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SEO Site Structure 101, Part 2

jones-ron
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In SEO Site Structure 101, Part 1, we began discussing the basics of search engine friendly design. In this installment, we'll continue our discussion. But before I move on, I'd like to highlight the importance of Information Architecture or User Experience Design. This is a whole discipline in and of itself which we will not go into detail here.

The general idea here is that time is taken to interview or otherwise get to know the visitors that will be coming to your site and anticipate their needs and integrate this knowledge into the design and structure of your site. Search engines love sites that provide a great user experience. So as you consider your site structure please do not leave this out. You will reap great dividends by doing so.

Keyword Optimization

Hopefully you have taken the time to go through a keyword research project and have come up with keywords that you feel will perform to your liking. If not, please take a look at my article on Keyword Discovery 101 for ideas on how best to do this. Armed with a set of 1 to 3 keywords per page, you will embed these keywords on the page to help emphasize what the page is all about. In part 1 of this article, I discussed the proper use of meta tags. Now we will look at the other, more important tags that will help you do this.

Tag </h3> <p>The Web page title tag is one of the most important places to put your keyword phrases. Many Web sites suffer poor rankings simply because they miss this step. This is crucial to search engines and how they may decide to rank your site. Whatever text you place in the title tag (between the <title> and ) will appear in the top bar of someone's browser when they view the web page. It will also be the "headline" of the page when it appears in the SERPs.

Keyword Emphasis

Just like the title of a document, header tags contain the main message of what your page is all about. In the html code you can use

your heading here

. You can also use h2, h3, etc., representing other headlines on the page. But h1 is always the best to place for your most important keywords, since that tells the search engines that this is the most important headline. Bolding or italicizing your fonts is another way to place emphasis on keywords. This again works for the search engines and visitors of your site.

URL Structure

When setting up your folder structure, focus on creating descriptive folders and filenames for the documents on your Web site. Not only will this help search engine spiders crawl and understand your site better, it will also create URLs that are easier for others that want to link to your site. For example, if you were a user (or a search engine spider) which of these URLs would you be most likely to link to:

http://www.myreallycoolwebsiteimademyself.com/pages/01bde3assef/x2/1234dse33sew.htm

or

http://www.my-website.com/movie-reviews/Ironman-2008.htm

The content of these pages might be identical, but the second one is obviously better for search engines and Web site visitors, who will both have an idea of the page content from the URL itself. This will lead to better search engine rankings as well as potentially more incoming links.

Site Navigation & Internal Links

One of the most important aspects of SEO-friendly site design is the structure of your navigation and internal links. Make sure that there are easy to follow links to every page of your site that you want the search engines to see. A site map can help improve the ability of the search engines to crawl your Web site. Avoid embedding your site navigation in Javascript, Flash or other code that the search engines typically ignore or can't interpret. Include key search terms in your link text and focus on making your site easy to navigate for both users and search engines.

Finally, consider adding an XML sitemap to your site, which can be submitted to search engines to provide "hints" about the content and pages of your site. To get started with XML sitemaps, see: XML-sitemaps.com.

Armed with these basic guidelines and tips, you will be on your way to developing a great site that will bring you in good standing with search engines and also to your visitors. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.


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