Taxonomy & SEO – Integrating Perspectives

My last few blog posts on keyword research tips have generated interest from our readers regarding the relationship between the SEO task of keyword research and taxonomy. The purpose of today’s post is to examine the intersection between the two and offer a little advice for reconciling the internal perspective of taxonomy with external internet search.

We can harmonize these perspectives using a data-driven approach to understand the “mental model” of the external searcher.

Taxonomies Drive Information Organization

The purpose of a taxonomy is to define consistent organizing principles for information based on language people use to achieve their goals. (Whether finding a product, executing a task, solving a problem, etc)

Taxonomy terms can standard industry vocabularies, language unique to the organization or even general marketing speak.

Regardless of the context, taxonomies define the preferred terminology along with its synonyms, word stems, variants and relationships to other concepts. These classification schemes are intended to help users locate specifc documents and content as they go about their business.

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SharePoint 2007 – Implementing and Managing Taxonomy

We’ve been doing a lot of work with SharePoint lately so I thought I’d put together a quick post on some approaches to implementing taxonomies in the new version. As you may or may not know, MOSS 2007 (or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server) is quickly becoming the new platform of choice for many organizations. This newer version of the application is being leveraged in the development of corporate Intranets, Extranets and even public facing Internet websites, providing information workers with enhanced collaboration and document management capability.

With the exponential growth of implementations worldwide (MOSS is the fastest growing server product in the history of the company) come greater challenges and opportunities for improving knowledge management and information access within the enterprise. The need for consistent organizing principles across enterprise information is of ever increasing importance and, when done correctly, can result in leaps and bounds in employee productivity.

Before we get to any of the details however, let’s remind ourselves that the purpose of building and maintaining taxonomies is to improve the findability of information by:

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Tips for Conducting Keyword Research – Part 2

In my last post I discussed a process for putting together a broad list of keywords intended to act as the starting point for our keyword research. The purpose of this step was to give us the ability to cast as wide a net as possible in an effort to uncover as much of the language being used by our potential customers when searching for our content, products and/or services online. Doing so not only gives us the opportunity to wisely target the correct keywords, but also lets us craft our content in such a way as to tap into as much into the long tail as possible.

To illustrate, I’ll use the following Top Content report from Google Analytics. As you can see this particular page, although targeted toward a specific set of keywords, generated traffic from an amazing 5,766 unique keyword combinations! This alone demonstrates the power of the long tail in driving significant amounts of traffic to your website.

Google Analytics Top Content Report

Google Analytics Top Content Report

Keep in mind that you don’t want to generate traffic just for traffic’s sake; you want these visitors to do something while on the site, whether it’s to buy your product, fill out a form or contact your company. Web analytics aside, now that we’ve done all the groundwork and assembled our master list of terms, we’re ready to tackle the research part of our keyword research. Continue reading

Tips for Conducting Keyword Research – Part 1

Last week Stephanie wrote about (post) the importance of considering specific facets of search engine optimization in helping taxonomists guide clients in choosing the right keywords. To further that discussion, I thought I’d put together a series of posts to speak in more detail about using keyword research as a tool for determining (or at least being consciously aware of) the language being used by those searching for your content, products and/or services online.

Preparation – Creating Your Master List
The first step in the process is the groundwork. I always allocate a certain amount of time up front to plan and prepare the list of initial keywords to be used as a basis for conducting keyword research. You need to have an inventory of words or phrases to get started, so why not put some thought and effort into generating a solid list to work from. From my perspective, the better the plan, the better the results. So let’s get to it.
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