Monday, February 20, 2006

SEO 101 Refresher Part 4: Link Architecture

Link architecture is the skeletal structure of the content of your site.

Search engines crawl the web a page at a time (although they have many many crawlers). When they visit a page they record the meta data and visible content of the page as well as the links from that page. It’s the links from that page that guide the search engines through the rest of your site. Obviously it's important that the search engines find each page as easily as possible.

Sites that have content buried deep within the site that’s more than a few clicks away risk having that content slow crawled or not crawled at all. It's important to note that by depth of content we are not referring to directory structure but to linking structure. If you have a web page at this URL http://www.site.com/folder1/folder2/folder3/page.html that is linked to from the home page then this page is only one level deep in the site. It's important to note the distinction. Just because a page is on the root of a website (http://www.site.com/page.html) doesn’t mean it is easily crawlable if it is linked to on the third level of your site.

For any site it is important to have a sitemap as they aid search engines with crawling the second and third levels of your site by making them accessible through one page closer to the home page. Sitemaps should at least be linked to from the home page, if not every page. Very large sites may need several sitemaps broken up logically.

Another important aspect of link architecture is cross-linking similar topics or cross topics. Done properly, your internal site pages can aid the search engines in understanding what a page should rank for. For example if you have a shoe site your walking shoes page should link to your running shoes and dress shoes category pages as well as accessory pages for socks, laces and insoles using descriptive anchor texts. It not only helps your optimization but also users in finding new merchandise on your site and provides a better chance at on up-sale or add-on sale.

Proper link architecture will ensure your site is craled easily and indexed regularly.


Post a Comment

<< Home