When building a website, there is an emphasis on optimising the site for search engines due to ever-increasing competition.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often thought of as a combination of link building, adding meta data and keyword rich content. Undertaking SEO only after the website has been developed overlooks one of the most crucial aspects to success in search engine natural placings. There are two other areas of website design and development that shouldn’t be ignored.

Information Architecture and Technical Architecture are both key aspects in their own right and should not be seen as processes totally separate to design and applying search engine optimisation techniques.

Information Architecture is seen as both the organisation and labeling of content on a website, a process which will benefit users in terms of usability and findability. Sorting out your website’s Information Architecture should come before you begin coding of the site.

The four components you should have in your mind when considering Information Architecture are:

  1. Organisation
  2. Labelling
  3. Usability
  4. Findability

Information Architecture ensures that your website’s content is ‘organised’ through effective ‘labelling’ which ensures simple ‘usability’ for visitors to be able to ‘find’ what they need on the site.

That list of components can quite often be confused with undertaking the practice of Technical Architecture for SEO purposes, in other words, undertaking tasks like:

301 redirects
NOFOLLOW attribute
Robots exclusion

These tasks describe actions relating to linked to technology and the way the website operates: Technical Architecture actions should not, in any way, influence how Information Architecture is done.

The design of all websites should be user-oriented through Information Architecture decisions and, only then, should Technical Architecture techniques be applied to optimise the site. Technical Architecture is concerned with implementation of the system and that can be achieved without knowing anything about the information and content of the site.

In summary, to ensure you create a successful website with search engine friendly characteristics, first use a combination of effective information architecture hand-in-hand with corresponding technical architecture.