Search Engine Optimisaton (SEO) is built on a pyramid, and the SEO success of a website is dictated by this structure. Whilst quality content, reinforced by a strong link profile is the core to success, it’s not scalable without a solid architecture and platform.
Ultimately, good architecture is about ensuring that both search engines and users can easily navigate and use your platform, and that the information they encounter is well structured and accessible.
While no means comprehensive, the following information provides a summary of core architecture optimisation activities, and aims to outline in brief their benefits to SEO, usability, accessibility and conversion rates.
One of the most important aspects of good information architecture is a well conceived URL structure.
For example, the following URLs might theoretically be real and working structures, but only the fourth example is friendly for both users and search engines.
The final URL is by far the most optimal, allowing search engines and users to easily extract information about the page the page points to, and its position within the website hierarchy. It’s more memorable, keyphrase-rich, and relevant than the other structures – it will also increase clicks from search engine results pages, as the eye is drawn to keyphrases more than indecipherable URL strings, as with the first example.
As long as the folder structure doesn’t become too deep, and as long as you ensure that your website is set up to ensure that each of your pages is only accessible via one url, this is a great way to organise content, creating a scalable platform for future development.
Search engines are increasing weighting to ranking factors such as content to code ratios and page loading speed. As such, it’s important that pages are constructed in the most efficient manner – that resources are as streamlined as possible, and that the page can be generated using the least and most efficient markup as possible.
Media & Resources
Search engines struggle to gain contextual information from images and media unless steps are taken to provide them with more information. For example, having an image of a red apple on a web page won’t assist your rankings for red apples unless search engines can understand the content and purpose of the image. We can achieve this by ensuring we use good naming conventions for resources (red-apple.jpg, rather than imageFile29657.jpg), and adding supportive and assistive information ‘under the hood’ of the website, such as alt attributes and titles.
The more information which we can convey to search engines about your page, its topic, contents and focus, the greater chance it has of ranking well. By optimising your meta information, specifically the code within the head of your website, we can go some way to telling search engines, users, and web browsing software more about your pages.
Some key information we can convey here, as well as the obvious title, description and keyword meta tags are:
- Language and geographical information
- The location of key structural pages, such as the sitemap
- The type of code used to create the page, ensuring greater cross-compatibility and future-proofing
All of these, and other related activities, work to improve the targeting of your website, and ensure that visitors who reach your site are presented with a consistant, functional, targeted experience which works independently of browser version, search engine used, or regionality.
Modern website coding standards allow us to ‘tag’ important information, such as contact details and addresses, product reviews and price ranges in such a way so as to allow them to be interpreted and used by search engines.
The practical upshot of this is that this information may then be more accurately and usefully displayed in search engine results, allowing you to improve visibility, clickthroughs and conversions.
See our post on POSH websites for more information on the business benefits of semantic markup.
Good architecture is a fundamental of website performance. It’s a wide field, which involves ensuring that development practices adhere to best-practice standards, and paying attention to granular details of page performance and resource optimisation.
Some key points to take away from this are that optimised site architecture:
- Improves search engine rankings
- Makes your site faster and more efficient
- Ensures greater cross-platform compatibility and future-proofing
- Improved user experience
- Increases clickthroughs from SERPs (Search Engine Result pages)
- Increases conversion rates
- Creates a more flexible and scalable platform
While the above examples are by no means comprehensive, they provide some insight into core areas where we focus our attention.
The real, long-term benefits of optimised architecture are that it results in platforms which are suitable for long-term, organic growth, which support ongoing creation and optimisation of content and a stable basis for link building activities – all fundamental ingredients for a successful website.
Why not contact us for a free review to see if your website has search engine optimised architecture?