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Interview w/ Brett Tabke, CEO Pubcon on IA and Site Organization

1.     What are the most important considerations when creating a website information architecture?

brett tabke, ceo pubconFirst, don’t reinvent the wheel. Spend the most amount of time looking at the software you are going to use to produce your site. Look for a good off-the-shelf Content Management System (CMS). Almost all of the modern CMS’s contain good URL layout structure with associated keyword usage by design. Those packages and their design features are well understood by the search engines.

For the actual nuts-and-bolts layout of the site, I would think in terms of the classic Theme Pyramid. I wrote the highly cited guide article on Theme Pyramids. It is an in-depth at how to layout your site’s topicalized content in a logical manner that the search engine are comfortable indexing. It is even more appropriate today than it was 12 years ago when it was written.

2.     What are the most common duplicate content problems?

The classic is with people wanting to deliver localized content for different local destinations. Someone wanting to target a local market, while that local content looks surprisingly similar to the local content for a neighboring city they produce. The moral is, that you content has to be unique down to the paragraph level. Google will spot duplicate content at the sentence level, but if it is not in relation to the rest of the article, you will be ok.

3.     What are the best tools for designing information architecture?

Let the cms system do it for you. Just arrange your content on a bullet point outline levels and transpose that into a theme pyramid. Tools are not going to help you come up with the right keyword layout – only you can do that.

4.     What are the most common website indexation mistakes?

Basing too much of your sites life on Google. As we have seen this year, it is obvious to those of us in the business, that over all search engine referrals are continuing to decline. There is no reason that trend isn’t going to continue. I think the biggest “indexing” mistake, is putting an over reliance on indexing in the first place. My rule-of-thumb, is to spend 4 fold the amount of time on “not search” traffic acquisition as on SEO.

Lastly, I think SEO is now to the point, where it makes sense to look at a good outside SEO agency for support.  The bigger firms clearly have an expertise in SEO that SMB’s or midsize corps can’t match.

5.     What SEO strategies did you use on WMW for the best possible indexation?

brett tabke, webmasterworldWebmasterWorld was the basis of the Theme Pyramid article. We hit “sections”, “categories”, and then “forums”, keyword content. By looking at the bread crumb navigation (which SE’s love love love), it is easy to see how a classic Pyramid is structured.

what can we expect from Pubcon in the future?

We are going to be doing more regional day conferences. We find that the smaller shows have the opportunity to bring a local audience that may never have been to a conference before.

What should we expect from WMW in the future?

I think it is all good. One of the main reasons I actually decided to sell the company was Jim Boykins committment to the site and community. I have zero doubt that the site has a strong future.

8.  What is your favorite thing about working with SEO and marketing folks for the last 10+ years?

 

I enjoy the fact that we have all become ‘early adopters’. Knowing what is going on in Tech and with the Search Engines is not a option – it is a requirement. That leads us to see trends long before others see trends. For example, we were on Facebook long before it was clear that Facebook was going to go mainstream. Same with Twitter, Pinterest, and other services. I think it has helped us to run better businesses.

What is your least favorite part?

We tend to be too quick to take what the search engines say as Gospel. For example; the label “spam” came from search engines (there is no spam, there are only poor quality search results). That has happened alot of times over the years. It also tasks me that so many SEO’s only see SEO as a viable means of site traffic.

9. If your niece, nephew, cousin, uncle, etc wanted to learn about online marketing, what would you suggest to them as starting points?

There are several good books out there. I have not seen a real bad one. The key is to read everything you can. Out of that, will come consensus and an action plan.  Scott Stratten’s “UnMarketing,” Kristopher Jones’ “SEO Visual Blueprint,” Chris Goward’s “You Should Test That,” Marty Weintraub’sComplete Social Media Manager’s Guide,” and Krista Neher’sVisual Social Media Marketing” are just a few good examples. The key is to read everything you can. Out of that, will come consensus and an action plan.

Thanks Brett!

Additional Resources:

Images courtesy of:

Brett Tabke is an American entrepreneur and web professional. He is the CEO of the highly successful Pubcon conference series which has been the go to event for SEO professionals and affiliates.

He is also the founder of WebmasterWorld, an online search engine and internet marketing forum that often receives over 1 million pageviews per day which was sold in 2012.

Tabke started working with computers at a young age, developing software for Commodore home computers.

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