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WordCamp Ann Arbor: SEO Friendly Website Architecture

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In this presentation, we'll explore three SEO core tactics for creating a search engine friendly websites and blogs. We'll deep dive into setting up content silos, the pros, and cons of content depth, and superpowers found in internal links.

Published in: Marketing
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WordCamp Ann Arbor: SEO Friendly Website Architecture

  1. 1. How to Create SEO Friendly Website Architecture Rebecca Gill ● WordCamp Ann Arbor ● October 14, 2017
  2. 2. Why Should You Care About Architecture? 1. Crawling and Indexing 2. Search Engine Signals 3. Usability for Humans Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. Crawling and Indexing š The web is like an ever-growing library with billions of books and no central filing system. š Google uses software known as web crawlers to discover publicly available webpages. š Crawlers look at webpages and follow links on those pages, much like you would if you were browsing content on the web. They go from link to link and bring data about those webpages back to Google’s servers. š When crawlers find a webpage, Google’s systems render the content of the page, just as a browser does. They take note of “key signals” — from keywords to website freshness — and they keep track of it all in the Search index. Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. Search Engine Signals š A ranking signal or ranking factor is any characteristic of a website that search engine algorithms might calculate its ranking in search. š Google has over 200 main ranking signals. š Google adjusts these signals hundreds of times each year. š Signals can be on-site elements like quality or length of content and they can be off-site signals like brand mentions, inbound links, or social media. Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. Usability š Usability refers to how easy it is for a real living human to use your website or blog. š Usability is a ranking signal and it grows in importance all the time. š Usability can refer to things like text: • Color or size • The use of bullets and shorter paragraphs • Mobile friendly coding • Or the website’s adherence to accessibility requirements • Or the ease of which a real person can locate content Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. 3 Ways to Make Your Website SEO Friendly Content Silos Content Depth Internal Links Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. A content silo (or SEO silo) is a method of grouping related content together to organize content and to establish the website’s keyword-based themes. What is a Content Silo? Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. Remember the local library you visited as a small child? Think back to your last visit to a library – you know before Kindles and iPads existed. How did the library staff help you find books of interest? They grouped content into sections such as fiction, nonfiction, young adult, etc. Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. Content silos are important to search engines, but they also help provide a more positive user experience to the humans that visit your website or blog. Why Do Content Silo Matter? Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. An example of Content Silos in Everyday Life Barnes and Noble groups content into subject matter areas so you can easily find what you are looking for when you visit their website or physical store. You can see it in their main navigation as well as in content navigation as you browse the site. Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. Subject Matter Areas For Books are Silos Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved š Architecture & Photography š Bibles & Christianity š Biography š Business š Cookbooks š Food & Wine š Fiction š Graphic Novels & Comics š Health & Fitness š History š Mystery & Crime š Religion š Romance š Science Fiction & Fantasy š Self-Help & Relationships š Sports š Thrillers š Westerns
  12. 12. Art Design History Technique Business Accounting •Auditing •Bookkeeping •Taxation Human Resources Marketing & Sales Small Business Fiction Thrillers War & Military Women’s Fiction History African Asian European Russian Sports Basketball Golf Hockey Content Silos Can Have Many Levels Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved Google Bot: ”Ah… Organized content makes me happy!”
  13. 13. šWhile most people would assume the company creates silos for ease of use for their buyers, they also do this for search engines. šSilos help search engines find content, digest it, and rank it in search. Why Do Content Silo Matter?
  14. 14. š Content silos help search engines because just like the human visitor, search engines need to have a good understanding of your website’s content. š Search engines want to know what your website is about, how it is structured, and where content is located. š Content silos help with this effort by providing a set of structure to content that mimics that of old-school index cards at the library. Organization Matters to Everyone! Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. š Keyword relevancy (or the level of importance) is based on the page’s content as well as the relevance of the entire website. š If I want to rank for the term SEO, it would be much easier for me if I had a section of content in my website about SEO related topics and not just one page. š Having topical content helps support the website’s overall authority and thus an individual page’s rank. š It is easier for search engines to find and deliver relevant content when it is focused and organized around topics. Content Silos Help Provide “Relevance” Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  16. 16. More Examples of Content Silos Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved YogaStudioWebsite LasVegasTravelBlog
  17. 17. yogabliss.com/studios/new-york/ yogabliss.com/studios/chicago/ yogabliss.com/studios/dallas/ yogabliss.com/studios/orlando/ yogabliss.com/classes/yoga-rx/ yogabliss.com/classes/pilates/ yogabliss.com/classes/vinyasa/ yogabliss.com/classes/hot-yoga/ URL Structure Establishes Content Silos Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved YogaStudioWebsite vegasbaby.com/hotels/mgm-grand/ vegasbaby.com/hotels/bellagio/ vegasbaby.com/hotels/wynn/ vegasbaby.com/hotels/venetian/ vegasbaby.com/shows/cirque-de-soleil/ vegasbaby.com/shows/elton-john/ vegasbaby.com/shows/blue-man-group/ vegasbaby.com/shows/carrot-top/ LasVegasTravelBlog
  18. 18. š Create silos and layers that will support your SEO efforts and create a positive experience for the human visitor. One means nothing without the other. š Create balance in your site so one section doesn’t overshadow another section. You don’t want one section taking up 75% of your site. š Keep your layers limited, and if possible, no more than three clicks from the home page. This is for both usability and for crawling by search engines. š Shorter URLs are preferred for crawling and real world usage, so watch the length of your content silos and don’t over do it. Content Depth Matters to Everyone Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  19. 19. Visualize Your Content to Better Understand It Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  20. 20. š Internal links are links that go from one page to another on the same domain. š They are one of the most underused SEO tools. š They allow users to navigate a website and find important information. š They help establish information hierarchy for the given website. š They help spread ranking power within the website or blog, thus they add in boosting the ranking of the destination content. š They help search engines discover and index content. š The alt text within links help search engines better understand content. Internal Links Have Superpowers! Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  21. 21. “The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page. If an important page does not appear in this list, or if a less important page has a relatively large number of internal links, you should consider reviewing your internal link structure.” Google’s Description of Internal Links Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  22. 22. š Link your home page to your most valuable content. š Have a structured process for linking to your cornerstone content often. š Use descriptive alt text when linking. š Make sure your alt text clearly describes the destination URL. š Remember your keywords of the destination URL and use them within the alt text where possible. š Avoid read more, click here, and other generic phrases. š Interlink related content – Yoast’s premium plugin helps with this now and is very useful for these efforts. Internal Links Tips Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  23. 23. Google’s View of Links Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved Baseball Card Product Page Blog Post on Vintage Cards Product Category Page Home Page Link = Baseball Cards Google Bot: ”Looks like this is a good page about baseball cards.”
  24. 24. š eCommerce filters š Session IDs š Pay per click specific pages š Comment pagination š Printer friendly pages š www vs. non-www š Scraped content š Distributed products in eCommerce š Content syndication Extra Credit: Avoid Duplicate Content Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved Google Bot: ”I don’t know what URL is actual about baseball cards.” Baseball Card Product Page Baseball Card Product Category Baseball Card Blog Post Baseball Card Print Page Baseball Card PPC Page
  25. 25. š Write unique content and don’t just copy in your manufacturer’s description š Stop reposting your content to multiple sites š Rel="canonical” š 301 redirect duplicate content to the real content š Set PPC pages to noindex, nofollow š Ditch the printer friendly pages and use a print style sheet instead š Check Google Search Console for meta issues or use Dyno Mapper to export your entire site to Excel so you can sort by title Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved Extra Credit: Fixing Duplicate Content
  26. 26. š Each blog post should have one category (maybe two) and multiple tags where applicable. š Categories and tags should be used to help visitors find like content. š Categories and tags should only be used when you will have multiple articles that fall within a phrase. š Categories and tags should not compete with pages. Don’t use the same phrases for a page and category or tag. š Don’t throw in fifty tags on one post. This rarely provides value to the user and instead simply creates clutter, thin pages, and duplicate content. Extra Credit: Categories and Tags Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  27. 27. š Category pages can rank for search so select them with care! š Take time to complete meta titles and descriptions for categories and tags. This helps them rank. š Avoid using categories in your post URLs. This creates a lot of issues should you switch the main category. š If you remove categories or tags remember to use 301 redirects! š Whenever you consider adding a new category or tag, stop and ask yourself if this will be hopeful to your human visitor. If the answer is no, don’t do it. Extra Credit: Categories and Tags Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved
  28. 28. Don’t Be Shy ● Raise Your Hand ● Don’t Make Me Beg Any Questions?
  29. 29. Copyright Web Savvy Marketing, All Rights Reserved Twitter: @RebeccaGill Take my online course and learn SEO at your own pace. diySEOcourses.com Listen to my weekly SEO podcast and grab SEO tips while you’re on the go. SEObits.fm Join my private Facebook group and get answers from me and your peers. facebook.com/groups/seolaunchpad/ Want More SEO Education?

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