Wel­come to Infor­ma­tion Archi­tec­ture live from Pub­Con Las Vegas.

Infor­ma­tion Archi­tec­ture is the bedrock of web devel­op­ment — so very basic that it often gets left on “default” while the graph­ics depart­ment dives into mak­ing things look pret­ty. But choos­ing and label­ing the buck­ets for your web con­tent can be the hid­den “make or break” fac­tor. This Spot­light Ses­sion focus­es on how to tap IA pow­er for your web ven­ture. Then we’ll take it to the next lev­el and sort out how plat­form and CMS deci­sions impact devel­op­ment, main­te­nance, and even search engine suc­cess.

Ted Ulle
Senior Search Ana­lyst,
Con­verseon, Inc.

Aaron Kro­nis
SEO Evan­ge­list ,
Wpro­mote Inc

Ted is up first….

Mouseover menus imi­tate a GUI designed for an appli­ca­tion.
— Appli­ca­tion vis­i­tors need intu­itive GUI.

Don’t use hov­er as a crutch!

How do you do food at a din­ner par­ty?
— What you don’t do is say every­body raid the fridge.

Where is infor­ma­tion users are look­ing for?

  • Cat­e­gories are often from some com­pa­ny mind­set not a user mind­set.

  • Hov­ers mean vis­i­tors can­not see and com­pare all the options at once.

    • Hov­er menues hide impor­tant infor­ma­tion

Fac­tors to Weigh:
— Mar­ket­ing pur­pos­es
— Ease of use

Temp­ta­tions to avoid:
— orga­nized like the com­pa­ny
— orga­nized like a print cat­a­log
— orga­nized by a con­tent own­er
— anyone’s pet ideas

Make IA for the vis­i­tor, NOT for the Com­pa­ny
— Users won’t learn your inter­nal orga­ni­za­tion

FORGET the “3-Click Rule”
— Think “Infor­ma­tion Scent”

The Per­ils of Hov­er­ing

First Impres­sions
— I can deal with this
— This looks inter­est­ing

When cre­at­ing an infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture the most inter­est­ing thing is num­ber 7.  Keep­ing menus to less than 7 options is crit­i­cal.  7 choic­es gives you 21 dif­fer­ent com­par­i­sions.

The Card Sort:

Step one cre­ate your own unsort­ed pile of con­tent using the cards with one piece of infor­ma­tion per card.
— Even­tu­al­ly you’ll include key­word research BUT NOT NOW
— Try sev­er­al times sort, revise, sort

When cards are orga­nized, bring in 3rd par­ties and assign “find this” tasks.

Every­thing doesn’t need to be in the main nav
— util­i­ty nav
— fea­ture nav
— foot­er nav
— remove hov­er menu

Hov­er menu removal dou­bles page views.

You’ll find com­pa­ny folks want hov­er navs but remov­ing them can increase rev­enue by 46% as Ted illus­trates via case study.

Again 7

With the right infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture your entire site becomes a con­ver­sion fun­nel.

Ted sug­gests O’Reilly “Infor­ma­tion Archi­tec­ture for the world wide web” & WebMasterWorld.com info on IA for small sites.

Thanks at @tedulle

(Q&A split into two dif­fer­ent parts because Aaron is going to dis­cuss a dif­fer­ent top­ic so Ted is tak­ing ques­tions now..)

Up next Aaron….

— smooth infor­ma­tion flow
— allow users to access con­tent quick­ly
— min­i­mize deci­sions

When do you add SEO?
SEO should begin at the start of the IA process
— In many cas­es there is no IA

Why start out wrong?
— avoid noise in URLs
— Omit words like “the, and, of, in, with”
— Length: use judge­ment, no more than 5–8 words

Under­stand who is doing what…
— graph­ic design­ers shouldn’t do infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture
— know who is cod­ing the site

SEO Site Strat­e­gy for Nation­al USA Domains

Key­word Analy­sis:
— Can be done at the begin­ning
— Required for domain selec­tion
— Inter­nal link­ing struc­ture
— Avoid hyphens in domain but not root lev­el or below

— Glob­al archi­tec­ture (avoid dupli­cate)
— Key­word analy­sis
Sin­gle Site Strat­e­gy:
Satel­lite sites for coun­try Top Lev­el Domain

.ca .co. .uk .jp

Do URLs mat­ter?
— file names mat­ter

Flat Site Archi­tec­ture
— user expe­ri­ence
— eas­i­er to build

Test­ing / Stag­ing
— peo­ple post sites on anoth­er URL for test­ing which is prob­lem­at­ic for a num­ber of rea­sons.
— be sure to noin­dex

*Opin­ions expressed in live blog posts are those of the pre­sen­ter and not nec­es­sar­i­ly Bri­an Ussery or Search Dis­cov­ery Inc..