SES Berlin: succesful website architecture

Wed 25 November 2009 14:15, Roy Huiskes

SES Berlin: succesful website architecture

At SES there's always a session about structuring your website. Building it hierarchical and creating semantic correct links from one page to another without spilling to much of the linkworth. In this session there were three presentations. First up was Jens Fauldrath from the Deutsche Telekom.

Jens was talking about sitestructures for beginners. One of the problems in larger websites is the extensive use of dropdown menu's. You can make an AJAX dropdown menu, or create it completely in Javascript to get your semantic and hierarchical value again up to date. The problem is that if you have you whole website links from all pages a search engine doesn't know which pages are more important then others. The only way it can indicate that, is by external links, which are actually a lot harder to get then good internal linking.

Then the next issue comes up. You have determined which page belongs where in your website structure but you still are legally bound into a set of footerlink like privacy policy, terms and conditions and so on. In the past you could have used a nofollow for that and if that worker for you but it doesn't anymore, you could also use iFrames for instance.

So now, that's solved as well. But old pages, that don't belong in the index, are still in there. Think for instance of Pagination pages. You can use the NoIndex meta-tag. When it doesn't have a ranking goal, you don't need it in the index.

You can also use Canonical tags for pages that are near duplicate. This way you can leverage the link power of those pages into a page that really needs it.

Then Jens made quite nice table/diagram where he plotted al the options, issues and solutions to it. When the presentations are out there i'll add them to this post.

Next of was a little bit about metrics that you can use as an SEO to see how well you are doing.

These questions need answers

  • how much pages are in the index.
  • What pages get the most traffic?
  • How does this traffic relate to the pageviews?
  • Which sources bring you the most traffic?
  • What the status in the webmaster tools?
  • How is you visibility on the internet?
  • What keywords are you ranking on?

On of the big issues they found out on the focus online site was that they were having duplicate content issues with trailing slashing. This means that /celebrity and /celebrity/ were resolving the same webpage and they both were in the index. the pages were PR6 and PR3. The solution was that they redirected the PR3 into the PR6. These days you could also use the canonical tag to solve this issue now.

Why is the structure so important? Google can identify the semantic value of the content. Also it's in the W3C since last week Google doesn't display URL's anymore, but breadcrumbs, this is used to make better CTR from the SERPs. It also creates a more transparant way to see where you are heading, and how the website is structured. Of course all to get lower bouncerates on the landingpages and help people finding the right page more easy then before.

Then talked about what's in the index? Just use the "site:" operator in Google to look what it has found from your website. The best thing you can do: Just click around. Be sure to also check out the cache (and the cachedate -your editor) since this is also a nice indicator of the importance of you website and webpages. Then there's some more about parameters in URL's and session ID's. A good tip was to look at your 404 pages. What's on it? Are they in the index and how much om them are? You can also the check the number of 404 of indexed URL in the Google Webmaster Tools.

All in all a good session for beginners (it was the beginnerstrack) in which they got some solid handles to checkup on your website SEO Health without doing actually rocket science. Every marketingmanager can do this, it he takes an afternoon for it, and is then able to tell the webdesigners or programmers which issues to solve. Especcially the diagram op Jens comes in handy when finding some advanced solutions to some very basic problems a lot of sites experience.


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  • Hi Roy, nice sum-up of important factors in site structures.

    Tip: if you use the site: command to determine the number of indexed pages, be sure to check the last result page. When Google says it has 200 pages indexed, it will often change that number when you try to surf to SERP 20.

    Wo 25 nov 2009, 15:47

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