Website Architecture


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Make it easy for people and search engines to get around your website. You'll see better rankings and sales by following these simple guidelines.

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Website Architecture

  1. 1. Website Architecture Stoney deGeyter Pole Position Marketing [email_address] Stoney deGeyter Pole Position Marketing [email_address]
  2. 2. Developers are often unaware of the value of good site structure
  3. 3. What you lose with poor SEO…
  4. 4. Don’t Make Me THINK , Dammit!
  5. 5. Poor website architecture hinders search engine performance I’m with search engine I’m with user
  6. 6. What do you gain? <ul><li>Search engines find important pages </li></ul><ul><li>Users navigate to important pages </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines determine page relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Users quickly get to relevant pages </li></ul>
  7. 7. Build a search engine friendly website
  8. 8. <ul><li>Duplicate content can plague you like a virus (or two) </li></ul>Duplicate Content Issue D
  9. 9. Slows spidering and indexing A B G H A B G H C D I J C D I J E F K L E F K L Search engine leaves before spidering all important pages = spidered = not spidered Duplicate Content Issue D
  10. 10. URL & Site Structure
  11. 11. Domain Name <ul><li>Keep Short </li></ul><ul><li>Register 10 years! </li></ul><ul><li>Memorable </li></ul><ul><li>Use keywords (if possible) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Alternate Domain Names <ul><li>Alternate / Misspellings </li></ul><ul><li>Abbreviated </li></ul><ul><li>Phonetically similar </li></ul><ul><li>.net, .org, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>…, … </li></ul>
  13. 13. Domain redirects <ul><li>Redirect all domain names to primary URL </li></ul>Duplicate Content Issue D
  14. 14. Favicon <ul><li>Adds branding value </li></ul>
  15. 15. Search engine friendly URLs <ul><li>Keep short </li></ul><ul><li>Use keywords if possible snowboards / burton /grom </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize parameters ? storeId = 10051 & langId = -1 & catalogId = 10053 & productId = 100615137&N = 10000003 + 90401 + 528374 </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Pick one and redirect the other </li></ul>www. or no www.? Duplicate Content Issue D
  17. 17. Home page redirect <ul><li> redirects to… </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Jacks up PageRank flow </li></ul>
  18. 18. Secure/non-secure pages Duplicate Content Issue D
  19. 19. Differing navigation paths Duplicate Content Issue D
  20. 20. Dash vs. underscore <ul><li>With-hyphens </li></ul><ul><li>With_underscores </li></ul><ul><li>Is that a space or an underscore? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Session IDs Duplicate Content Issue D
  22. 22. Session IDs Duplicate Content Issue D Session 2 Session 1 Session 4 Session 5 Session 3 Session 6 Home
  23. 23. Custom redirect page
  24. 24. Too-flat directory structure Home
  25. 25. Too-vertical directory structure Home
  26. 26. Ideal directory structure Home
  27. 27. Ideal directory structure Home Keyword Keyword Keyword
  28. 28. Not one page per directory! Keyword Keyword Keyword Keyword Keyword Keyword Keyword Keyword Keyword Home
  29. 29. Link & Navigation Structure
  30. 30. Linking to www. version Duplicate Content Issue D
  31. 31. Absolute vs. relative links <ul><li>Absolute: <a href=“”> </li></ul><ul><li>Relative: <a href=“page.html”> </li></ul><ul><li>Absolute gives you absolute control. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Linking to secure pages <ul><li>Use absolute URLs in Navigation </li></ul>Duplicate Content Issue D
  33. 33. Secure shopping path Products Shopping cart Checkout Duplicate Content Issue D
  34. 34. Linking to home page Duplicate Content Issue D
  35. 35. Search friendly links Good Link
  36. 36. Search un-friendly links Bad Link
  37. 37. Search meh-friendly links Meh Link‘’, ‘newWindow’)
  38. 38. Good linking practices <ul><li>Avoid flash or javascript links </li></ul><ul><li>Keep links in control (100 max per page) </li></ul><ul><li>Every relevant page needs one incoming link </li></ul>
  39. 39. Splitting link flow A A B C D E F G H I J K L N O P M Q A problem for both internal and external links Duplicate Content Issue D
  40. 40. Splitting link flow A B C D E F G H I J K L N O P M Q Link juice flows to only one page Duplicate Content Issue D
  41. 41. Top/side navigation <ul><li>Link to main pages & most important site sections </li></ul>Home Contact Basket Categories & Brands Search
  42. 42. Primary nav bar <ul><li>Well Designed and linked to important pages and sub-pages. </li></ul>
  43. 43. Footer nav bar <ul><li>Use for primary company pages </li></ul><ul><li>Good place for few SEO related links </li></ul>
  44. 44. Breadcrumbs <ul><li>Let’s visitors know where they are </li></ul><ul><li>Provides easy navigation back </li></ul>
  45. 45. Anchor text <ul><li>Use keywords in link text </li></ul>
  46. 46. Keyword-rich link text <ul><li>Links should accurately reflect the information on the destination page. </li></ul><ul><li>No: Click here to learn more about preparing personal tax returns. </li></ul><ul><li>No: Click here to learn more about preparing personal tax returns . </li></ul><ul><li>Yes: Learn more about preparing personal tax returns . </li></ul><ul><li>Meh: Click here to learn more about preparing personal tax returns. </li></ul>
  47. 47. Cross link related products
  48. 48. Product Categorization Same Product, Different URLs Duplicate Content Issue D
  49. 49. Multiple product pages <ul><li>Show as many products as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Allow product filtering. </li></ul>
  50. 50. Shopping cart pages <ul><li>Keep hidden from search engines </li></ul>Don’t allow cart links to be followed Index product pages
  51. 51. Engines can’t access… password protected areas Pages found through search, forms, dropdowns or select boxes
  52. 52. Site map
  53. 53. Exclusion: Robots.txt <ul><li>Blocking pages that don’t need to be indexed. </li></ul>User-agent: * Disallow: /includes/ Disallow: /land/ Disallow: /RP/ Disallow: /cgi-bin/ Disallow: /misc/ Disallow: /archive/ Disallow: /can-spam.php
  54. 54. Nofollow attribute <ul><li>Linking out to untrustworthy sites </li></ul><ul><li>Funneling “link juice” </li></ul><ul><li><a rel=“nofollow” href=“blocked.htm”>Blocked Link</a> </li></ul><ul><li>Yes: Click here to learn more about preparing personal tax returns . </li></ul><ul><li>Yes: We value your privacy . </li></ul>nofollow
  55. 55. Noindex <ul><li>Preventing individual pages from being indexed and/or links from being followed. </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=“robots&quot; content=“noindex,nofollow”/> </li></ul><ul><li>Acts like this: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>User-agent: * </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disallow: / this page .htm </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li><a rel=“nofollow” href=“blocked.htm”> All Links </a> </li></ul></ul></ul>
  56. 56. Prevent broken links
  57. 57. Redirect changed page URLs Link redirect Visitors & Engines A A X
  58. 58. Document & Page Structure
  59. 59. Site hierarchy <ul><li>Natural flow of topics and sub-topics </li></ul>Home Topic A Topic B Topic C Amazingly similar to directory structure!
  60. 60. Title tags Welcome to Discount Beauty Products Welcome to Discount Beauty Products Welcome to Discount Beauty Products Welcome to Discount Beauty Products Welcome to Discount Beauty Products Discount Wholesale Beauty Products Natural and Organic Facial Makeup for Healthy Skin Odor Free Nail Polish and Enamel for Long-Lasting Nails Why Natural and Organic Cosmetics Are Better Hair > Shampoos > Vidal Sassoon Duplicate Content Issue D
  61. 61. Branded titles <ul><li>Recognizable names should always brand </li></ul><ul><li>Branded </li></ul><ul><li><title> Business Name | Movie Posters, Collectibles and Memorabilia</title> </li></ul><ul><li><title>Movie Posters, Collectibles and Memorabilia| Business Name </title> </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Branded </li></ul><ul><li><title>Movie Posters | The Dark Knight One (1) Sheet </title> </li></ul>
  62. 62. Meta description <ul><li>Not every page needs a description </li></ul>
  63. 63. Meta keywords Get over it!
  64. 64. Unique content <ul><li>Create unique content for each page </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t rely on default product descriptions </li></ul>Unique Content Stands Out Duplicate Content Issue D
  65. 65. Textual interlinking <ul><li>Link to related content wherever possible </li></ul><ul><li>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. </li></ul><ul><li>mollit anim id est laborum . </li></ul><ul><li>mollit anim id est laborum </li></ul><ul><li>mollit anim id est laborum </li></ul><ul><li>mollit anim id est laborum </li></ul><ul><li>id est laborum </li></ul><ul><li>id est laborum </li></ul>
  66. 66. On-page content development <ul><li>Clearly written </li></ul><ul><li>Be accurate </li></ul><ul><li>Research and use keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Use image alt attributes </li></ul>
  67. 67. Transcribe video and audio content Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
  68. 68. Hx heirarchy <ul><li>Use outline format </li></ul>
  69. 69. Hx heirarchy
  70. 70. Eliminate code bloat <ul><li>Excessive Tables </li></ul><ul><li>On-page JavaScript </li></ul><ul><li>On-page styles </li></ul><ul><li>HTML formatting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces page load </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintains low text to code ration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces unnecessary code clutter </li></ul></ul><table></table> <script language=&quot;JavaScript&quot;> </script> <style></style> <font></font>
  71. 71. Cascading style sheets (CSS) <ul><li>Allows cleaner code by moving formatting and style issues off-page. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces code bloat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes editing easier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses engines on content </li></ul></ul>X <font> X <color> X <size> X <table>
  72. 72. On-page CSS & java body {margin:0; padding:0; font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; background: url(/images/body-bg.gif) repeat top left; text-align:center} body a:link {color:#069;} body a:visited {color:#069;} body a:active {color:#f93;} body a:hover {color:#f93;} #pageBox {position:relative; width:780px; margin:0px auto; border:1px solid #000; background-color:#fff; padding-top:97px} #content {margin:0; border:0px solid #000; text-align:left; background:#fff; padding:8px 5px 0 12px; font-size:70%} #footercontent {text-align:left; padding: 0 5px 16px 12px;font-size:70%} .contentTable {background:#fff;} #content {line-height:148%} #content li {list-style-image:url(/images/bullet-arrow.gif); margin-bottom:0px} .small {font-size:80%;} .larger {font-size:120%; text-decoration:underline;} #small1 li {font-size:80%; list-style-image:url(/images/bullet-check.gif)} #small2 li {font-size:80%; list-style-image:url(/images/bullet-check.gif)} #header {position:absolute; top:0; left:0; width:780px; background:#A9903C url(/images/logobar.gif) no-repeat; text-align:left; height:82px} #mainNav {position:relative; width:184px; font-size:70%; text-align:left; margin:0; padding-left:3px; margin-top:11px} #mainNav a {display:block; margin:0; padding:1px 4px 2px 0px; width:157px} #mainNav ul a:hover {color:#000; background:#E2E2E2; width:157px; cursor:pointer} #mainNav ul {margin:0; padding:0; list-style-type:none; margin:0 5px; padding:0px 0 0 4px; color:#FFF; text-decoration:none} #mainNav li {margin:0; width:162px; border-bottom:1px solid #4B4B4B} #mainNav .hilight {background:#E2E2E2; color:#000; cursor:default} #footer {position:relative; background:#000; color:#ccc; font-size:70%; padding:8px 2px 5px 5px; text-align:left; height:15px} #footer p, #footer a {color:#979797; margin:0; text-decoration:none} #footer a:hover {color:#fff; text-decoration:none} h1 {background:url(/images/checkered-flag.gif) no-repeat left; font-size:150%; padding:15px 0 15px 45px; font-weight:bold; border-bottom:dashed 1px #FF9933} h2 {font-size:105%; font-weight:bold; line-height:150%} h3 {text-align:center; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold; border:1px solid #C7C7C7; background:#E2E2E2; margin-top:0} h4 {padding:0; margin:0; margin-top:3px; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;} h5 {font-size:105%; font-weight:bold; border-bottom:1px dashed #979797} .line {border-bottom:dashed 1px #FF9933} /* checkered bar */ #headBottomBar {height:30px; width:780px; background:#A9903C url(/images/topbar.gif) repeat-x; position:absolute; top:79px; left:0} /* Hor Navigation */ #navBox {position:relative; margin:0; margin:5px 0 0 20px; padding:0; z-index:10; text-align:left; border-left:1px solid #222; font-size:80%} #navBox a {color:#000} #navBox ul {padding:0; margin:0; list-style-type:none; height:20px} #navBox ul li {padding:0; margin:0; float:left} .menus {color:#000; font:bold 10px Tahoma,Verdana,Geneva; list-style-type:none; position:absolute; top:20px; background:#fff; visibility:hidden; padding:0; margin:0} .menus a {font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; text-align:left} .menus a:link, a:visited, a:hover {color:#000} .menus li {clear:both} #m1 {left:-1px; top:21px} #m1 a {padding:2px 4px 2px 6px; width:15.5em} #m2 {left:48px; top:21px} #m2 a {padding:2px 4px 2px 6px; width:14em} #m4 {left:128px; top:21px} #m4 a {padding:2px 4px 2px 6px; width:11.5em} #m5 {left:243px; top:21px} #m5 a {padding:2px 4px 2px 6px; width:12em} #m3 {left:343px; top:21px} #m3 a {padding:2px 4px 2px 6px; width:10em} #m1 a:hover, #m2 a:hover, #m3 a:hover, #m4 a:hover, #m5 a:hover {background:#ff9933} #m1 a, #m2 a, #m3 a, #m4 a, #m5 a {display:block; background:#ffcc33; border-bottom:1px solid #666; border-right:1px solid #666; border-left: 1px solid #666} #breadcrumbs {font-size:95%; margin:0 -12px 15px -12px; padding:8px 16px 3px 12px; line-height:1.2em; background:#E2E2E2; border-bottom:1px solid #C7C7C7} #breadcrumbs2 {font-size:95%; margin:0 0 15px -3px; padding:5.5px 16px 3px 16px; line-height:1.2em; background:#E2E2E2; border-bottom:1px solid #C7C7C7} #quotebox {margin:0 8px 0 3px; font-size:85%; padding:0 6px; border:1px dashed #ff9933; line-height:14px} #quotebox a {text-decoration:underline; font-weight:normal} #quoteboxtext{text-align:justify} #headSiteTools {position:absolute; top:18px; right:1px} #headSiteTools img {display:block} #sherpaBox {border:1px solid #000; background:#fff} #borderBox {border:1px solid #000} #mainNav .recposts {border: 1px dashed #fff; margin: 5px; padding: 4px 5px 5px 5px; background:#fff; color:#000; width:155px} #mainNav .recposts a {display:block; text-decoration:none; padding:10px 0; border-bottom:1px dashed #ccc; margin-bottom:-4px; width:145px; font-weight:normal} #mainNav .recposts .nodash {border-bottom:1px solid #fff; text-align:right} #mainNav .recposts .logoimage {border-bottom:1px solid #fff; margin:0; padding:0; margin-left:3px; margin-bottom:-10px} #mainNav .recposts a:link {color:#F25313; text-decoration:none} #mainNav .recposts a:visited {color:#F25313} #mainNav .recposts a:hover {color:#96330B; text-decoration:underline} div#userLogin {width:200px; text-align:right; padding:6px 10px 2px 6px; white-space:nowrap} .formUserLogin {background:#C2AA57; color:#000; font-family:verdana, sans-serif; border:1px solid #000; width:95px; margin:0} .skip {display:none} .formUserLoginSubmit {background:#C2AA57; color:#000; font-family:verdana, sans-serif; font-size:90%; width:97px; margin:0; margin-top:3px; border-top:2px solid #E9D795; border-left:2px solid #E9D795; border-bottom:2px solid #4F4216; border-right:2px solid #4F4216} #bob {margin:15px 15px 0 10px; border:2px dashed #ff9933; background:url(/images/biopic-bobloblaw.jpg) no-repeat left bottom; } #bob p {padding:0 6px 0px 80px; font-style:italic; text-align:justify; } blockquote {margin:15px 10px 0 10px; padding:0 6px 0 10px; border:1px dotted #000} #requestquote {margin:0 8px 0 3px; padding:5px 5px 5px 5px; border:1px dotted #000; text-align:center} #block {margin:15px 30px 0 10px; padding:0 6px 0 10px;} <link rel=&quot;stylesheet&quot; type=&quot;text/css&quot; href=“styles.css“ />
  73. 73. Code bloat: Tables
  74. 74. How tables are read 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 1
  75. 75. CSS positioning <ul><li>Reposition code to place important text at the top. </li></ul>4 2 1 3
  76. 76. Image alt attributes <ul><li>All images clearly explained in ALT </li></ul><ul><li>Especially true for navigation images! </li></ul>
  77. 77. Valid markup <ul><li>Valid HTML… </li></ul><ul><li>will NOT improve rankings </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Valid HTML… </li></ul><ul><li>can cause problems that prevent ranking </li></ul><ul><li>Why Validate? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncover errors that can prevent spiderability and proper page indexing </li></ul></ul>
  78. 78. Sight-impaired accessibility <ul><li>Screen readers </li></ul><ul><li>Adjustable fonts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2006 Target was sued because site was inaccessible for visually impaired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Target lost. </li></ul></ul>
  79. 79. Text-only browsers
  80. 80. CSS-less browsers
  81. 81. Mobil users
  82. 82. Printer-friendly pages <ul><li>Use CSS to create style sheets for printing content. </li></ul>Duplicate Content Issue D
  83. 83. <ul><li>Don’t force for standard browsing. </li></ul>Cookies
  84. 84. Conclusion
  85. 85. Should site architecture to be a priority in your SEM campaign?
  86. 86. Build a search friendly structure to achieve stronger SEO results <ul><li>Improved spidering and indexing of pages </li></ul><ul><li>Increased customer confidence and loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>More customer-focused website </li></ul><ul><li>Measurable growth in targeted traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Improved relevancy in search results </li></ul><ul><li>Increased visitor conversion rates (sales) </li></ul>
  87. 87. Developers are often unaware of the value of good site structure
  88. 88. Assignment <ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>Find SEO, usability and architectural problems </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss in SEO Workshop tomorrow </li></ul>
  89. 89. Thank You!