Chapter 4: Site Architecture & Search Engine Ranking Factors

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The last major “On The Page” group in the Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors is that of your overall site architecture. The right site structure can help with your SEO efforts. The wrong one can cripple them.

 

Ac: Site Crawability

Search engines “crawl” web sites, going from one page to another incredibly quickly, acting like hyperactive text scanners. They make copies of your pages, which get stored in what’s called an “index,” which is like a big book of the web.

When someone searches, the search engine flips through this big book that it has created, finds all the relevant pages and then picks out what it thinks are the very best ones to show first.

To be found, you have to be in the book. To be in the book, you have to be crawlable. Most sites generally don’t have crawling issues, but there are things that can cause problems.

For example, JavaScript or Flash potentially can hide links, making the pages those links lead to hidden from search engines. Related to this, both can potentially cause the actual words on pages to be hidden.

Most problems can be easily avoided. In addition, a good practice is to make use of sitemaps, both the HTML and XML variety. You’ll find more about sitemaps and dealing with potential crawling issues in the Search Engine Land articles below:

  • SEO Vs. Web Site Architecture
  • The “Design” Part Of Search Engine Friendly Design
  • Site Navigation & Information Architecture Fundamentals For SEOs
  • How To Avoid Clunky Web Design With Holistic SEO & Usability
  • Google Now Crawling And Indexing Flash Content
  • Site Navigation & Information Architecture Fundamentals For SEOs
  • How To Make Flash Content Search Friendly
  • Google May Be Crawling AJAX Now – How To Best Take Advantage Of It
  • Canonical Tag 2.0: Google To Add Cross Domain Support
  • Google Writes Google Sitemaps FAQs
  • Google XML Sitemaps Now Supports Multiple Types: Is the Sitemaps Alliance Over?

Remember, “search engine friendly design” is also “human friendly design!”

As: Site Speed

Google wants to make the web a faster place, so much so that it has declared that speedy sites get ranking advantage over slower sites.

Boosting your web site’s speed isn’t a guaranteed express ride to the top of Google’s results, however. It’s a minor factor, but one that can help reinforce others.

So speed up your site, if you can. Your human visitors will probably appreciate it, too!

Below, some of our past coverage of the importance of site speed:

  • It’s Official: Google Now Counts Site Speed As A Ranking Factor
  • Google Releases Page Speed Report In Webmaster Tools
  • Google’s Push To Speed Up Your Web Site
  • Google Launches Page Speed Analyzer In Labs
  • 29 Ways To Speed Up Your Website

Au: Are Your URLs Descriptive?

Yes, having the words you want to be found for within your domain name or page URLs can help your ranking prospects. A little. It’s not a major factor. But if it makes sense to have descriptive words in your URLs, do so.

Aside from helping a bit with ranking, various research reports over the years have shown that searchers are more likely to select pages with short, descriptive URLs over other pages in search results.

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