In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we started our journey toward identifying the elements for building an information-rich site that serves both users and search engines with the elements that provide top keyword rankings. Part 1 was focused on Subject Theming, emphasizing the importance of building a keyword-rich "siloed" themed Web site, while Part 2 talked about the grouping of site content within its folder and directory structure and the importance of the site’s link structure.
Again, you will recall that we used the Heifer International Web site as our example. To review, Heifer International's mission statement envisions a world of people living together in peace and harmony by sharing resources. Heifer fulfills its mission by enabling communities to receive livestock from donations around the world, teaching communities to care for the animals and pay forward the gifts to surrounding communities. An evaluation of Heifer’s current website provides many opportunities to organize its content into themed silos. Now, to our discussion of keyword rich content and the importance of providing a site map.
Segment 4. Keyword Rich Content
All content is not equal. There are numerous factors that determine the value or success of how content supports your major subject theme. Evaluate different methods towards determining how your content measures up to your competitors. Learn how to determine the originality of the content on your site. You should avoid duplicate content at all times. If your competitors, affiliates or anyone else reuses your content be aware that this will negatively effect how much credit search engines give to your content. This applies to many content formats from on page content borrowed from company brochures to informative articles or .PDF files that reside on your site. Determine whether spiders can access the content that is displayed or whether it is formatted in such a way that it is virtually ignored. Use these same tips and tools to determine how your competition measures up. Learn the necessary steps to deciding whether you need to add content as well as the strategy for writing keyword-rich content that supports your theme.
Diagram 7: CopyScape
Segment 5. Site Maps, Sitemaps
Having a site map on the root directory has long been of central importance to helping to search engines identify all the major sections of your Web site. Now Google, Yahoo and MSN have upped the stakes with the new sitemaps.xml standard, which is a XML version of the site map that you are advised to place within the root directory. Instead of having to change the HTML file by hand, you can just run a free tool and it will spider your site and spit out what it thinks is the logical structure of your site in the form of a site map. Both versions have the potential to serve the search engines in 2 distinct ways. They offer an additional point of access to each page on your site. More importantly they document the physical directory structure on your site. There are strategies within both versions to transparently document, for search engines and users, the distinct chapters or subjects that comprise the sum of all the pages on your site. This structure of links should provide support to your major subject theme. It may become clear that after reviewing your current site map that your site is not as organized as well as you might have previously thought. Learn to use site maps to illustrate how organize the content on your site and format the new XML Sitemaps to best serve your site's subject relevance.
Diagram 8: Site Maps
We hope the information and examples presented in this three-part series will enable you to build an information-rich site that serves both users and search engines while achieving top keyword rankings.
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Bradley Leese is a Senior SEO Analyst for Bruce Clay, Inc., an internet marketing firm specializing in organic search engine optimization.
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