefore more possible weighting with the search engines, then surely linking to every single page of the site in your main navigation should be a good idea, right? Wrong! It isn’t. All it does is spread your internal link popularity too thin and confuse the heck out of your site visitors. Don’t do it. Choose to link only to top-level categories and perhaps subcategories (if you have a reasonable number of them) in your main navigation. This allows users to drill down further when they’re in the category sections themselves.