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Content Organization

Posted on 10.24.2007
The Web Design SEO Checklist (Part One)

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A new client comes to me. We review his site; images used for page headers, the same title and meta tags on every page, “borrowed” content, and a java navigation. He paid thousands to have the site developed and he doesn’t understand why he’s not ranking well.

This is a common situation almost every SEO comes across with a new client. And there always comes a point during the conversation where the client asks in a somewhat disgruntled tone, “Isn’t this SEO stuff something the web designer should have done?” And to a very real degree it is. But typically SEO isn’t taught to designers. So who is really to blame? The designer? The design school?

In reality, everyone is a little to blame. But since blame doesn’t fix websites here’s a more productive approach. Below is one part of a series of posts dedicated to creating an SEO design checklist for web developers. These simple brief overviews, if followed, can aid designers to create websites more likely to index and rank well in the search engines.

This weeks post will cover Content Organization.

The first thing to realize is that search engines don’t see “web sites”. They see interlinked documents. Having too many topics covered on one page dilutes the theme relevancy of the document. So the idea is to try to have one main topic or keyword theme per page.

But just as having too many topics per page can affect the theme relevancy so too can having a disorganized structure to your site’s pages. For example, imagine a page about dog collars located in a folder on your server that has a cluster of pages about everything from cars to dishwashers (Folder A). Then imagine a page about dog collars located in a folder on your server called “dogs” that contains other dog related documents (Folder B).

The second arrangement groups similar content together and thus reinforces the relevance of your pages’ themes.

Another way to reinforce the relevance of a pages’ theme is to actually interlink similar content. So when possible add cross links between similarly themed content.

Obviously, content organization is just one variable of many to consider. But when initially conceiving a website’s layout and organization taking a few extra minutes to group similar content can make a difference in the long run.

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Next week we discuss URLs: Static, Dynamic, Page Names, and Canonicalization.

John Fitzsimmons is a Search Marketing Manager with He also consults on web development projects and social media.
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