I work for a decent-sized international charity as the Director of IS / IT. One of our bigger projects this year has been redoing our website. For some companies this is a small endeavour, but considering we do nearly 20M$/year in business online it’s a fairly important part of who we are.
One of the areas that we are having to look at now is Data Access Paths (DAP) and security in relation to Search Engines.
DAP monitoring is something most low-end sites do haphazardly because they feel it doesn’t affect them in any way. The way most low-end sites look at DAP is ‘how do users get to what they want to get to’, which is basically Architecture. DAP, though, is the on-going paths that can be traced through your website.
In the context of SEO, it is important to note how your site looks at any given instant from the perspective of a search engine. Instead of looking at every subpage as a reference to your main page or as a way to transfer PR, DAP-aware companies look at each page as a resource unto itself and monitor the incoming and outgoing links from that page to ensure they are prioritized, relevant and necessary.
I’ve found that this helps at Ensight, since I’m looking at a redesign. A non-DAP-aware mentality would be “well, each article page accesses the main page, so I’m good”. A DAP-aware mentality would realise, though, that each article is more than just a link to the main page. It is relevant to the category it is in, to related links around the web and to the subject matter it discusses. So, in my redesign I will be including each of these elements (and more) to ensure that each page is, in essence a self-contained entity with no need to rely on the rest of the site for importance.
The second item isn’t one which is really critical, but it’s perhaps one you want to be evaluating on a yearly basis. The fact of the matter is that search engines are better at finding things we’d like to hide than most of us are aware. From financial statements to credit card numbers, the sheer volume of confidential information available to the savvy searcher is scary. So, do a yearly eval and make sure you aren’t exposing (or leaving exposed) sensitive information.
Ultimately you shouldn’t be sharing this information in the first place, but sometimes we are forgetful people us humans.