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Based on a thread I had started a few months ago I decided to layout all articles as HTML pages with a link on the final page as a PDF download. I figured this might be better from a SEO content development standpoint.
I would like to expand on this question a little. Does it matter where on the site the articles are at to get the best SEO bang for the buck? From any page on the site you can click on the articles link, go to that page and click on the article title you want and it takes you to the first page of the article you have chosen.
Strictly speaking from an SEO perspective is this the best layout for articles?
Depending on the amount of content, I'd recommend structuring a hiearchy of keyword-based categories and putting the articles in as individual HTML pages under the appropriate category or subcategory. Link the hottest articles directly from the home page for an extra boost, but don't try to link hundreds that way.
You might consider a CMS like Joomla to manage your articles. It will take longer to set up and learn, but if you post a lot of content is will make publishing new articles faster. You can also set up other author and editor roles so that other people can post but not change the site settings, etc.
I'd recommend structuring a hiearchy of keyword-based categories and putting the articles in as individual HTML pages under the appropriate category or subcategory
Perfect, that was what I was looking for. I did part of that now. I have a page off the home page called "Articles" and on that page I have a listing of the article titles. If you click any of the titles it will take you to the first HTML page of the article.
What I have not done and your suggestion hits on is linking some of the good articles from the home page or aggregating the articles under a common category. Thanks!
Does that make sense? The more targeted you get with your ultimate url structure, the easier it is to finesse your SEO.
What, if anything, does "articles" tell your users? Is it useful at all to include "articles" in the path?
Are your users looking for "articles"?
Or are they looking for: tutorials, more information, details, troubleshooting guides, an in-depth look, application notes, installation hints, etc. etc. etc.?
When I see "articles" on a site, I see a site where somebody read that they have to have x number of articles for SEO purposes. And lots of spider-food. Nothing there for me, though, so I move on.
I'd suggest that if you even have a section called "articles", you likely haven't been thinking too hard about your users needs.
tutorials, more information, details, troubleshooting guides, an in-depth look, application notes, installation hints, etc. etc. etc.?
Thanks for the additional thoughts. It is true I haven't thought about it like that. This will take a little more effort on my part because I have a VERY broad market that really applies to a lot of people and businesses. Trying to figure out a way to group material in a way that would apply to such a broad base might be difficult. I will have to think about that a bit more. However I appreciate the additional insight.
Some examples of these types of articles:
application notes, case studies, field notes, marketing briefs, backgrounders, technology updates, retailer profile
These are all kinds of articles - but do you file them under "article"? Does "article" even mean anything to readers? Or does it actually detract from the familiar terms commonly used within the industry?
These would all be good SEO fodder. And just as good (or perhaps better) if you leave "article" out of the URL path. And, glory be - SEO fodder that is also what users are looking for.
Bottom line - most industries have publications that are common in the industry, and those publications have names. Call a spade a spade, and make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for.