Chapter 3: Site Architecture & Search Engine Success Factors

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Site Architecture &

The next major on-page group in the is site architecture. It plays a critical role in SEO effectiveness. These factors affect the findability and usefulness of your site.


Good architecture makes easier for search engines and users to access and navigate. Take the subsequent architectural factors under consideration as you develop or evaluate your site.

 

Crawl

Search engines use web-crawling software — Google’s is named Googlebot and Bing’s is named Bingbot — to read your site’s pages and compile copies of them within a searchable index.
When searchers enter a question, the program scans its index to filter and rank the relevant pages. If your site isn’t crawlable, it’s not getting included within the index and won’t be visible within the search results.


Most sites don’t encounter serious crawling issues; however, you should still remember the factors that will facilitate or hinder this process.


Improper internal linking, slow page load speeds, URL errors, user access prompts, blocking search engines with the index value, and showing web crawlers something different from what you’re showing users can all inadvertently prevent your site from surfacing within the search results.

 

[Pro Tip]

“An effective information architecture and corresponding navigation system actually make web search results and site search results more accurate.” – Shari Thurow, author and founder and SEO Director at Omni Marketing Interactive.

Now that Googlebot supports Chrome 74, more JavaScript apps can get crawled by Google. But, Detlef Johnson, the SEO for Developers expert at Search Engine Land, points out, “The Chromium update to the Googlebot only is relevant for Google. There are other search engines that you want to perform well on, and the future may turn the tables on Google at any point like the times turned the tables on AltaVista when Google came around.”

 

“In terms of crawlability, even while Google can now crawl JavaScript links, you’re still happier just adhering as closely as possible to plain HTML for the foremost important code for your website, which incorporates, of course, navigation, therefore the crawlers can discover all of your pages,” he says.


Conversely, there are measures you’ll fancy make the foremost out of your “crawl budget” (the number of resources an inquiry engine will spend crawling your pages).


Making use of robots.txt, telling search engines to not crawl pages with certain URL parameters, and verifying that each one of your links works properly can help improve crawl efficiency. Keeping clean, up-to-date HTML and XML sitemaps also can make it easier for search engines to crawl your site.

 

Mobile

Mobile-friendly doesn’t just mean that your site is viewable on phones and tablets, it means your site is made for the humans that own those devices — and that they should be ready to access everything desktop users can access.

 

 

 

The majority of searches originate from mobile devices, and search engines have adjusted the way they index to reply to the present trend. In March 2018, Google began broadly implementing mobile-first indexing, during which it uses the mobile version of the online as its primary program index.

Many CMS’ support mobile versions of internet sites, but simply having a mobile site isn’t enough: lookout to avoid common mistakes including, but not limited to, faulty redirects, slow loading speeds, inappropriate font sizes, touch elements being too close together, and interstitials that impede users from accessing what they came for. Many of these considerations factor into your user experience, which is important to mobile-friendliness.


Some publishers also offer a mobile app. If that has your brand, make use of app indexing and linking to enable users to click on your search result and consider the content in-app. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) also can be implemented to swiftly deliver your content to mobile users.

 

Duplicate

Optimizing for site speed “will never attend some extent where you simply have a score that you simply optimize for and be through with it,” Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Martin Splitt said last year.


Your site should load quickly whether visitors are viewing it on mobile or desktop. And, since speed could also be a Google ranking factor, faster sites will have an SEO advantage (all other factors being equal).


A few months after Google’s broad rollout of mobile-first indexing in 2018, it launched the “Speed Update” for mobile search.


Like many other , speed is intertwined with the user experience. Maintaining a zippy site may help prevent visitors from bouncing and improve your engagement and conversion rates. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to spot areas of your site to enhance.


For more, see our SEO: Site Speed section to remain up-to-date.

 

Speed

Optimizing for site speed “will never attend some extent where you only have a score that you simply optimize for and be through with it,” Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Martin Splitt said last year.
Your site should load quickly whether visitors are viewing it on mobile or desktop. And, since speed may be a Google ranking factor, faster sites will have an SEO advantage (all other factors being equal).


A few months after Google’s broad rollout of mobile-first indexing in 2018, it launched the “Speed Update” for mobile search.


Like many other , speed is intertwined with the user experience. Maintaining a zippy site may help prevent visitors from bouncing and improve your engagement and conversion rates. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to spot areas of your site to enhance.


For more, see our SEO: Site Speed section to remain up-to-date.

 

HTTP

Google has pushed websites to migrate to HTTPS servers so as to supply better security to searchers. It’s forced the difficulty in a few ways, including rankings.


In 2014, Google started giving a little ranking boost to secure HTTPS/SSL sites. In July 2018, the Chrome browser began marking pages that don’t use HTTPS as not secure, effectively making HTTPS a part of a user’s experience on your site.

 

 

 

 

“Google will typically index HTTPS first over HTTP,” Patrick Stox explained at SMX Advanced. “So, if you’ve both and you don’t have a canonical . . . typically, they’re getting to choose HTTPS once they can.”


“Using HTTPS is typically a user experience issue,” Detlef Johnson adds. “However, that user experience issue is critical because folks which may want to conduct e-commerce in conjunction with your site — if they’re faced with security warnings, you’ll have just lost the sale.”

 

[Pro Tip] 

“One thing that I see a lot actually — and this is true mostly for WordPress — there are assets that were uploaded into the content management system, before the site owner switched over to HTTPS, and so a lot of the images that might be a part of layout or part of older posts are hosted with spellings that are for previous, ordinary HTTP. Even though those assets might resolve and you might get them to display on the page, served over HTTPS, you’ll still get a warning that says some assets of this page are not secure, which is similar to ‘Uh-oh, you’ve got insecure pages.’”– Detlef Johnson, Search Engine Land

 

URLs

 

This is not a significant ranking factor, but it’s good practice to use descriptive words in your page URLs for search engines and users.


Your URLs appear on search results pages, so having an easy-to-understand URL may give searchers a much better idea of what’s on the other end of the link.


Here are some tips to assist you to create a URL structure that’s easy to know for humans and search engines.

 

Pros

  • Include keywords within your URL. Use hyphens to separate words (as in the example above).
  • Name your pages using words that describe your content.
  • Make use of directories to organize your pages. Directories can describe your content as well as your site’s structure. 

Cons

  • Stuffing keywords numerous times in your URL. Remember, having a domain match for a given query does not guarantee that you’ll show up at the top of the search results.
  • Using incomprehensible strings of characters and numbers in your page addresses.
  • For evergreen content, avoid including a date within your URL.

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