Content Layering Using Site Architecture To Improve SEO



Many times,​ a​ site gets very large and its ability to​ rank well in​ competitive markets decreases in​ part because of​ the​ size of​ the​ site. While we in​ the​ business know that content is​ king,​ more often than not it​ is​ a​ combination of​ content and effective site structure which will ultimately help your pages rank.

In this article I look at​ how to​ most effectively structure your site to​ take advantage of​ this.

I read this great article on​ layering on​ the​ SEOmoz Blog http://www.seomoz.org/blogdetail.php?ID=789 and while it​ does a​ good job of​ explaining what content layering is,​ I feel it​ could be improved just a​ little bit.

I'm not saying it​ is​ wrong in​ any way. in​ fact the​ tactic outlined will be very effective for a​ small to​ medium sized site,​ however I have also found another way to​ organize your site which can be more effective if​ done properly.

In the​ article,​ it​ explains how you​ use layers to​ organize your site. Now we're not talking about CSS layering or​ anything like that. It's more of​ a​ site structure issue than anything.

According to​ the​ article,​ one can layer their site through the​ use of​ sub-folders. By creating layers of​ sub-folders and then placing all related content within that sub-folder you​ can layer your site to​ help specific sections of​ it​ rank higher.

This is​ a​ great way to​ organize a​ smaller site because it​ allows you​ to​ place topical pages together,​ and promote links within the​ pages to​ help improve overall positioning of​ these sections.

Further,​ it​ helps reduce the​ dilution factor often felt by sites that attempt to​ cover multiple topics in​ a​ flat file structure.

For example,​ if​ you​ sell widgets you​ could organize the​ sections by some common element,​ such as​ color. That way your site could be: http://widgetts.com/blue/page1.html and all blue widget pages would go into this sub-folder. You'd then organize all other sub-folders in​ a​ similar style.

Like I said,​ I think this is​ a​ very effective strategy for a​ smaller or​ medium site. There would be a​ much greater chance of​ blue widgets ranking highly in​ a​ structure like this.

However,​ I feel that for larger sites there's an​ even more effective way to​ organize your content.

Through the​ use of​ sub-domains one could further organize this content. This would make it​ even more relevant to​ search queries and more likely to​ rank. if​ one sold a​ larger variety of​ widgets yet still wanted to​ organize them by color then the​ structure of​ the​ site would be: http://blue.widgetts.com and all site content relating to​ blue widgets would appear within this sub-domain.

The reason I say sub-domains would be more effective is​ because search engines tend to​ treat a​ sub-domain as​ its own site. in​ other words,​ a​ search engine sees http://blue.widgetts.com and http://widgetts.com as​ essentially 2 different sites.

Keep in​ mind that such a​ strategy is​ of​ the​ most benefit to​ larger sites. if​ you​ don't have a​ large site,​ or​ don't foresee your site growing to​ become a​ large site then I wouldn't recommend the​ sub-domain layering tactic.

This is​ because,​ as​ I've said,​ the​ search engines will treat your sub-domain as​ a​ unique site. So if​ you've only got 10 or​ 15 or​ even 50 pages in​ your sub-domain,​ chances are it​ won't rank as​ competitively as​ it​ would have as​ a​ sub-folder of​ a​ larger site.

Now,​ to​ make your content even more competitive,​ why not combine these two strategies – use a​ sub-domain and sub-folders to​ provide you​ even more control in​ site organization as​ well as​ an​ even greater chance of​ ranking.

This is​ because the​ broader sub-domain can rank competitively for the​ broader terms while the​ sub-folder content can rank competitively for the​ less broad,​ more specific terms.

What you​ are doing by combining the​ two strategies is​ getting more bang for your buck. This is​ because you​ are covering more area on​ the​ web,​ allowing your site to​ rank for both broad and specific terms.

Then,​ with some good strategic interlinking you​ will be able to​ even further promote the​ broad areas of​ your site by linking all your internal pages to​ the​ pages above it.

While I'm not entirely dismissing the​ layered content theory presented above,​ I am saying consider your situation. if​ your site is​ a​ smaller site,​ by all means use the​ layered content approach. if​ it's larger then use the​ sub-domain approach.

Also remember that there could be multiple ways to​ organize the​ same content.

For example,​ in​ addition to​ organizing your sub-domains or​ sub-folders by color in​ the​ widget example,​ also consider organizing them by features. This way,​ a​ chosen widget could be linked to​ from multiple related categories.

Not only that but you've now bulked up your site with a​ bunch of​ additional pages. These new pages are required to​ help create the​ sub-domains and navigation required to​ drive visitors to​ the​ individual widget pages.

This type of​ multi-category linking is​ common among many large sites. One good example is​ Ebay. it​ organizes its top auctions into sub-domains like antiques,​ art,​ autos and clothing. Then,​ within the​ categories the​ sub-folder structure is​ used to​ further segment the​ site.

In conclusion,​ if​ you've been looking for a​ way to​ most effectively organize your site while helping to​ improve rankings,​ consider these options. Through the​ use of​ sub-folders,​ sub-domains or​ a​ combination of​ both you​ can effectively organize your site,​ segment your products and target searchers more effectively.





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