How does information architecture (IA) have anything to do with search engine optimization (SEO)?

(c) Sean Bordner

(c) Sean Bordner

Do not exclude SEO considerations when hammering out your SharePoint 2010 WCM site IA. Keeping people coming back to your WCM site is a product of a sound SharePoint SEO strategy. Careful consideration should be applied to overall look and feel of your site in order to address the needs of your users. To complicate matters, most sites target multiple audiences with very specific needs. Putting yourself in the computer chair of your many users can quickly become an inescapable mind trap unless approached methodically while always keeping business objectives in mind.

While there are many different methods of achieving a good look and feel which is intuitive and useful; not many even consider search engine optimization. Which page is ultimately going to carry more weight if all other things are equal: (A) a page located on or near the root URL, or ( B) a page deep linked five levels down from the root URL? Answer: (A). Why? If you put a page on the root of your site it must be pretty important to you, therefore important to the search engine. An equally relevant page located on another site, but five levels deep, just lost this race.

The importance of a solid IA and how it directly impacts your SharePoint SEO efforts is how users respond to your site once they arrive. Do users immediately hit the back button and do another search (or worse, click on another site)? This action tells the search engine exactly what the user thought of your site. You want users to get to what they want immediately or they are gone. Preferably users land on the precise page they are looking for upon entering your site. Remember, not all users will enter your SharePoint WCM site from its home page.

When talking about the overall look and feel of your SharePoint WCM site, you are talking about two main things: Information architecture and taxonomy. Information architecture is focused mainly on Web content as building blocks to be fit into a site’s visual design and navigation scheme. In SharePoint, you are talking about sites, sub-sites and the pages contained therein. How these things will be arranged and found in order to meet the needs of your users equals IA.

Taxonomies are often created to describe categories and subcategories of topics found on your SharePoint Web site. Your SharePoint WCM site really pulls ahead of other CMS solutions in the taxonomy arena. SharePoint 2010 uses “site columns” to categorize content. You have full control over site columns and the rewards of finally being able to “tag” your content spill over into your SEO efforts.

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About Sean Bordner

CEO, Solution Architect, Co-Author of SharePoint for Nonprofits, Contributing Author NothingButSharePoint.com MCT, MCTS, MCSD, MCP, MCAD
This entry was posted in CMS, Content Management, IA, Information Architecture, SharePoint, WCM. Bookmark the permalink.

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