Website information architecture
refers to the approach you take in designing and planning your website. Website information architecture is much like the architecture of a beautiful building—the design, aesthetics, character, and construction that come together to create a work of art. With attention to website information architecture and SEO on today’s Internet, you turn your website design into a user experience (UX) for repeat business and customer loyalty. While the concept of website information architecture is simple to grasp, putting it together requires a process and a strategy that includes comprehensive structural considerations and clear-cut search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
The structure of an effective website is ultimately designed for users. Structural elements address the goals of website audiences: successful searchability, easily finding goods or services on the site, exceptional purchasing experiences, and an overall superior user experience like no other—and one that customers want to have over and over. Let’s look at simple structural elements of quality web information architecture:
. At the page level, products and services must be searchable and easy to find. That means simple and clear navigation, logical and natural flows that customers can follow, a concise sitemap
that outlines your entire site, frequently placed calls to action, and visually appealing content. Choice, placement, and organization of content is key.
. When your products and services are labeled with relevance—both on the backend and for the user on the frontend, the user experience is the best it can be. Choosing the right labels for headings, titles, and pages and strategically placing them is necessary for exceptional UX.
Clear-cut search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are an essential part of web information architecture, for keeping up with your competitors and standing out in the crowd. While the nuances of good SEO are controversial and continue to transition, staying on top of it can be a bit daunting without the advice of an expert. In the meantime, there are some simple techniques that tend to hold true for the long term:
. Duplicating content between your own pages and especially someone else’s pages should be avoided. If you have a need for duplicate content for your multi-site business, be sure to modify the content so it’s not an exact match, and by all means never copy someone else’s content. Google will always catch up with that and they penalize.
. By isolating important content to one page and organizing your pages within folders, search engine results are improved. The fact is, one page=one topic has a higher chance of coming up for related searches because the information is specific and not general or mixed. As well, by isolating content, you can use specific or related keywords in the URL, title, and headings.
Manage Keywords for Today’s SEO
. Keyword research—finding out what your customers are searching on—continues to top the list for optimized content. Forbes contributor, Jayson DeMers, suggests five best keyword research tools in “The Definitive Guide To SEO In 2014.” As well, keyword-rich content is easy to win with. Keywords still belong in titles, headings, content, alternative image tags, and URLs.
Keywords in Header Tags
. When you place relevant keywords in headings, within heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.), search engines notice. These words serve as clues to your page topic and purpose and gain importance in web searches. Be sure to organize any subtopics within a single page into their own defined sections using H2 and H3 headers.
. By providing a sitemap, search engines can discover your topics quicker and easier. A sitemap is essential when you have an extensive website, minimal links, or you have rich media that may not be discernable. A sitemap also stores metadata, the historical information about a page such as the last update, frequency of page changes, and the importance level. Make use of the Google XML sitemap feature or another sitemap tool.
In your web information architecture planning, consider rules and patterns of communication, systems and structures (for naming, sorting, and word/phrase relationships), and user orchestration (user flows, interactions, and UX). Precision planning includes sitemaps
, user flow diagrams, and wireframes to describe how your site functions. Sitemaps are essential for establishing user hierarchy and mapping out pristine web information architecture.
DeMers, Jayson, Forbes Contributor. The Definitive Guide To SEO In 2014, 5/6/14