Optimizing website architecture for the search engines is critical. When researching certain topics or hunting for the best deals, people type keyword phrases into a search engine. If your architecture is optimized correctly during website planning, you’ll increase your chances of showing up near the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be understood in two parts: off-page optimization factors and on-page optimization factors. Off-page optimization happens primarily away from your website. One of the major factors in off-page optimization is the acquisition of links from other websites. Keep this in mind when optimizing your on-page factors. On-page optimization is search engine friendly SEO architecture.
When automated search engine spiders crawl through the structure of your website, they are looking to understand the theme of your website. This allows them to determine how they will rank individual pages in their SERPs when measured against their complex algorithms.
Although these algorithms are complex, search engine friendly SEO architecture is not. Focus on optimizing the following elements of good SEO architecture that make-up the structure, technology, and content of a website during website planning.
Make sure the search engines can read your meta data on every page. In order of importance, the search engines should be able to read the meta title, meta description, and meta keywords. If you are going to dynamically generate your meta titles and descriptions, make sure to have your meta title pull from the H1 page title on your website and the meta description pull from the first 150 characters of your content. In addition, make sure you can override your structure with custom meta titles, descriptions, and keywords on every page.
Make sure your URLs include keywords. URLs are a combination of your domain name, page name, and folder of where the page is located. Having keywords in your domain, page, and folders provides an excellent SEO architecture that tells the search engines how to place your web page in their results. These URLs should be readable, preferably with an .htm or .html extension. For example, use http://www.DomainName.com/FolderName/PageName.html instead of http://www.DomainName.com/index.php?Folder=PageName.
Links are part of your navigation and content. Make sure your navigation has text based keyword links that the search engines can crawl during website planning. Stay away from graphical images in your navigation. Also, when linking to another page within the body of your content, don’t link the work “click here” for the best SEO architecture. A better option is to link to a “keyword phrase” that describes in a couple of words what information the link provides.
Content makes up your web page title, subtitles, subheading, and body of content. It’s important to make sure that all titles use the <h1> tag and sub titles use the <h2> tag to ensure optimal SEO architecture.
Stay away from Flash introductions that lead into your homepage and full Flash websites during website planning. Even with advancements in indexing Flash sites, they are still an obstacle for the search engines. When using Flash, embed smaller Flash elements into a web page. When using scripts on the website, make sure to link the script within the <head> </head> tags instead of including the full content of that script on the web page. When the search engines visit your page, they are looking for what your webpage is about and scripts don’t accomplish this. They are strictly code based and will do nothing to help your positioning.