Good day to all SEOers out there! We’re doing a Wednesday blog post on Infrastructure Architecture (IA) and search engine optimization (SEO) every week to bring you helpful information and tips on how you can incorporate IA and SEO together to make the best web site/experience possible for your target audience.
Why do IA?
Because it’s all about getting your most important content found as quickly and easily as possible by anyone who uses your site. We’re going over the last of the four major IA systems – search. We previously talked about content organization, labeling and navigation systems. This is the second of who knows how many posts on search systems in IA, and you can read the first IA search system post now, then join us back here.
OK, moving right along… by reviewing your log files or analytic data, you can discover what people are looking for on your website through the keywords section. You can also ask what people want from your site via surveys, conversations, etc. If someone tells you “I came to your site searching for…” please capture that thought, because knowing what the search queries and parameters are will help you create a very useful site search function.
One really important reason why you may want to make a good site search system is because people get tired of browsing very fast. Information overload is a threat, and most people don’t want to work hard to find what they need. You should do the heavy lifting on the back end to make your site easy for the target reader to use. If you have a very dynamic site, search is going to be mandatory. Suppose you run an online newspaper. Sooner or later somebody’s going to need to do a search on your newspaper site.
What you are actually creating is a search engine within your website with a site search function. It’s going to have an algorithm; it’s going to index all the content on your site. So, you want to apply SEO to all of your pages and make sure your techs develop a search engine based on your SEO efforts. Searches of any kind aren’t straightforward, and you’re going to have to put a lot of thought into advanced queries, Boolean operators and all sorts of other goodies to make a nice site search function for your web visitor.
Take a look at this graphic from the best book on IA, “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web:”
This is the basic outline or structure of a search system from “In Defense of Search,” Semantic Studios, http://www.semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/search.html)
So…who’s going to develop, test and implement this search function? You? The IT staff? Outside help?
Probably a combination of the disciplines listed above, plus others you may think can contribute positively to the end product. You – the IA/SEOer – should be running this show, because it’s ultimately about searcher’s needs. Yes, the technical and coding bits are critical, but they need to be built based on the requirements you’ve gathered for what searchers need to fulfill their queries. Naturally, politics is going to rear its’ head, but you must be ready to defend your turf. Otherwise, a technically beautiful but somewhat useless function could end up being built and implemented.
We’re going to pause it here for this week’s post, but I hope you’ve picked up something, or at least are now pondering if a site search box could help your web pages. Until next time, look at your site and think it over!
And if you’re ready to learn in-depth SEO and apply it right away, Search Engine Academy has classes all over the world to teach you the most up to date SEO processes, skills and knowledge.
All the best to you,