4.1 Content categorization matches topic strategy

Having a topic strategy – some people call this a keyword strategy – is critical for the success of your content. And most things you write should be easy to match up with the topics you’re trying to build mindshare and search engine visibility for.

4.2 Hub pages for topics exist

Most CMSes provide ways to aggregate content on specific topics into “hub pages”. These can be powerful for ranking and for informing site visitors.

4.3 There are fewer than 300 links on important pages

Important pages should give clear navigation paths. Finding a huge number of links on a crawl usually indicates some kind of technical issue.

4.4 Important content is ≤4 clicks from the homepage

It should be easy to get to almost everything of interest on your site from the homepage. It’s OK to have buried content if that content isn’t very important or is designed to reach its audience through very direct means (e.g. personal conversations.)

4.5 Important content is reachable from the homepage

Ideally, important content is a small number of clicks away from the homepage. If it isn’t, is it accessible at all?

4.6 More important pages get more links than less important pages

More of your site’s pages should point to content you think is important. For example, every page on your site, if it has a navigation bar on it, links to all the pages that are in that navigation bar. Conversely, pages that are less important shouldn’t appear in, say, the nav bar.

4.7 Avoid linking to pages outside the site that don't exist

Ideally, avoid sending visitors to pages that aren’t up anymore. (But it’s not a big deal if you do.)

4.8 Avoid linking to pages inside the site that don't exist

Avoid sending visitors to pages that aren’t on your site anymore. Hopefully these pages automatically forward to their replacements.

4.9 The number of 404 pages is stable or decreasing

Increasing numbers of 404 pages can indicate technical issues with the site.

4.10 Vertical linking is in place; pages link above and below in hierarchy

The homepage should link to product pages, and then product pages should link to detailed feature pages (for example). It should be possible to navigate up and down this hierarchy fairly easily.

4.11 Horizontal linking is in place; pages link to siblings

Product pages should link to solution pages, and to other important pages as well (for example). It should be easy to navigate to relevant pages of other types fairly easily.

4.12 Schema markup is used where possible

Schema markup can include things like FAQ, event, and many other tags that help search engines understand what your site is about – these are becoming increasingly important in making sure your content is presented to search engine users.

4.13 Pages that don't exist are redirected to other suitable pages

If you take a page down, try to redirect it to another page that might solve your visitor’s problem or answer their questions.

4.14 Microsites are integrated into the main site

It can sometimes be desirable to launch a site that’s separated from your main site – for example, for a conference or major event. Try as much possible from a technical perspective to integrate it into your main site, including using the same domain, and linking the navigation to your main site as well.