The Importance Of Information Architecture
While exceptional content alongside a strong backlink profile will dramatically help with your website’s SEO, people often overlook the performance and layout of the website itself. For a user to navigate your site with ease, pages and content needs to be in a layout that is logical and allows them to locate any information that they’re interested in. As a result, it’s paramount that your website has outstanding Information Architecture (IA). If your users are able to understand the structure of your website, there’s a strong possibility that Google will too. This will then significantly increase your ranking in search engine listings. To help you understand this concept in more detail, we’re going to take you through what IA is, and why it’s crucial for your website.
Navigation & Hierarchy Creation
Firstly, without a seamless navigation system on your website, it would be impossible for Google to crawl it completely and understand what you’re offering. Essentially, navigation is concerned about the way your website is displayed to the user and how accessible content is for them. Outstanding navigation systems will guarantee your visitor high-quality UX, an area in which many mistakes are made within all industries.
Furthermore, your hierarchy needs to be created in a logical way, to ensure that pages flow into each other and that the connection between them makes sense, almost like a flow chart. An easy example of this would be to look at the ‘services’ page on your navigation menu. If it has a drop down, the user would expect to see a group of different services that your organisation offers, making their experience on your site more enjoyable and ultimately improving your SEO. However, let’s say that you have your ‘about us’ section below the ‘services’ – the navigation would simply make no sense, meaning any visitors will need to work harder to find the information that they’re looking for. Of course, all of these entities do work individually, but it’s the logical interaction made between them that makes the site operate at a higher standard. It is therefore important to consider whether you are redesigning a site or beginning a business venture.
To put it simply, a wireframe is a plain, greyscale layout that will dictate how the web page will look, outlining the placement of all page elements, including images, content etc. They lack colour or images purely because their purpose is to allow the information architect to understand how the site will be structured and whether it makes sense or not. As a result, by using wireframing as part of your web page structure, you’ll be able to communicate to visitors more effectively about the features on your website and how they function. This will then help to ensure that you have a website that is easy to navigate for the user, thus improving user experience.
Wireframing the site you are designing is beneficial as it will help the design team have a clear layout of what you want the site to look like as well as how you would like it to operate. This will also help to ensure that all elements are included in your final website and that the design process does not become confusing.
However, not every wireframe is perfect. In fact, the information architect will often adjust it and remove features that may not have made sense in order to improve it. Naturally, the purpose of a wireframe is to ensure that the usability of your site is a priority. By drawing them out early within the construction stages of your website, you can identify any possible flaws and then connect elements that would make sense to ensure that the usability is perfect. This wireframe technique is the best way to lay the foundation of your site to best suit the user and the outline that you require.
We often hear that ‘Content is King’, and this is because it delves into almost all aspects of your SEO, including the information architecture. Once you’ve managed to ace your site’s structure, you then need to decide whether the content placed on your site makes sense and is relevant to your target audience. If someone clicks onto your ‘FAQ’ page, they would expect to see the common ‘Q&A’ format on the page. Header tags will involve questions, and the text proceeding it will have a clear and concise answer in order to give the user exactly what they are looking for. When people place a large focus on their information architecture, they often forget about the crucial role that content plays. As important as the navigation and structure of your site is, this would be pointless if the content on your site was illogical.
No matter what industry you operate in, the chances are you will be under pressure from a range of competitors. However, not everyone is savvy when it comes to their website’s information architecture, and consequently you can gain a competitive advantage over these other organisations. When a potential customer visits your site in order to purchase a product or service, they’ll want to do so with as minimal effort as possible. If your site proves difficult to navigate, and the structure makes it laborious for them to actually locate the information they’re looking for, they’ll feel more inclined to search elsewhere for their solution.
Therefore, optimising your user’s experience with effective IA will allow you to retain customers as well as gain new ones, allowing you to not only raise yourself to the top of Google’s search engine, but also to the top of your target market too. This will then help with expanding your brand and ensuring that you meet your monthly targets. Although this may seem like a small addition to the development of your site, it has the potential to earn you significantly more money through successful conversions in the long term.
Ranking highly in Google’s search engines is imperative to build your client base and brand image. However, this is often unachievable with a lack of exceptional IA. If you’d like more information on how to improve your IA, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts on 0800 088 6000 today.