People usually have a reason for visiting a site, whether they found it in relevant search results or clicked on a link from another website. Whether or not the site is successful in meeting the visitors needs on any particular visit is strongly contingent on how well the content is organised and presented to the visitor. Google has a hand in this exchange as well, since their search results are often the primary method people use to find websites to meet their needs at any particular occasion. In order to remain the dominant search engine Google do everything in their power to provide users with the best and most relevant search results every time. Therefore Google rewards sites with pages highly relevant to certain search terms, amongst many other factors, with higher rankings under the search results of those search terms. Hence webmasters must ensure their content is organised throughout their website in ways that are both beneficial to their SEO strategy as well as their user experience.
To do so, it is worth getting to grips with the five major types of information categorisation and how they apply to SEO and user experience, as well as the goals and purpose of any website with a focus on ecommerce sites.
The purpose of any ecommerce site is sales, which is a process of a series of stages people go through prior to the actual purchase itself, known as the purchase funnel. This process can also apply to other organisations, such as NGOs, where the purpose of their site could be donations, or email newsletter subscription. The stages of the purchase decision process in chronological order are:
- Awareness is where the person becomes aware of the existence of the product or service category.
- Interest is where the person becomes actively interested in the product or service category by conducting further research.
- Consideration is where the person narrows down their options to a small and specific set of products or services by a specific set of brands they are interested in purchasing. During this stage they evaluate the pros and cons of each option.
- Action or purchase is the actual act of making the purchase
- Loyalty or retention refers to how likely the customer is to make a repeat purchase in the future as well as the likelihood of recommending the product or service to family and friends.
The length of time it takes for a person to go through each stage is highly dependent on the level of involvement, importance and price of the product or service being considered where a pair of shoes can take an hour while a car can take months, if not years.
The success or failure of any ecommerce site is highly dependent on how well the purchase funnel is applied to the structure of their site and how well this ties into their SEO strategy. People use different search terms at each stage of the purchase funnel to meet their differing needs. For instance, a person looking into buying an electric car may use that exact term, “electric cars” in the interest stage, however once they move down the funnel into the consideration stage, they are likely to use terms like “Nissan leaf” and “Tesla model s”. Therefore following on from this example, an electric car sales site should have a landing page, which broadly describes the benefits of electric cars with ‘soft’ references to their available options, with additional landing pages for each model. Finally, this site should have a landing page for action stage keywords, such as “buy Tesla model s” with strong calls to action.
As you can imagine, following this process and restructuring a site based on the purchase funnel and interrelated SEO strategy is not only a lot of work but will result in a site with a multitude of landing pages, which must be organised on a coherent fashion. Paradox SEO, our online SEO service can help you with this and more. There are five major types of information classification which are described briefly below:
- Location is relevant for content that relates to physical locations, such as hotels. These pages can also include travel directions.
- Alphabet categorisation is somewhat out-dated in the online space only to be succeeded by site search functionality. It may be relevant when organising landing pages referring to specific names, for instance location names, or baby names.
- Category organisation simply requires similar content to be clustered together, which is relevant for sites that contain a wide variety of content, products or services.
- Time categorisation is relevant in situations where chronological order is important, such as for blog and news sites.
- Continuum categorisation is utilised when comparing information based on a common metric or aspect. This can be applied to site search functionality or pages that list the best, worst, biggest, smallest and so on. For example, the top 10 tourist destinations in Amsterdam.
These methods of content categorisation can be intermeshed with each other as well as hierarchical parent-child information organisation structures, such as tree, nest and stair structures. Tree structures are often seen in drop-down menus and although fine for most sites, can be cumbersome and difficult to change where children have more than one parent. Nest structures are where the child pages sit within the parent page and therefore are not recommended. Stair structures are like tree structures but child pages link to other related child pages.
The combination of categorisation options employed by any site is largely dependent on the type of site, its intended purpose and if that purpose is sales, then the employment of the purchase funnel and its integration into the SEO strategy. We recommend that you employ a variety of categorisation methods to both achieve SEO success and provide visitors with the best user experience possible.