Plan Your Website Content And Site Structure
With your keyword research completed, you are now ready to plan your website structure and content strategy. Here are a few general guidelines for planning your website architecture:
- Focus on one major keyword phrase per page, plus one or two permutations.
- Your top-level pages (e.g. home page and primary navigation pages) should focus on the more general head keyword phrases. As you drill down into your site, your keywords will become more long tail in nature. Usually, your content will naturally support this keyword strategy as your website content becomes increasingly specific as you go deeper.
- Consider a blog or article section to help reach long-tail keywords over time and expand your universe of rankable keyword phrases.
When planning your site architecture, it’s a good idea to start out with a sitemap. Think of it as an outline of your site in graphical format. I like to use FreeMind, which is a free mind mapping software. Starting with your home page, branch out into the logical components of your website. The competitive research you did earlier should help you identify what type of content you need. For instance, can you get by with just a flat site structure and only a few pages or do you need a blog or forum or video feed? If you’re selling products, make sure you plan for a shopping cart and product detail pages. Do you need any other interactive elements? Now is a good time to plan for all of these things. When you’re finished, you should have a tree that visually represents all the sections of your site. Here are a couple of examples of mind mapping for website architecture (I made these names up, so no relation to real companies):
The first mind map is for a small service-oriented business with a blog.
In this example, we could use our home page and service pages to focus on our primary keywords. Use the blog section to capitalize on long tail keywords and launch link bait, as each category will have multiple posts and grow over time. The next mind map is for a large e-commerce site with thousands of pages. For the sake of space and both our sanities, I only expanded the first product category, but you should get the idea of where this is going. Each category has multiple sub-categories and each sub-category has multiple product detail pages.
Also, you’ll notice that some of the categories may share products (e.g. “holiday” products could also be classified by which body part they stick into) – in this case, it’s important to make sure that only one detail page exists for each product even though the product might be referenced from more than one category (we’ll talk more about duplicate content later). Now that you know how to structure your content, it’s time to make a keyword mapping document. The On-Page SEO section will provide greater detail on how to determine which keywords go where. For now, you need to know that a keyword map is an integral part of your website planning – this is where you determine which keyword phrases each page of your website will focus on.
- Take all the content pages from your mind map and list them in a text document
- For each page, list the primary keyword phrase and secondary phrases that will be the focus of that page
- Using the keyword phrases as a guide, create the URL nomenclature*, title tags and H1 tags for each page