Whether you’re working with an established website or not, you should plan to research the desired site architecture (from an SEO perspective) as a core element of your SEO strategy. This task can be divided into two major components: technology decisions and structural decisions.
Technology Decisions :
SEO is a technical process, and as such, it impacts major technology choices. For example, a content management system (CMS) can facilitate—or, possibly, undermine—your SEO strategy. For example, some platforms do not allow you to write customized titles and meta descriptions that vary from one web page to the next, some create hundreds (or thousands) of pages of duplicate content (not good for SEO!). For a deep dive into the technical issues you’ll need to familiarize yourself with in order to make the right technology decisions for your SEO needs. “Developing an SEO Friendly Website.” The technology choices you make at the outset of developing your site and publishing your content can make or break your SEO efforts – and it is best to make the right choices in the beginning to save yourself headaches down the road.
Your technology choices can have a major impact on your SEO results. The following is an outline of the most important issues to address at the outset:
Dynamic URLs :
Dynamic URLs are URLs for dynamic web pages (which have content generated “on the fly” by user requests). These URLs are generated in real-time as the result of specific queries to a site’s database – for example, a search for “SEO Services” on seomartweb.com results in the dynamic search result URL https://www.seomartweb.com/search?q=seo%20services. However, seomartweb also has a static URL for a static page showing SEO Services, here: https://www.seomartweb.com/services/seo
Although Google has stated for some time that dynamic URLs are not a problem for the search engine to crawl, it is wise to make sure your dynamic URLs are not “running wild” by making sure your CMS does not render your pages on URLs with too many convoluted parameters in them. In addition, be sure to make proper use of the rel=”canonical” tag as outlined by Google:
Finally, while dynamic URLs are crawlable, don’t overlook the value of static URLs for the purpose of controlling your URL structure for brevity, descriptiveness, user-friendliness, and ease of sharing.
Session IDs or user IDs in the URL :
It used to be very common for CMSs to track individual users surfing a site by adding a tracking code to the end of the URL. Although this worked well for this purpose, it was not good for search engines, because they saw each URL as a different page rather than variants of the same page. Make sure your CMS does not ever serve up session IDs. If you are not able to do this, making sure you use rel=”canonical” on your URLs.
Superfluous parameters in the URL :
Related to the preceding two items is the notion of extra characters being present in the URL. This may bother the search engines, and it interferes with the user experience for your site.
Links or content based in Flash :
Search engines often cannot see links and content implemented using Flash technology. Make sure there is a plan is to expose your links and content in simple HTML text, and be aware of Flash’s limitations.
Content behind forms (including pull-down lists) :
Making content accessible only after the user has completed a form (such as a login) or made a selection from an improperly implemented pull-down list is a great way to hide content from the search engines. Do not use these techniques unless you want to hide your content!
Temporary (302) redirects :
This is also a common problem in web server platforms and CMSs. The 302 redirect blocks a search engine from recognizing that you have permanently moved the content, and it can be very problematic for SEO as 302 redirects block the passing of PageRank. You need to make sure the default redirect your systems use is a 301, or understand how to configure it so that it becomes the default.
2. Structural Decisions :
One of the most basic decisions to make about a website concerns internal linking and navigational structures, which are generally mapped out in a site architecture document. What pages are linked to from the home page? What pages are used as top-level categories that then lead site visitors to other related pages? Do pages that are relevant to each other link to each other? There are many, many aspects to determining a linking structure for a site, and it is a major usability issue because visitors make use of the links to surf around your website. For search engines, the navigation structure helps their crawlers determine what pages you consider the most important on your site, and it helps them establish the relevance of the pages on your site to specific topics. This section outlines a number of key factors that you need to consider before launching into developing or modifying a website. The first step will be to obtain a current site information architecture (IA) document
for reference, or to build one out for a new site. From here, you can begin to understand how your content types, topics, and products will be organized.
Target keywords :
Keyword research is a critical component of SEO. What search terms do people use when searching for products or services similar to yours? How do those terms match up with your site hierarchy? Ultimately, the logical structure of your pages should match up with the way users think about products and services like yours.
Cross-link relevant content :
Linking between articles that cover related material can be very powerful. It helps the search engine ascertain with greater confidence how relevant a web page is to a particular topic.
Use anchor text, intuitively :
Anchor text has generally been one of the golden opportunities of internal linking, and exact-match keyword anchor text was generally the protocol for internal linking for many years. However, in these days of aggressive anchor text abuse (and crackdown by the search engines), while keyword-infused anchor text in internal links is still often the most intuitive and user-friendly, we generally advocate for a more broadminded approach to crafting internal anchor text. Use descriptive text in your internal links and avoid using irrelevant text such as “More” or “Click here.” Try to be as specific and contextually relevant as possible and include phrases when appropriate within your link text. For example, as a crystal vendor, you might use “some of our finest quartz specimens” as anchor text for an internal link, vs. “quality quartz crystals.” Make sure that the technical, creative, and editorial teams understand this approach, as it will impact how content is created, published, and linked to within your site.
Use breadcrumb navigation :
Breadcrumb navigation is a way to show the user where he is in the navigation hierarchy.