Information architecture is probably the single most important and most under-rated aspect of the search marketing strategy for large websites.
A Recurring Error
I have been reviewing some client sites that could use work on the information architecture front. Some of them want to rank for keywords that they do not actively target. The key to ranking is to create meaningful navigation schemes that reinforce the goals of your site and your target keyword phrases. In addition, a site which is improperly categorized due to poor internal navigation does not flow PageRank properly through the site, which means your ranking data and market feedback will be irrelevant / broken and not show your true potential.
Conversion oriented structure is a type of content. It is one of the biggest advantages smaller players have over large players that operate in many fields, and adds to the bottom line of any site that takes it seriously.
Compare the following...
What Happenst to a Site With Bad Internal Navigation?
A piece meal site with hacked up internal navigation exhibits the following characteristics
- navigation is inconsistent and confusing, thus it is hard for spiders to know what pages are important and it is hard for humans to work their way through the conversion process
- if the spiders do not rank the correct pages odds are pretty good that the visitors will come into the site on the wrong page (and have a hard time working their way through the conversion process if they start out at the wrong spot)
- hard to buy broad keywords using PPC because competing sites are better at funneling visitors through the conversion process
- hard to buy category level keywords using PPC because it is hard to place people on meaningful content if it does not exist. category pages should be more than a link list or groups of irrelevant chunks of content
- what should be category pages do not add context, build trust, and build credibility - they are essentially placeholders gluing together various unrelated content
- if you do not have well defined and reinforced category pages the site is not structured to rank for the mid level category related keywords
- much of the site's PageRank is wasted on unimportant pages such as photo galleries or other low content pages
- since PageRank is distributed improperly, the market feedback is largely irrelevant
- has many similar pages that duplicate each other, cleaning up the errors leads to broken links and other problems
- the site is hard to grow or market because as your category gets more competitive and efficient you first have to restructure the site and undue the errors before you can compete
What Are the Benefits of Good Navigation?
A site with strong internal navigation exhibits the following characteristics
- properly flows PageRank throughout the site
- search engines are likely to rank the most relevant page
- easier to convert
- is easy for users to move around
- builds user trust
- more likely to be referenced in a positive light than a site with broken navigation (gets free editorial links)
- converts better, so it can afford to pay a higher lead price for traffic (and thus maintain market leadership even as the market gets more competitive)
- category pages add context and target different relevant word sets than lower level pages
- folder and filenames are logical so they aid relevancy and clickthrough rate and the site is easy to build out / extend
- if you ever make errors they are typically far easier to correct
- easy to promote seasonal specials or currently hot items
Many website owners with unorganized websites think that they just need more of the same, but in a game of market efficiency sometimes less is more, especially if it is better organized.
Gain a Competitive Advantage Today
Your top competitors have been investing into their marketing strategy for years.
Now you can know exactly where they rank, pick off their best keywords, and track new opportunities as they emerge.
Explore the ranking profile of your competitors in Google and Bing today using SEMrush.
Enter a competing URL below to quickly gain access to their organic & paid search performance history - for free.
See where they rank & beat them!
- Comprehensive competitive data: research performance across organic search, AdWords, Bing ads, video, display ads, and more.
- Compare Across Channels: use someone's AdWords strategy to drive your SEO growth, or use their SEO strategy to invest in paid search.
- Global footprint: Tracks Google results for 120+ million keywords in many languages across 28 markets
- Historical data: since 2009, before Panda and Penguin existed, so you can look for historical penalties and other potential ranking issues.
- Risk-free: Free trial & low price.