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.
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
|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 Baxter, Diagnose 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.