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Tips for SEO-friendly website architecture – Part 1

People spend a lot of time creating tons of content, making flashy designs and graphics but little do they realize that their website architecture may play a big role in increasing traffic to their website. We have noticed many keyword-optimized websites, over the years, have performed poorly in search engines, mainly due to the fact that their website architecture was not up to the mark. From mom and pop websites to enterprise-level websites, every website needs to have good website architecture not only to ensure that the search engine spiders crawl the website effectively, but also to provide a good user experience by improving navigation and accessibility.

I’d like to share a few tips on how to make your website more user-friendly and accessible to both search engines and users by making some important changes in your website architecture.

You can have a good architectural foundation for your website by implementing corrective measures across these 5 broad areas:
•    Linking and navigational architecture
•    Content architecture
•    URL architecture
•    Server accessibility, hosting and IP architecture
•    Technical architecture

Linking and Navigational architecture:

Tip 1: Organize the information on your website into different themes or categories. As you divide the information into broad categories, place top-level links of these categories on the homepage. These categories could then be subdivided and routed to subfolders. The internal link structure of the website should enable the user to reach any page within four clicks. This will also make it easy for search engines to crawl your pages effectively without having to crawl deeply.

[caption id="attachment_409" align="alignleft" width="300"]Linking and Navigational architecture Linking and Navigational architecture[/caption]

Tip 2: Ensure that most of your important pages are linked from the homepage.

Tip 3: In large websites, we often come across pages/sections that have no Page Rank. This is because search engines have a limit when it comes to crawling content and it could also be due to the fact that the pages are too deep within the website. Linking pages that have no Page Rank to pages that have a high Page Rank will not only ensure that your pages will be crawled and indexed, but will also get some Page Rank juice from the parent page.
Tip 4: Implementing an HTML sitemap could easily ensure that users find a way to navigate through the website easily. The sitemap should be linked from the homepage. Include keywords in these links that point from your HTML sitemaps.
Tip 5: Ensure that none of your links are embedded within JavaScript’s, Ajax, Flash or Images. Test your website using the Lynx browser to analyze if it’s being accessed by search engine crawlers.

Content architecture:

Tip 1: If you are planning to develop your website using the technologies mentioned below, you should also be aware that these could be deterrent, if you want your website to be accessible to crawlers.
-   Frames
-   Flash
-   AJAX

Ensure that an alternate version of content is used if you’re using these platforms. The content in the alternate version should be exactly similar to the content being displayed within frames, flash or AJAX; otherwise you might be flagged by search engines for cloaking.
Tip 2: If you have video or audio files on your website, ensure that these files have appropriate filenames, titles and descriptions.
Tip 3: Ensure that none of your critical, indexable content remains behind a form
Tip 4: Clean your website of canonical/duplicated URLs, as search engines treat them as duplicated pages. You can redirect the duplicated copy of the page to the original using a 301 redirect.
Tip 5: Ensure that your content is unique throughout the website. Make sure the copyright information on your website is up to date and if you notice any external website using your copy, you can file a complaint with DMCA for copyright infringement.

To be concluded in the next blog post.

Contributed by Zuheb SM

Team Position²

Position2 is an innovative digital marketing agency that accelerates demand through integrated Content Marketing, Paid Acquisition, and Marketing Technology solutions. Our demand acceleration solutions map the buyer's journey across multiple touch points such as search, social, mobile, media, and email. These integrated campaigns are powered by cutting-edge content creation, digital advertising, web design/development, marketing automation, and analytics. We serve hundreds of clients ranging from VC funded startups to Fortune 500 multinational firms. Our 200-member team is based in Silicon Valley and Bangalore and consists of marketing gurus, engineers, data scientists, writers, and designers.