Build it and they shall come: Why your site architecture and search strategy must be aligned

By Wayne Cichanski

As a society, we have been conditioned with the age-old saying “Build it and they shall come”.

However, does this hold true for the digital world and your website? And more specifically, what about Google?

In most organizations, organic search optimization becomes a layer that is applied after the fact. After the brand teams, product owners and tech teams have decided what a website’s architecture should be.

However, what if I were to tell you that if search were a primary driver in your site’s architecture you could see a 200%+ performance gain out of your organic channel (and paid quality scores if you drive paid to organic pages), along with meeting brand guidelines and tech requirements?

The top 5 benefits of architecture driven by organic search

  1. Match Google relevancy signals with audience segmentation and user demand
  2. Categorization of topical & thematic content silos
  3. A defined taxonomy and targeted URL naming schemes
  4. Ability to scale content as you move up funnel
  5. A logical user experience that both your audience and Google can understand

When search strategy is aligned with your architecture you gain important relevancy signals that Google needs to understand your website.

You position yourself to acquire volume and market share that you would otherwise lose out on. In addition, you will be poised for organic site links within Google, answer box results and local map pack acquisition.

Imagine opening a 1,000-page hardcover book and looking for the table of contents, only to find it is either missing completely or reads with zero logic. As a user, how would you feel? Would you know what the chapters are about? Get a sense of what the book is about?

If you want Google to understand what your website is about and how it is put together, then make sure and communicate it properly – which is the first step for proper site architecture.

Let us pick on a few common, simplistic examples:

/about-us (About who?)

/contact-us (Contact who?)

/products/ (What kind of products?)

/articles (Articles about what?)

/categories (Category about what?)

And my very favorite…

/blog (Blog? What is that about? Could be anything in the world)

These sub-directories within the infrastructure of your website are key components – they are the “chapter names” in your book. Naming something “articles” lacks the relevancy and key signals to describe what your chapter is about.

The upper level sub-directories are known as parent level pages, which means any pages underneath them are child level pages. As you build and scale child level pages, it should be categorized under the proper parent level page. This allows all of the related content of the children pages to “roll up” and become relevant Go to the full article.

Source:: Search Engine Watch

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