You often hear the words "information architecture" and "site architecture" bandied about, but what do they actually mean? How, and why, does "information" architecture differ from "site" architecture? How do they impact design decisions, and how do they influence search engines? Why don't SEOs (define) talk more about information architecture, how important is it? These questions are fundamental, and knowledge of them is essential to successful SEO campaigns. In fact, information architecture may be the most important factor in on-page SEO, though few SEO practitioners give it much attention.
Well, prepare for that to change at SES Chicago in the session, "Successful Information Architecture," scheduled to take place the week of Dec. 7, 2009. (ClickZ and SES are both part of Incisive Media.)
The panel will feature two leading experts on the topics of information architecture and SEO: Shari Thurow and Kim Krause Berg. While both speakers are experienced SEOs, they are also deeply versed in information architecture, usability, and interface design. This potent blend of experience will lend the panel a unique perspective that goes far beyond typical SEO treatments of the subject.
As is widely understood, search engines interact or "experience" Web sites in at least three major ways: the crawl (discovery), indexation (parsing data and including it in search indices), and ranking (algorithmic functions to ascertain relevance from the indexed data). While there is at least some human involvement on each level (notably ranking and indexation, when necessary), these are largely machine-generated, robotic processes. Therefore, the search engines must be delivered a clear, organized site architecture that takes into account both categorization and accessibility factors, as well as clear labeling and keyword integration that reflects human querying behavior. Sound complicated? It is!
Meanwhile, we need Web sites that are easy to use. Web sites with clear labeling, navigation, and wayfinding points. We need a useful interface that communicates the information available on the website. Easier said than done (and herein lies the art and science of SEO).
This is certainly a complicated topic, but it doesn't have to be. There are best practices that one can follow to ensure a Web site has a crawlable infrastructure. And while duplicate content filters can be problematic, there are certainly steps that can be taken to ensure a Web site is not negatively impacted. These big issues (and more) will be covered in full during the panel.
Topics our session will cover include:
Other topics that will be covered include:
This is going to be a fantastic panel of which I'm thrilled to be a part. With the legendary Peter Morville (one of the founders of the information architecture field) providing the morning's keynote, the pressure will be on our session to deliver the goods. That said, I'm optimistic that we're beginning to see the intersection of information architecture, usability, interface design and search engine optimization. To me, the successful blending of all these fields of expertise represents the future of smart and successful Web sites.
For more reading:
Meet Adam, Shari, and Kimberly at SES Chicago, December 7-9, 2009 at the Hilton Chicago.
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Adam is president of RKG, a data-driven digital marketing agency with leading service and technology solutions in paid search, SEO, display, attribution, social media, and comparison shopping.
Prior to joining RKG, Adam was president and founder of the boutique SEO agency AudetteMedia, which served premier brands including Zappos, Amazon, Gannett, Kroger, HSN, Charming Shoppes, University of Phoenix, Michelin, Wolters-Kluwer, and many others.
Adam has been active in the search marketing industry since the late '90s and is a frequent speaker at premier industry events including SMX and SMX Advanced, Searchfest, SES, BlueGlass, MozCon, and Pubcon.
He has been a regular contributor to Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, and has served as technical editor for Wiley/Sybex publications such as, "SEO: An Hour A Day". You can follow him at @audette.