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February 19, 2009

SES London 2009 - Successful Site Architecture

By SEOidiot

Anne Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, Managing Partner and Founder, Beyond Ink

David Snyder, Co-Founder, Search & Social
Alan Perkins, Founding Director, SilverDisc Limited
Dean Chew, SEO Engineer, Ayima Search Marketing

Alan Perkins

Why successful site architecture
Everything else is built from the foundations of site architecture
Not only good for SEO but good for all types of web marketing

Site architecture
Information architecture
The web as a whole
Pages in the core are linked to by other pages in the core and link out to pages in the core

Your linking partners
They divide amongst the following areas: -

Platform - pc, mobile, tv
Language - English, French, Spanish
Location - E.g. UK, Glabal, Spain etc
Vertical theme - E.g. mining, construction

To get the best success you need to match the architecture to the linking partners.

Match your sites mission to the searchers mission (Keyword research to find their missions)

Breadcrumb trails help architecture and the engines to understand the structure of your site better.

Rules of thumb for information architecture on your site
The higher something is placed in your site arch the more important that content is.

Technical architecture
To appear in a relevant country results try to use a country specific domain (eg .co.uk) and host within that country.

Javascript / Ajax
Search engines dont index
Javascript should be used to ad bells and whistles but the site must work without it.

Search engines dont read cookies
The sites content should be divided into marketing pages (no use of cookies) and functional pages where they can be used. Try to avoid using session id's in the urls

Plain text file
Placed in the domain root
Stops content being crawled and indexed (Meta tags dont stop the crawl whereas robots.txt does)
Works on all content
Plan your URL's in advance to get the most out of it
See www.robotstxt.org for more details

New standard to help tell the search engines what the preferred cononical url is.

Tells the engines not to apply the value of the link.
Dont overuse it.

David Snyder

Information architecture - the art of designing websites to aid usability
This definition is perhaps slightly concrete

Information environment design is perhaps a better way to describe it. Environments are constantly adapting and helps change our thought process about what we are doing.

Categorise your information first the go into link building. Unless you have the first part done the anchor text on the inbound links wont help categorise your site.

The top level TLD which can have multiple sub domains within it
Correct canonicalisation
Correct use of redirects
Page architecture
H tags
Get rid of code bloat

These represent the hubs that contain the categories


Where your content lives

Use of micro formats in media

SEO Virtual siloing
Categories and sections has links to pages that have the content
Each category has its own mini site map
Interlinking between the categories
People undervalue the power of internal linking

Dean Chew

Technical site architecture
Do your keyword research then align your pages to match those terms
Get the title, header tags and pagename lined up

Keep them as short as possible and as near to the root as possible
Try to avoid query strings both for the engines and for the user

Header tags
H1 - only once for the header of the page
H2,3 Can be used multiple times to divide up the content

Make sure you funnel all versions of the same url (Think www.domain v domain) to one URL as you cant control what version people will link to you under.

Printer friendly pages - put a noindex meta tag in the print page to help avoid dupe content

Sub domains v folders
Sub domains dont pass authority from the main domain

Http status codes
Make sure the codes returned by your pages are correct

200 - ok
301 - moved permanently
302 - moved temp
404 - page not found (make sure you return a 404 header)
Make your 404 useful for the user


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There is a lot of good stuff on this site. Thank you for all the information, I can use this right now and make money by converting more traffic. Looks like I have some work to do.. joy! lol

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