Menus are the glue that hold every site together. Without them, navigation around sites would be very cumbersome. .
As sites grow, in particular eCommerce sites, new ways of being able to get the consumer to their desired destination in the shortest amount of time / clicks has become more of a priority. Mega menus are becoming more widely used and have proven time and time again to be one of the most efficient ways, bar multi-facet searching, of navigating around the site. .
A mega menu essentially is a series of menu items that can be displayed in a neat and orderly fashion and that usually drill down to the third or fourth level of a hierarchy. In the past multi level fly out menus have been used but for sites with lots of sub levels, causing scrolling issues and making the menus look very cluttered and inconsistent. .
Mega menus let the designer create a consistent look to the layout and with more recent menus even allow the ability to target specific products within product regions or Content managed areas that can sit directly on the mega menu. .
Using a mega menu gives you the ability to group different categories together rather then having multiples levels for the consumer to navigate through. The best Mega menus are the simple ones. Ones that don’t require too much interaction and give the consumer a clear route from A-B. .
Mega menus also have an additional benefit in the form of accessibility. Because dynamic screen elements always have the potential to cause accessibility problems, it’s important to code them with screen readers and other assistive technology in mind. As the menu is structured in a better more concise format, it gives people who use screen readers the ability to read through the sub sections very easily and lets them navigate just as quickly.
however, as our head of search, John Trimble, always makes me aware of, mega menus could also have implications for SEO. Here’s what he has to say:
“Matt Cutts Google’s head of search engine development often tells many online marketers to forget SEO and build a great user experience, which ties closely to the principals of Mega Menu’s, although from an SEO perspective there are some key technical principals to remember when designing your mega menu.
Often many websites take Mega Menu’s one step to far with some containing several hundred links which is bad for both SEO and the user. Google’s spider or robot when visiting your website can only read in the region of 250 links on your home page and around 100 links on deeper pages, vastly exceeding these numbers mean you risk Google not being able to find all the pages on your website, reducing the overall visibility of your website in search engines.”
Although great for usability Mega Menu’s can also cause problems for usability if used incorrectly. As your website grows there is often a temptation to grow your mega menu with it, overly large mega menus can have reverse effect on usability by overloading the user with information reducing the main purpose of mega menu’s to create simple navigation methods on large websites.
At EAOM each department works closely together including our SEO and web design teams so that when we’re creating functionality such a mega menu’s we always maintain a balance between usability, design and SEO to maximise your website’s search engine presence and ability to convert.
If you’re thinking of adding a mega menu to your website or having SEO and usability problems due to a mega menu that’s got out of hand then why not contact our one of SEO or web design expert’s for chat about how we can improve your website.