A very diverse government department with many consumer and industry touch points, I was hired to plan the content organization of their new website around user and search goals. For most SEO and content organization jobs a key goal is to maximize targeted traffic while maintaining strong content clarity. Here the core goals were slightly different: a) to ensure that the site was organized in a way that was logical to the visitor and b) that searchers looking for information about specific energy policies, projects, or issues (oil, gas, offshore oil, energy costs, drilling policy, careers, etc.) would be able to easily find the right pages through a search engine.
I initially analyzed the project content and then worked with the ad agency lead to sketch out site organization options. The site has a prominent left side navigation which we used as an index of departments and of common user goals. While typically I prefer to keep the main navigation short (7 sections or less), the agency and government both preferred a ‘flatter’, more open structure, and the unique colourful navigation structure made it possible to do this in a clear way.
I created a complete site organization with page labels to be used for the navigation. These labels included core terms where possible, but always with a mind to clarity for the user. After creating the site map, I created a script template for the incorporation of content and site tags (SEO metatags). I conducted keyphrase research and reviewed this data and the site organization with the team to make final decisions about page labels and meta titles. While these decisions are partly research-based, it’s also important to reflect on user experience, to consider whether some pages are trying to do too many things and should be divided (or doing too little and be combined).
I followed with the site development to help sort out any new content issues and to ensure that no obstacles to search rank clarity and success were introduced. Once the site was launched I followed its progress through search rank reports, making small adjustments to raise ranking for pages where needed.
The result: a government website that unlike most, is both user-friendly and search friendly.