For first-time SEOs and small business owners, a proper content information architecture is one of the most difficult things to get right.
A website with poorly constructed IA will have trouble ranking in Google for competitive words that have monthly search volumes that range anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000+ searches per month and will often have difficulty converting people into sales.
I will teach you how to take your website in any industry and create a solid information architecture so your website is optimally constructed for SEO. Good IA is crucial for ranking your website in Google for competitive single word searches. Bad IA makes you work 100 times harder to achieve decent website visibility and unfortunately, costs a LOT of money to fix it.
Some examples of websites with poor SEO information architecture include: Lindt Chocolate and HTC while decent examples include Bacardi Rum and Volkswagen of America. Neither Lindt nor HTC are visible on page one of Google for “chocolate, cell phones or smartphone accessories.”
However, Bacardi ranks for “rum” while Volkswagen doesn’t rank for any high volume non-branded terms and I will show you why in the subsequent versions of this content architecture series.
Planned Content Series
- Lindt Information Architecture Pros & Cons
- Reconstructing the Lindt Information Architecture
- Internal Linking Strategy for Optimal SEO Benefits
- Deconstructing the Bacardi Information Architecture
- Technical SEO Implications of Volkswagen’s Information Architecture
To start, let’s take a look at how Lindt Chocolate is organized.
There are 21 different chocolate category pages in their primary navigation but the content taxonomy is all over the place. There are “chocolate specialties” and there are “European specialties.”
What’s the difference between the two? As a search engine, I would have trouble distinguishing between both categories. I might surmise that “chocolate specialties” contain chocolate while “European specialties” contain no chocolate.
Why is there a category called “Summer Fruits?” The category is misleading because as a consumer and a search engine, I’d assume that it contains “dried fruits” and not “chocolates” filled with fruits.
Let’s click on “Summer Fruits” and analyze the bread crumb trail. A website with great information architecture will also have a great bread crumb trail since the bread crumb trail mirrors the website architecture. A good bread crumb trail helps provide important topically focused links to specific category pages which in turn, leads to higher visibility for those target keyphrases.
The Lindt bread crumb trail shown above follows thus: Home > Chocolates > Summer Chocolates > Summer Fruits
Let’s look at the search volume for each term with the Google Keyword Planner and analyze its intent to see whether or not Lindt has the right to rank for these terms:
- 368,000 searches per month
- Google “Home” and nothing about chocolates come up
- Doesn’t have the right to win on this term
- 8,100 searches per month
- This is a good category except the singular form of chocolates has 135,000 searches per month
- Has the right to win on this term
Does Lindt want visibility for “chocolates” plural or “chocolate” singular?
- 20 searches per month
- Google “Summer Chocolate” singular and the search engine results page (SERPs) are mostly about chocolate mimosa trees but Google “Summer Chocolates” plural and you get “chocolates” like the candy
- Doesn’t have the right to win on singular form
Does Lindt want to rank for “trees” or “chocolates?” This might be a careless mistake on the creative agency’s part that could have easily been fixed if a little research was done.
- 880 searches per month
- Google “Summer Fruits” and nothing about chocolate shows up in the first ten pages
- The SERPs contain information about fruits and vegetables grown in the summer
- Doesn’t have the right to win on this term
Let’s analyze another category in Lindt’s primary navigation like “Bulk & Volume” and “Baking” and the “Gift category.
Why does Lindt sell chocolates in bulk for hotels and chocolate baking products on its consumer facing website? The answer lies in a profit model called the “Pyramid.”
There are potentially five or more consumers that Lindt wants to target:
- Impulse buyers who purchase chocolate bars for on the go consumption
- Buyers who get a bag or small quantity of luxury chocolates to enjoy at home
- People who purchase premium chocolates as gifts for special occasions
- Mass quantity buyers like caterers, restaurants, hotels and corporate businesses
- People who like to bake
Premium chocolates for the average buyer cost about $1o to $30 but imitators can come in below you. So Lindt builds a firewall of sorts. They create a $5 chocolate bar to help seal off that space. It’s barely profitable but it prevents other chocolate companies from establishing a connection with their customers.
People who usually buy $5 chocolate bars will eventually move up the ladder and purchase other more expensive chocolate products like truffles which cost $10 to $30. Now, looking hard, Lindt probably saw an opportunity for a $75 to $100 chocolate product like a chocolate gift basket.
Would your average consumer purchase these higher end chocolate products? Probably not but if your customer wanted a house warming gift or an anniversary present for their loved ones then they might purchase these particular chocolates.
And finally, at the very top of the pyramid, there are $130 to $250 Lindt products, which are being catered to another demographic. As you can see, there is actually a method to the madness that makes up Lindt’s content taxonomy but the website could have been constructed a lot better to make this system work online in Search.
In the part two of this post, I will teach you how to construct an SEO optimized content architecture that will play nicely with Lindt while helping boost the search visibility for this website.
As you’ve seen, it incorporates SEO, Information Architecture, Pricing knowledge and Marketing Strategy. A holistic approach which incorporates deep consumer knowledge is key to succeeding in competitive markets.
Has anyone here done an information architecture before? What were some things that went through your mind when you analyzed your websites or created your information architecture? Please let me know in the comments.