Hello to all of you who combine SEO with infrastructure architecture (IA). It’s IA Wednesday again, and we continue to look at how our labeling systems can be developed from incorporating SEO into our web pages.
Check those out, and come on back to read this!
If you’re designing a labeling system for a new site, how and where do you start? This can actually be easy, because there’s no baggage with an existing site – no push back from those who would say “But there’s nothing wrong with we have those pages named!”
Anyways, to get started, why not visit your competition’s web pages and see how they label? There just might be some really good terms that you can beat them on, SEO-wise. Look at several, and take note of the best labels you see.
Working to re-label an existing website? No problem. Make a list of all current labels in a document. Throw them into a table, print it out, and start eyeballing it. If the previous labeling effort was inconsistent, it’ll stand out to you, particularly if you didn’t take part in the last evolution.
If you’ve done some IA, or are being mentored and trained in IA by an experienced pro, chances are good she or h e has developed controlled vocabularies and thesauri. These will be gone over in later posts, so don’t worry if you don’t know what they are right now.
Previously-developed (and still relevant) controlled vocabulary lists can spawn excellent labels that are easily understood by your targeted web visitor. If you’re still stuck though, do an online search for comprehensive thesaurus sites and start some research.
Making A New Label System
If this is a new site, you will create your labeling system from scratch. That can be good or bad, depending upon your attitude.
If this is the case, you can review all the existing site content and pick out keyword phrases. This can go a lot easier if you’re familiar with the web site’s theme and content, obviously, but if it’s a new industry to you, engage the content authors and editors for help.
And, ask subject matter experts, such as the sales and marketing staff, engineers, designers, etc. Ask them what the end user needs are for information, and develop a labeling strategy from that point.
Your keyword research efforts will also yield some insights into creating a labeling system. After all, the keyword research we do shows us trends and forensic analysis into what searchers are typing into the query field of their favorite search engine. You may discover major subject areas or categories that are clear from the keywords you’ve collected.
Card Sort Exercises
If you’re sophisticated, and the web site creation/re-design budget is generous, create and conduct a card sort exercise. This is where you gather subjects and give them cards with different categories. The user will sort the content for you, based on her priorities, interests and perception. You’ll need to gather a lot of input, but this is a great way to make sure you address web visitor content needs accurately.
We will cover card sorting in a later post.
Let’s tie in a little more SEO with IA, specifically for developing comprehensive, useful labeling systems. Go into your analytics program and review the keyword phrases used to get visitors to a landing page on the site.
Be sure to look for related terms as well, and note if acronyms or jargon are listed.
Do you use tagging on your site? This information is quite valuable, since your users can contribute to the tags.
That’s all for this edition of Infrastructure Architecture and SEO. Stay tuned and learn more about this fascinating methodology to create a better website that really pays attention to what content users are really looking for.
And if you’re new to SEO, but want to learn it to apply to your own site or become an SEO specialist, let Search Engine Academy train and certify you in SEO in five days or less.
In the meantime, think about if your website is really serving your visitors information needs.
All the best to you,