No One Cares About Your Corporate Org Chart – Information Architecture

No One Cares About Your Corporate Org Chart

Rule #1 when developing your website content and structure:

Site visitors do not care about your company’s organizational hierarchy, a k a
“org chart.”

You are not preaching or writing to the choir. Your website is not targeting
your employees but your customers and prospects. Spend time getting to know
your target audience, and write for them.

Get the following concepts under your belt before you plan out your site:

  • Information Architecture (IA) deals with the organization of your
    website’s content, your major content categories and subcategories (from a
    content audit or card sorting). It should NOT be a reflection of your
    company’s internal structure or your intranet. Your IA should be organized
    around tasks your key site visitors are likely to perform, information they
    need.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as it relates to your IA, deals
    with creating content based off your key audience’s wants and desires. The
    foundation of SEO begins with intimately knowing your customers — how they
    think
    (from personas and search data) and what they want to do (task
    analysis). From there, structure your content to attract and engage them
    using their language
    (keyword phrases).

Common Information Architecture Mistake

Mistake #1 often occurs when a website IA is planned or redesigned as a
mirror of how your company works. Such content typically focuses on how
great you are with “we this” and “we that” statements. This messaging feeds
the ego of your CEO and top management only.

Say “No!” to an IA site map that looks like your corporate org chart:

Corporate Org Chart IA - Click For Larger View

A surprising number of organizations ignore their users entirely and base
their websites on an organizational perspective. The result is copy that
contains internal language and jargon — terms and acronyms used only within
the organization, or it’s filled with, marketing fluff and “we” statements.

Follow this common mistake, and your site will most likely rank well for
terms like:

“We provide value”

SERPs - We Provide Value

“Our vision”

SERPs - Our Vision

Mistake #2: Using stock photography images that mean absolutely nothing
about your vision. You don’t want to rank for non-meaningful images like:

Stock Photo Images for Our Vision in SERPs

Successful Information Architecture

Success Tactic #1 begins when you plan and organize your information
architecture and content strategy around your website visitors.

Your visitors care about your value proposition and how your offering
benefits THEM! They want value, features and benefits. The key things on
their mind are:

“What’s in it for me?”

“How can they benefit me?”

Organize your content accordingly — to answer their questions and needs.
Tell them what’s in it for them!

They have a goal and a purpose. Often, they want one of the following:

  1. To learn more about you, your products and services;
  2. What it would be like to work with or buy from you;
  3. What others think;
  4. Buy your product or enter into a contract for your services.

Focus your content and design on providing answers and information relating
to their needs – the tasks they are likely to perform.

Your successful IA could look something like this:

IA with Audience and Keywords Mapped - Click For Larger View

Your site map is developed based on content analysis, persona research,
search data, task analysis, and keyword phrases.

  • Content is grouped and structured by page types.
  • Target audiences for each page are identified.
  • Content assets that meet audience needs and goals with associated
    tasks and calls to action are developed.
  • Keyword phrases are mapped.

Plan your information architecture like this, while creating content your
users want, like, and share. Chances are you will rank for your target terms
and convert leads to sales.

You may even rank for blended image search with photos that also stroke your
CEO’s ego!

Civil Engineers Images in Blended SERPs

Successful information architecture is 180 degrees from the org chart
approach. You move from a “we” to a “you” task-oriented approach. The
structure and flow of your site will be designed to accommodate your
prospects and customers. You’ll get more visits from the search engine
results, more engagement in social media, and more conversions on your site.

Content & IA Resources

Put your content to the test and determine if you are talking too much about
yourself. Test your “we we” score with Future Now’s We We Calculator.

Visit Usability.gov for a guide to planning and developing your Information
Architecture
.
The site contains steps for card sorting, persona research, and more.

If you want to dig in deeper, read Adam Audette’s SEO Guide to Information
Architecture
.


Dana Lookadoo is an SEO consultant and trainer at Yo! Yo! SEO, and you can read her full PubCon speaker biography here.