Today we’re going to briefly discuss website tiering and how it should affect the workflow of your SEO campaign as well as keyword funneling. Organizing your SEO workflow from the beginning can help your site succeed. SEO Design solutions wrote a great article on Tiered Navigation and Link Structure, and their methodology fits nicely into how I’ve approached the optimization of several websites in the past.
An excerpt from their article:
[su_quote]Each page acts like a hub (a place where others can enter or leave) which to a search engine is represented by a combination of (1) the on page factors which comprise the content on the page (2) the site and page reputation and (3) the off page or inbound link / reputation of the page aggregated into a compound signature / effect.[/su_quote]
Now their article is more heavily based around the idea of having well-organized internal link structures, whereas my intention is more about helping you understand the relationships between your site’s pages and how to approach your site’s SEO with a workflow that makes sense (and maximizes impact).
I operate under the following philosophy. Generally speaking, your homepage is your most powerful and authoritative page. After that, it is likely that pages closer to your homepage (in terms of clicks away) will have more relative authority and ranking ability, and pages farther away will have less.
This means that it often makes more sense to work from the top-down: so homepage, followed by next in order of relative importance, and so-on-and-so-forth.
Now this isn’t always the case:
- Sometimes you’ll create pages that just POP in the search results for one reason or another.
- Non-important pages like privacy policies and TOS pages are usually close in relation to the homepage, but have little or no value in search rankings.
But generally, I’ve found my philosophy to work out pretty well.
Tiering of Your Website
I usually start my campaign by tiering out a website. Below are a couple ways you can do it:
- Tier #1 = Homepage
- Tier #2 = Relevant Top-Level Navigation
- Tier #3 = Selected Highly-Relevant Pages
- Tier #4 = All Other Pages
- Tier #0 = Homepage
- Tier #1 = 1 click away from homepage
- Tier #2 = 2 clicks away from homepage
- Tier #3 = 2 clicks away from homepage
- etc etc etc.
SEO Workflow & Keyword Funneling
The basic principle is that you want to try to focus on pages that have the potential to draw the most traffic first (which are usually the higher pages closer in relation to the homepage).
Tier #1 Page: This is the homepage. Your site’s homepage should be the most authoritative page on your site and is usually capable of pulling the most traffic. However, the traffic coming to your homepage is usually more general in nature and the keywords will often be more broad and less specific – think of it as the top of the keyword funnel.
Increasing traffic to this page should yield more overall conversions even if the conversion rates don’t change. Kind of like buying in bulk (ala Sam’s Club).
Tier #2 Pages: These pages are closer in relation to your homepage (usually top-level navigation, etc) and can feed off of some of the authority passed down from your homepage. These pages are usually more specific in nature, but still have the ability to pull general traffic.
A good example: Think of a products & services page.
Tier #3 Pages: In my opinion, this tier can potentially be the most meaningful work you will do. I classify Tier #3 pages as not top-level navigation page, but pages that I deem as important to the site’s overall SEO. These pages are farther away from the homepage, making them far more specific in nature. These pages tend to pull traffic from keywords of a long-tailed nature, making them more likely to covert. However, while the conversion rates can be high, they may not pull traffic on the scale of a Tier #1 or #2 page.
A good example: If Tier #2 is a products & services page, then this page would be the one detailing each specific product or service. Think “Products and Services > Search Engine Optimization Consulting”
This is not to say that Tier #4 pages aren’t that important because they are (and they may be some of your best converters), but when you put them in perspective with the whole website it is usually smarter to work on them a little later in the game.
I’m definitely a proponent of the “Work Smart, Not Hard” mentality, and I think that by working on the high impact pages first you’ll be able to see good results in a far more timely fashion.
Image credit: Superb Wallpapers