It is widely accepted that Google places the most weight on the first 100 links it finds on a web page. With that in mind we can design a website that is optimised so that every single page is as close to the root domain as possible. Even with a 1,000,000+ page website you can still have every page reachable with a minimum of three clicks.
We have designed a number of sites using the structure outlined below.
The index page links to 100 second tier pages, each second tier page links to 10,000 third tier pages and so on. We have only experimented with a fifth tier and have not tested anything sufficiently to suggest how well it would be indexed. This looks great in a graph but how can you take this theory and put it into an active website.
Start with your database or content. If you have large amounts of data in place how can they be broken down into sections. Alphabetically would give you 26 categories. This is a good start but is far from the optimal number of 100. Could they be broken down into regions, this is far more flexible as you can put smaller regions together etc.
If you have extremely large quantities of information bordering on the million pages. Could you break it down effectively into 10,000 sub categories. Breaking down products by price for example.
Now lets break up the data into as many chunks as we can. First there is categories:-
Shirts, Trousers, Shoes, Mens, Womens etc. You could easily come up with a 100 categories for your products but the key is to try and balance the categories so each has roughly the same number of products in them. If you have a massive category with over 10,000 products chop it up into small sub categories and link these individually. Womens dresses becomes Womens Maxi Dressses etc. Get these categories listed on your index page in visible links at the top of the code. Put them in the menu, put them at the bottom of the header. Just get them visible above the fold and link each one to a separate url i.e. category.php?cat=menssuedeshoes
Moving on to the category pages and you need to build a second division. Perhaps price would work here and still create a positive user experience. In the side bar why not put “How much do you want to spend?” and create a tag cloud with different prices for products. Again try and do it effectively so that each price has about a 100 items. So if most of your items are around £5 have a bunch of figures around this price to spread out the products, £3.50, £4, £4.20, £4.50, £5, £5.10, £5.50, £5.75, £6 etc
You can jumble up the numbers to make it look more like a random tag cloud. Again get this as close to the top of the code as possible.
On the item pages run a MYSQL command something like:
SELECT * FROM myproducts WHERE price BETWEEN ” . $_GET[‘minprice’] . ” AND ” . $_GET[‘maxprice’];
This will then link out to all of the products on your site. Include a category view, small picture and a link to the product page.
The final tier is really the key to a successful site and this is where you should be doing a great deal of split testing and experimenting. The general idea is to funnel traffic that lands on these pages to your offer and encourage the user to convert.
With this kind of site design you’ll find that within a week of submitting a sitemap Google will have indexed around 10,000-15,000 pages and you’ll start getting a fair bit of traffic. Within six months the final tier should be almost fully indexed and you’ll have the best part of a million web pages on Google sending you traffic.
Artificial link building can accelerate the process and something I like to do is build cog pages which act as a landing page for the spiders. Cog pages generally have 50,000 links on them to different pages on your site. Listing your products by alphabet with links to each product page for example. Building links to these cogs drives spiders to your site and gets your site indexed a fair bit quicker.
Another key tactic is to build in silo links to the pages. This basically means to flow page rank or Google juice back to your most important pages that you want to rank for. A great way to do this is with breadcrumbs and a featured links section.