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    SeoMio Services : Navigation & Architecture Elements


All websites have Information Architecture, just as all buildings have architecture, and all website projects can benefit from the professional information architecture services offered by SeoMio.

Our information architects are highly skilled individuals who will look at your business needs, your users' needs and what technology can offer, then create a blueprint for how to organize your website to meet those needs. .

Website navigation design is one of the most important aspects of web information architecture. In the same way that a building may fail because the lift doesn't work, the windows won't open or the maze of corridors are badly sign-posted, a website may lack any intelligible organization and frustrate users' attempts to navigate through it. They may be unable to find the product they need, unable to locate a report or become lost inside an online shopping cart. A successful website provides logical structures that help users find the information that they are looking for and complete their tasks with ease.

Information architects are often faced with complex requirements, competing goals and high levels of ambiguity. Their task is to derive order from the chaos and reconcile the need for stability with the values of flexibility and scalability.

Information architecture starts with usability; looking in detail at users and their information needs. What are their information seeking behaviors? These needs and behaviors can vary greatly. There is no goal more important than to satisfy users' needs. Modeling what happens when users look for information forces us to ask useful questions about what kind of information the user wants, how much information is enough, and how the user actually interacts with the architecture.

Web site architecture is something we feel has been poorly addressed by search engine marketers. Reason? Many search engine marketers ONLY specialize in search engine advertising, or they ONLY specialize in search engine optimization. They do not create user-friendly Web sites for a living. They do not perform usability tests on page layout, site designs, and navigation schemes. SeoMio does.

Unlike SeoMio, many search engine marketers merely repeat statements from other designers or usability professionals. They often select statements that will support their form of search marketing. In fact, some popular conference speakers with little or no HTML experience commonly make authoritative statements about Web site architecture. How can a person dispense advice about HTML when that person cannot even code himself?

How directories are set up on your server

As a general rule, pages closest to the root directory are considered the most important pages on your Web site.

The two most important documents that belong in the root directory are your home page, commonly named index.html, and the Robots Exclusion Protocol, commonly named robots.txt.

SeoMio puts the most important pages of your Web site at the root level. By using this strategy, we are communicating to both the search engines and site visitors that the most important pages on your site ARE important.

If you have a B2B Web site, the URL of the root level services page will look like the following:

http://www.yourdomain.com/services.html

As a general rule, we try to keep the first 200 pages at the root directory. That number is our personal preference. Other search engine marketers, Web developers, and usability experts might recommend different numbers. Ultimately, you will determine what number is the most manageable for your company.

Site navigation scheme

Some site navigation schemes are more spider-friendly than others. For example, a set of navigation buttons is often more spider-friendly than a DHTML pull-down menu. And a set of hypertext links is often more spider-friendly than a set of navigation buttons.

Does this mean that we recommend only using hypertext links for a Web site design? Absolutely not.

When SeoMio creates navigation schemes, we create them for use by site visitors. Visitors are the ones who will be spending thousands or millions of dollars on your products and services, not search engine spiders. Through focus groups and usability testing, we can easily determine what types of navigation schemes visitors prefer - a text-based or graphics-based one. Quite often, visitors will not prefer one type of navigation scheme over the other.

Be careful when taking advice from other search engine marketers on this topic. They are often more concerned with spider-friendliness than user-friendliness. In order for a Web site to be successful, first and foremost, it needs to satisfy your target audience.

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