Content May Be The SEO King But Check The Palace Architecture

Where should effort go to be highly visible in keyword searches with Google? A precise answer probably demands an evaluation of all the Google Search Engine Ranking Factors like that done by SEOmoz. However the Google search debate normally seems to revolve around Content or Links.

Mark Jackson stated quite categorically The Golden Rule of SEO: Content is King. Aaron Wall also commented that although there are those who push for linking, Content is King when you get down to it.

The debate is ongoing and there are even those who stay on the fence and declare both content and inbound linking is king.

How should you budget your effort then in trying to improve rankings in Google keyword searches? Should it be equal effort on content and links or some other ratio?

That is a false dichotomy since there is another equally important website dimension that does not even feature in this debate. Indeed if you look at the hot issues in the past two months in SEO, that third dimension has been the one the experts have been talking about. The third leg of the tripod is the website architecture. It deserves equal effort as illustrated in the following table, which is derived from a chart in an article on Key SEO Services. In this table, the Plus value is a reminder of the Upsides that can be created by working on this aspect. The Minus value indicates the Downsides if this aspect is handled poorly.


Triple Power SEO

Architecture Content Links
SEO Trio
Plus – Visibility Plus – Appeal Plus – Authority
Minus – Barriers to search engines Minus – Spam Minus – Penalties
Monitor     >>     Measure     >>     Manage     >>     Improve

It is somewhat surprising website architecture gets so little air time given its importance. It can be complex but a great deal of improvement can be obtained with very simple methods. It is likely that the vast majority of websites that do not perform well in Google keyword searches suffer from website architecture problems. Yet much progress can be made with some of the most basic tools.

For example, the Xenu Link Sleuth (TM) will find broken links on web sites, which can be a major problem for the search engine spiders. It crawls the website in exactly the way a search engine spider does. Google itself provides a great deal of information through its Google Webmaster Tools website. If you have Google Analytics or Google Adsense ads on your website, then both give statistics that often pinpoint problems in the website architecture. Efforts put into correction efforts will have clear and certain results, unlike those hoped for when efforts go into content or links.

The aim of this article was to discuss the high level allocation of effort rather than to provide a compendium of website architecture problem areas and solutions.   If you need assistance then a group like the Web Marketing Group would meet your needs.  For further reading,  we can recommend an article by Richard BaxterDiagnose Critical Website Architecture Issues for SEO. He also has a slide show of the presentation he gave at SMX London 2009 on the same topic. It’s very good value if you want pointers on how to put effort into this priority SEO dimension.

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14 thoughts on “Content May Be The SEO King But Check The Palace Architecture”

  1. Actually, I get really tired of hearing “content id king”. It’s one of those clichés that nobody really knows what it means (or everybody knows exactly what it means – and no two people have the same definition). But I think you hit the nail on the head with the triple power SEO concept.

  2. Thanks, David. I was putting together an overview article on SEO and this ‘tripod’ view just seemed so descriptive of what really happens. If you look at the time you spend on ensuring blogs perform well, all three dimensions demand significant effort.

  3. Ok… who is giving away all my secrets? LOL! The architecture part is something people don’t really get. Good architecture speaks to the crawler, guiding it and telling it the story of the website in the folder and file names, and position in the link hierarchy. The IBlinks say… hey this guy’s got a good story put him on the best sellers list!

    Just my .02 Ca.

  4. Well, I just wonder why my site appears with no error on the google webmaster tool but got poor rankings while careful and persistent SEO tactics have been executed.

    Another thing, I had a blog from blogger and it does so well in SERP and good traffic stats based on google analytics using the same SEO practice I did for my site.

    Could this mean google favors some site architecture?

  5. I think what people tend to forget is that is not one single action that works best. Yes content is extremely powerful and important but the best content in the world won;t help you if you have not done a well rounded link building campaign. One that includes all aspects of the internet. Finding one component and beating it into the ground simply does not work long term.

  6. Nick… have to disagree it starts and ends with content because trying to get links to lousy content is almost impossible. A site that was built for the audience has chosen content that is in high demand and therefore linking takes care of itself. IME, sites that need a lot of link development were poorly planned and launched. If that ship has sailed then… you need to step back and figure out why links didn’t come naturally and change content choices and do some competitor and audience analysis.

    I agree there are many things involved and a lot of those are not even SEO they are marketing and competitor/audience related. I disagree that link building has to be part of it, sure I list with a few of the main directories and set blogs up withh RSS feed distribution, do news releases etc., encorage the use of Twitte and social media(if you are using Social for link building don’t be surprised when your house of cards comes down) however I would call that the normal course of launching a site not “link building”. The main way you can build links is through directories, recips, articles is it any wonder 2 of those 3 have been more or less proven near useless for traffic and passing link authority. Possibly because all SEO manipulation techniques have a shelf life of less than a year?

  7. Mediocre content and good backlinks trumps great content and poor backlinks. If you produce worthile content and actively seek medium-to-good backlinks you’ll be fine.

    RESIST the siren lure of autogenned content and cr*p backlinks. Unless you don’t care about a ban.

  8. I have a blog from blogger and it does so well in SERP with good traffic stats based on google analytics using the same SEO practices I did for my website.

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