In part one, I briefly took apart Lindt Chocolate’s information architecture and shared the pros and cons for different items in their primary navigation and showed why it was ineffective for SEO despite their best intentions.
Today, I am going to take you step by step through the marketing driven SEO information architecture. For the purpose of this post, I will create a potential information architecture for a single Lindt consumer demographic.
At the end of this blog post, you will be able to create a solid foundation to help rank your website in competitive spaces.
Step One: Study the website carefully
Make a note of every single page on the site. Look at each category page and look to see how the page URLs are currently structured. Look at the HTML sitemap for additional insights about the content.
Are product included in the HTML sitemap or does the sitemap contain only product categories? What about the site footer? What categories do you see? Is it corporate information or does it include “chocolate” related information?
Does the website have an “about” section? Lindt has a “Story of Lindt” page (shown below). Study it carefully. Read every single thing about the company. The goal is to assimilate as much information about the company as much as possible so it becomes easier to put yourself in the shoes of their customer.
Step Two: Check how many pages are on the website
Download the XML sitemap from http://www.websitename.com/sitemap.xml. Press CTRL+F and type in </loc>. This will tell you how many pages are on your website across all product categories. Check for duplicate content pages in different categories.
For example, when I looked at the Lindt XML sitemap and run the </loc> command, I see 1,243 webpages on Lindt but I immediately became suspicious because I don’t believe that Lindt has at least a 1,000 different chocolate products because they are a premium product. Luxury products by their very definition are supposed to be “scarce.”
Take a look below. Do the URLs lead to the same product or are the URLs unique products with different value propositions?
When I look at the URLs above, I notice that this particular product is organized by the following categories:
- Couverture (shown below)
Step Three: Revisit the website
Are there any other core categories that you might have missed? What are other chocolate attributes would I consider if I were to purchase a luxury chocolate product?
- Country of Production
- Bean Type & Source Location
- Chocolate Type
- Size and/or Quantity
Step Four: Put all the categories on a sheet of paper and evaluate all of them
If you were the target consumer, would any of the below-mentioned categories factor into your mind if you had to decide whether or not to purchase it? Why or why not?
- Brand – Creates perceived quality
- Shape – Chocolate bars vs truffles or rabbits
- Color – Dark vs milk vs white
- Gift – Not a chocolate attribute, however it represents another profit channel
- Price – Influences perceived “luxury”
- Couverture – Another profit channel like the “Gift” category
- Smell – Indicates “freshness”
- Filling – Fruits vs caramel vs hazelnut
- Texture – Smooth vs creamy vs coarse
- Ingredients – Necessary to help avoid potential food allergies
- Country – European chocolates vs Indian chocolates vs Russian chocolates
- Bean Type & Source Location – Forastero vs Criollo & Venezuela vs Ivory Coast
- Chocolate Type – Truffle vs Nougat vs Mozartkugeln
- Size and/or Quantity – Influences price perception
- History – Anyone know who invented the Nougat?
Step Five: Create the taxonomy
Start with the highest category then work your way down the list. It takes time to get this process right. It usually takes me anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to figure out the full taxonomy for a website.
For a chocolate brand like Lindt, several potential information architectures may appear to exist for a single consumer demographic.
If we organize it by brand, it is difficult to rank for ALL chocolate related competitive queries like “chocolate, truffles and chocolate bars.”
This occurs because a hierarchical relationship does not exist between the brand name and each target chocolate keyphrases (please see below):
- Gift Box
- 99% Cocoa
- 90% Cocoa
- 85% Cocoa
- 70% Cocoa
- Lindt Gold Bunny
- Easter Bunny OR Chocolate Bunny
- Salted Caramel
- Dark Chocolate Cookie
- Crunch Nougat
- Strawberry Cheesecake
However, if we organize the content from a linguistic standpoint, you will find that only one structure exists and that this structure is the most optimal for high rankings because it establishes the semantic relationship between words and sends the correct topical signals via bread crumb trails.
- Milk Chocolate
- Caramel Lindor Truffles 75 pieces
- Raspberry Lindor Truffles 75 pieces
- Sea Salt Lindor Truffles 75 pieces
- Gift Boxes
- Dark Chocolate
- 99% Cocoa
- 90% Cocoa
- 85% Cocoa
- White Chocolate
- White Lindor Truffles 75 pieces
- Milk Chocolate
In utilizing the above-mentioned format, we can rank for all chocolate related keyphrases. Some product categories like chocolate “shapes” overlap with chocolate “types” but there are no URL duplicates because each product exists in only one place.
To help with user experience, each pertinent section can include a facet navigation that incorporates categories from step four but care should be taken so the navigation does not create duplicate URLs or new URLs whenever the filter is selected.
Additionally, take a look at our bread crumb trail now for the 75 piece White Lindor Truffles:
Chocolate > White Chocolate > Truffles > Lindor > White Lindor Truffles 75 pieces
Home > Chocolates > Lindor Truffles > White Lindor Truffles 75 pieces
Looks pretty optimized doesn’t it? Notice how each word for the optimized bread crumb trail is a component of the previous word? That is one of the ways you can look at a site architecture and know whether or not it is optimal for SEO.
Pro Tip: If you want to take it further, I suggest using the Google Keyword planner tool to pull out the search volume for each term. You would also check the SERP results for each term to make sure that you have the right to win on them like the tree vs chocolate example in the previous post.
That’s it folks. This is how you build a basic SEO optimized Information Architecture for Lindt. Take a stab at IA on your websites and let me know if you have any questions in the comments or need help.