| 10:25 pm on Dec 29, 2008 (gmt 0)|
I've found that it's best, especially with important keywords, to create a directory for each theme and not try to rank the Home Page (or any one single page) for both keywords. Intentionally splitting the focus of a page can lead to all kinds of ranking complications.
It's easier to give the second phrase a dedicated directory, and include a Home Page text link pointing to that directory's index page - especially in the content area. That approach sends clean and distinct relevance signals, and it offers two different urls to attract focused backlinks.
Sometimes with that approach, the home page can end up ranking for both terms anyway - which is its own frustration after developing a substantial focused directory. But that's another story, and much lower level of trouble than not ranking well at all.
| 2:27 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)|
It's interesting that you bring up the directory structure. I've always believe it to be a negative to use directory structure within the URLs. I tend to rely on the majority of my files being in (or looking as if) the base/root directory of the site.
| 10:21 pm on Dec 30, 2008 (gmt 0)|
In the earlier days of search engines, sites that were quite "flat" seemed to perform better. But today, that doesn't seem to be the case. I find that a site's Information Architecture, signalled through both the link structure and the directory structure, can be a big help. The larger a site becomes, the more valuable those separate "themes" or "silos" can be in communicating valuable semantic and relevance information.
| 7:47 pm on Dec 31, 2008 (gmt 0)|
I thought I'd add a bit more. More important than the structure of the URL is this principle - use a different page to target a different phrase. Trying to optimize one page for several purposes can be problematic, although when it happens, it's a happy thing. I find that it's more likely to happen for the home page when there's a link from home page to a page that focuses on the related phrase.
Creating a "directory" structure (whether real or through a url rewrite schema) can help a small bit by getting a new word into the file path of the url. You may also achieve the same result with a flat structure as well - but I find the key is not to intentionally "optimize" one page for more than one phrase. There's a similar principle in some martial arts poses. They minimize the time that both feet are "weighted" to the ground, because double-weightedness can restrict the potential responses.
| 3:41 pm on Jan 2, 2009 (gmt 0)|
In terms of url, directory structures and navigation menus - is it feasible to include some examples that achieve 'best practice' (obviously withour using actual websites)?
| 5:43 pm on Jan 2, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I recently worked with an international site that did a nice job with a redesign and improved their search traffic dramatically. They rewrote their urls to look like this:
The main navigation links to a top level directory style page for brandnames, or product feature or countries, rather than linking to each of the individual pages.
| 12:14 pm on Jan 3, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Somewhat off topic from where this thread started but where it has ended. I have a website that generates a reasonable amount of traffic and sales for Widgets that are largely for the UK and Europe market. I also have another website (that hasn't had as much work done on it - very few incoming links - relatively light content - therefore very light traffic) that provides Widgets for the US market. Both are hosted by the same US company. Both sites are 3+ years old. Should I a) work on promoting the US Widget website with more content and seo as a stand alone website or B) bring the US Widget into my main UK website and add the US market as a directory. The Widgets are essentially the same type of product/service - just in different places.