Good day, happy Wednesday my SEO comrades! Search Engine Academy has yet another post for you about Information Architecture (IA) and search engine optimization (SEO). By now, you know how these go together – like peanut butter and jelly, like scotch and soda, and so on. But others don’t, so please feel free to let your colleagues know about our blog series, umkay? Thanks!

We are talking about creating usable, readable reports for your client that outline your IA efforts. This is where you get the final go-ahead from the decision makers (those who have the money to make this finally happen), so you want your report to be the very best it can be.

I’m going to wrap up this series on the IA report by talking about how to present the IA impact on the content management system. You need to address the relationship between your proposed IA and the content management system or structure. The impact is direct.

First, let’s talk about three effective content management components.

Rules

Content is managed by establishing processes. This covers creation, publishing and maintaining website cotent. Grammar, style and other writing guidelines are part of the rules.

Roles

This part consists of the folks who do the content management processes under the established rules and guidelines. These people probably also review, update and create new rules and processes as needed. There may be specific roles – some people may only create, optimize and upload meta data, while others write and edit the content. You may have your content management system (CMS) developers and techs’ roles listed here as well.

Resources

Included here is the actual content and the storage format for both static and dynamic content. The CMS software is also a resource.

Templates

Data is dynamically pulled from other sources can be dumped into templates. You may have developed several templates for different content types. Be sure to include the navigation structure that addresses global, local and contextual navigation schemes you have come up with.

Meta Data

Not only is this the title and description information, but it could include the author, publisher, title and date the content was published to the site. You may also have these areas of meta data:

  • Expiration Date
  • Links
  • Document Type
  • Subject Area
  • Keywords
  • Related To
  • Geographic Areas

Thesaurus

You really need a thesaurus to make your meta data easier to find. It’s usually for the folks behind the curtain – the staffers, writers, editors, etc.

Alright, enough about that. Let’s move to the project plan!

It can be very helpful to crate a project outline to track the delivery dates for the final products. What’s good about the project plan is it should ask and answer these questions:

  • How will it be accomplished?
  • How long is it going to take?
  • Who has to do it?
  • What are the required deliverables?
  • What’s dependent upon each of these?

Just good project planning 101, people! This is a reality check. It bridges that gap between strategy and design, and can be implemented with plans from other teams, like the application developers, authors, etc.

It might be best to do a short term and long term project plan. The easier stuff that can be done rather quickly could be in the short term project outline. This could include design changes that will improve the IA. Long term project plans include the inter-dependencies with other teams.

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Information Architecture

Presentations

OK, so you’ve done all of this hard work…you aren’t done yet, but you’re getting there! Please do not think that if you bust your heinie on this report that the world will now make it happen. Probably not, OK?

Better that you do a presentation to follow up the report delivery. Folks may need clarification, they might have questions, they probably have hand grenades they want to lob at your worth effort. Plus, who the hell likes reading a 50 page report?

You may need to schedule a series of presentations for multiple stakeholders. You’re going to need buy-in, and you have to be prepared for objections. You will be most successful if you can communicate clearly in non-tech non-geek speak that helps people understand that IA is a good thing.

Make it visually appealing. Don’t just slap text on a power point, read it out loud to a room full of people and expect to feel love. That wont’ happen. Use charts, graphs, diagrams, pictures…whatever it takes. Don’t forget to use a metaphor or two, if that’ll illustrate the point as well.

Take the time to come up with a compelling title. If your presentation is anchored to a metaphor, use it in the title to generate interest.

Alrighty then…we are going to stop here today. We will start next week with outlining your IA design and documentation. Until next time, think about if you had to do a high level IA presentation. What would it look like? How would it sound?

Keep it between the ditches until then!

All the very best to you,