This panel focused on the strategies and tactics of site architecture as it relates to search engine optimization. This is an important area of discussion because site architecture, usability, design, SEO, and analytics are closely related disciplines.
Moderator: Adam Audette
Shari is up first, and introduces the concepts of information architecture (IA) and the relationship between IA and SEO. She makes the point that each discipline is intricately related to the other. She shows a great example of how headings are actually part of the navigation, and show up in snippet text in search results on Google. Other examples of IA impacting snippets are with breadcrumbs, she says, and page anchor links. Next Shari covers the importance of mental models - SEOs and a IAs have very different mental models, or perspectives, of how people will use a website. She notes that most SEOs have the mental model of Google, not the web visitor.
A big takeaway from Shari's talk is that IA and SEO are the art and science of giving both search engines and people easy access to content.
Next is Kim, who dives deeper into mental models and uses a real example from a client site. She explains how the project is in progress and that she's just getting started, the example shows a page with 3 or 4 columns and lots of links - Kim explains that it is very hard to see where you're supposed to click. She also shows some good site architecture examples and covers how IA mental models that emphasize user experience through testing are the most effective. User experience combined with SEO give you a strong insight into what people want while also being friendly for the search engines.
Finally, Kristján presents and focuses on the importance of web analytics for insight into user behavior. Kristján asserts that this user feedback can empower SEOs and site architects with actionable ideas to improve user experience on their websites. Web analytics are really part of the IA landscape and should be used every day to gain insight into your users. This can help you improve conversion rates and time on site, and also encourage your visitors to return to the site more often.