Whilst Google continues to mystify and challenge the millions of search engine optimisers and seo agencies around the planet, one thing remains clear. Primarily, when optimising and marketing a website, your target should not be Google; it must be your potential customers and audience.

So, although themes, concepts, and so on, have always been seen to be of importance when ensuring that Google  grasps the purpose and intent of your site, and hence indexes you under all the right keywords and phrases, these themes may actually have more import in getting the message across to your website visitors than to the search engines.

In information architecture, for website design as well as in other areas, metaphors and themes are often used to help disseminate complex information in a simple way. A clear illustration of this concept would be on e-commerce sites, especially supermarkets, where products are laid out as in the shop, with virtual aisles helping customers to locate the
products they need within the database.

If you tried to explain to your average website visitor that they need to run complex searches on a database, they would run a mile! However, by providing the information in a seemingly familiar environment, the shopper continues, unaware of the technical wizardry that goes on behind the scenes to make life easy for them.

On information based sites, we see themes being used to ensure that information can be found easily, by grouping together related subjects, categorizing content, and so on. Not only does this make this easier for the site visitor, but it does also assist the search engines in indexing content in close proximity eg one or two site links (internal or external)
apart, relating content in similar categories both within and without a specific website, and creating what we all think of as ‘the Web’.

When developing a theme around which to base your website, your linking strategies, your PPC marketing and in creating content, it is important to think of all the relevant key phrases and concepts which will be associated with that theme. It is by structuring together related content, and architecting it in such a way that it is easily navegable by
both user and search engine spider alike, that you stand to gain ground on your competitors who may have only added content organically and therefore diluted their themes and concepts.

Content, when added to a site, should firstly be universally relevant to that site. Just because you would like to support a struggling neighbouring business, that does not mean you should start adding links to their website and their content UNLESS it is complementary to your own core concept or business. So, for instance, if you can swap advertising or content with a blog, business, website etc that will enhance your site content by offering in-depth commentary, ads, white papers and so on, on topics of interest to YOUR audience, then you should.

If, by adding additional content, ads, banners, links etc, you risk moving away from your key theme, then you definitely should not UNLESS the fiscal benefits of doing so outweigh the loss of interest in your site by both your target audience and the search engines. And that is almost an unquantifiable metric that probably almost equals Schroedinger’s cat in difficulty to assess!

Just as your business focuses on core products, brands, and sectors, so should your website. And being clear about what these are from the outset of any new developmental work on your site and marketing will ensure that you stay on target.

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology