victory_speed - 3:21 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)
Thanks for all your replies, your advice has nicely filled in some gaps in my knowledge and slightly altered my approach to the matters at hand.
make a study more on link building. Utilize the uniqueness in you. Refer link building oriented articles in net. Press release, classifieds, bookmarking, article submissions are some of them.
I appreciate your answer, but as someone else stated, this is somewhat not really my question. In regards to my target market, they are very much like me: they either know what they want, usually already know the part number, or they do a general category search that encompases/surrounds the parts they are looking for. Hence I'm looking to become indexed for both the specific part description/part number and common search phrases related to that.
My experience is that when these parts are out there in online shops, the items are not catalogued or indexed well and so are very hard to find. Mainly from what I can see it is about poor site layout AND a technical structure that would not SEO well. In this regard I believe my competitors are easily beatable to the top spots in organic search engine ranking for given items and categories my focus is on.
Take this following example... I have an acquaintance in Holland who makes specifically only custom motorcycle parts for yamaha xjr1300. His website is not technically structured correctly and he does not rank on the first four pages of google for the phrase "xjr1300 custom parts" and yet his website is about nothing else but that AND he has virtually no competition for his product. Indeed many less relevant websites rank above him. Something I could not tolerate if I were him. All his business has to come through word of mouth, no-one would find his site in organic search results. Crazy but true.
The days of example.com/parts/bike-parts/motor-cycle-parts/acme-corp/pro-range/pedals/model-3012.html
should be over.
Put the product on
and link to it from
I could accept that perspective except for one minor matter which is that I want to be ranked for certain sub category search phrases such as "Yamaha xjr1300 engine parts" is a very common phrase that I search for so do other customers I have both market and keyword researched.
A page name such as Yamaha-xjr1300-engine-parts-another-ten-words-in-the-url-plus-the-part-number.html makes no logical sense to me HOWEVER, I am trying to get my head around maybe that doing it that way could be better, I need to think about that a little more.
Welcome to WebmasterWorld Victor!
While Luibokoretti's ideas might help with promotion, they have little to do with your actual question.
Thanks for the welcome and true perhaps of those PP comments but I still welcome input from all perspectives.
Now that I have joined this forum I hope I can contribute valuable input for others too.
I don't think URL structure is that important for usability - most studies I've seen show that the vast majority of users never attempt to edit a URL. All of us geeks here do it every day, but studies of regular users show that in most studies they don't see a single user navigate by editing URLs.
That said, I do think of it as an added breadcrumb for the savviest users, and of course it supplies a relevancy signal for the search engines, so I think it still has value to get it right, just that its *usability* value is limited. So I would think of that more in terms of SEO than usability, though others might differ in that opinion.
The bread crumb idea and the linking and file/folder hierarchical structure is primary in my thought. We organize folders and files like that on our computer (at least I think most of us do?) and I believe Windows has has trained our minds to carry that same relevance over into expectation of our web browsing experience, but I have not seen research to back this up, it is only summation on my behalf. FURTHER COMMENT SOUGHT.
Sort of an aside and it also doesn't really make a difference, but if you're thinking about URL structure from the ground up, I'd drop the .html - serves no purpose and just complicates things if you change technologies.
Considering that a lot of my pages are structured from an assembly of various .shtml files, I need to get my head around how that would become affected.
Back to the question at hand, there are a couple of things that I might think about.
1. Include some type of search. This looks like it could be a large catalog and, users these days expect some sort of site search. It's a primary navigation on mega sites like Amazon. The simplest thing is to include a Google custom search widget.
2. Search is fine, but search forms are, of course, not crawlable and some users will want to drill down. So clearly you need a good navigational structure that is usable to both search engine spiders and users. So the "solid internal linking structure" you mention is key for the SE, but search engines and users still have somewhat different needs (e.g. SEs can digest larger sets of randomly ordered links than a human can).
I will include the search function now you mention it, have used it before and will add it in.
My site has no fancy java scripted bouncy drop down menus. Like a true parts book, the index page to each sub-section has a vertical list of clickable links in the main content area as the index to what is on the next level down. Each sub-category index page follows the same theme. Links at the bottom of the page can easily return the user from where they came. Part of this philosophy comes from what I believe my potential customers are used to - parts books (who like me are mechanic types).
Also I've tried to make it as easy as possible for mobile device users. The template fluidly collapses into a single column vertical layout on small screens devices such as smart phones.
Old rules of thumb, taken out of original context and applied too mechanically, commonly resulted in advice that said for human users you needed to keep things within two hops of the front page and present lists of no more than seven items, but these old rules are poor guidelines to apply too broadly for several reasons.
- most users won't land on your home page anyway, so it's key to think about how they'll get from the page they land on to the page they want - it sounds like you have a plan there already with the solid internal linking
- the size list that a human will digest will depend on a lot of factors. For example, if we're looking for something specific and are presented with an alphabetical list, the number of choices can grow dramatically beyond seven without negatively affecting usability.
- most importantly, it has been demonstrated that you can take users through many clicks - far, far more than two - as long as the "information scent" is strong. They just need to know they are getting closer to their goal at a reasonable pace.
So you have to balance the size of your link listings with the strength of information scent when you're building out navigation for a large number of items that you want hard-linked through your navigation structure.
....I guess what I'm trying to say is to think not just in terms of URL structure and link structure in the abstract, but to also pay attention to the visual presentation of that internal link structure and making sure that your navigation lists are digestible (using logical and immediately obvious organization principle on longer lists, such as alphabetizing) and provide scent (for example breadcrumbs, so that when someone lands on an internal page, she can see immediately where she is in the hierarchy, how far along the path she is and so forth).
Agreed, that's why I've kept the "parts book" structure firmly in my focus - logical and pragmatic. I just think it doesn't get any simpler or easy to follow than that.
I don't know if that's helpful in any way, or just obvious, but perhaps it will at least get some discussion rolling.
Thanks for so much of your time and advice to a first time poster to this forum.
I recently looked for a silencer box for my car and what I found most helpful was only present on 1 or 2 of hundreds of sites, an exploded view diagram.
Unless the part description or number is known it can be very difficult, without drilling down, to find what you want.
Just a thought. Welcome and good luck, victor!
"exploded view diagram." - brilliant - I have had to resort to the same many times when trying to buy a replacement part.
Great idea, I have PDF exploded views of pretty much everything I have to list so I will move forward on that idea, I just need to work on my technical ability to include them into the site.
Thanks to all of you for your insight, help and advice.