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Make Website Navigation Helpful for Search Engines and Humans

It is a surprisingly common mistake for sites to be structured in ways that are harmful to their search engine rankings.

Many sites will bury important keyword rich pages that are relevant to user’s searches simply because they do not fall within the main ‘home’, ‘about us’ or ‘contact’ page hierarchy. Don’t let this happen to you. Check with the five points below to ensure your site architecture isn’t hindering its own search potential.

 

Navigation

 

Dig Up the Right Words

Keywords are, well, key in terms of SEO. It is important to choose the words that are most used amongst your target audience in terms of your services or products.

To find which keywords are most successful you should first take a look at what words the top ranking competitors are using. Create a chart of the common keywords that keep appearing amongst the top sight and take them into consideration when creating the content on yours. Then put to use on of the valuable keyword tools such as Google AdWords Editor or Google Contextual Targeting Tool to discover the popular words that have not been picked up yet by your competitors.

Don’t forget about other resources such as your own social media. Browse your profiles to capture the language your audience is using pick out the relevant trending keywords.

Make Sure it is According to Theme

When you are building your website it is important to expand on keywords according to their thematic units and expand on categories. For example if you are a furniture retailer you should list your products on the side of the page that falls under the heading such as ‘Our Furniture’. Under this heading select keywords should be listed such as ‘couches’, ‘desks’, ‘chairs,’. These keywords should then be linked to relevant pages.

This will help with ease of navigation, optimise those keywords used in your website and make them an important part of the architecture.

Make it Easy

It is important to base the structure of your website to the needs of your audience. For example if you are a restaurant chain it would be important to structure your site where the menus, locations and times are easily accessible. Online, you only have couple-second-window before your audience will get over it and leave your site. Make sure you are highlighting what pages are important to the user to ensure they can easily access what they are looking for on your site.

When forming the structure of your site as well as writing the content keep in mind that if it is suited to your audiences’ interests and needs it will most likely be SEO friendly as well.

Link it Up

Sites typically rely on navigation from tabs listed on the top of the site such as ‘home’, ‘about us’, ‘our products’, ‘contact us’, etc. but don’t just rely on these general tabs for site navigation. Link keywords or phrases in your body copy to other relevant pages within your site. For example if you write, ‘We have an extensive range of quality wooden kids toys,’ link ‘wooden kids toys’ to the page within your site that features such toys.

This is a great way to enhance fluidity in the architecture and site navigation.

Don’t Let Panda or Penguin Get You Down

One of the thing Google’s Panda update considers when evaluating site validation is your bounce back rate. It doesn’t look good to Google if you have searchers hitting your page and immediately heading back to the search results to find a different answer.

Make sure that all your pages are relevant and contain engaging information. Check to make sure that all your site pages are working properly and that your website isn’t laden with page errors (you can check this via Google Webmaster Tools). This will help reduce the chance that searchers come across a page that doesn’t represent your site.

Google’s more recent Penguin update has reduced the tolerance of duplicate content and similar keywords pointing to a specific page. It is now more important than ever to make sure each page on your website is original and offers the searcher new and valuable information. Make sure that your linking keywords are original and not repetitive. For example; ‘Auckland SEO Company, Auckland Digital Marketing, and Auckland SEO Agency’ would not be so kindly received by Penguin.

It would be better rephrased as ‘Auckland SEO Company, NZ Digital Marketing, ‘Search Engine Optimisation Agency’. Also, make sure that every page has at least 60% original content. Think of each page as a way to show your audience who you are and what you have to offer. You might as well take the opportunity to showcase yourself as many ways you can without becoming ‘spammy’.

Following the 5 tips above will help your site be more user-friendly and more tailored to good SEO.

3 September 2012


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