Finding success in Search Engine Optimization is about more than just writing quality content or getting backlinks. It’s about going above and beyond having a neat and shiny website.
Search engines look for the user-friendliness of your website to determine the relative importance of pages. The more optimized, easy to use, and logically structured the website is, the more effortless it is for users to engage and convert.
Your website shouldn’t be random clusters of different pages and content. What it should be is an organized collection for users to reach their destination as well as search bots to navigate, crawl, and index.
However, even though the website structure plays an important role in small business growth, it’s often one of the overlooked technical SEO aspects. Simply because non-tech & non-SEO-savvy people are not aware of what website structure is.
Here’s a quick overview of website structure and its importance.
What is Website Structure & Why It’s Important?
In layman’s terms, website structure or sometimes referred to as site architecture is a measure of how well-connected your internal pages, posts, and content are in relation to one another.
It’s focused on how website content is grouped and linked together and how effortless it is for users to navigate and experience the content. It encompasses various disciplines of web development, UX design, and SEO. The easier it is for users to navigate and bots to crawl, the higher chances it has of appearing at the top of the Google rankings.
Here are a few different types of site structures you can choose from depending on the type of website you’re building:
- Flat Site Structure
- Deep Site Structure
- Hierarchical Structure
- Sequential Structure
- Matrix Structure
- Database Structure
A research by GoodFirms found that crowded web design is the most common mistake small businesses make. The same report mentions 61.5% of visitors leave the website due to bad navigation while 34.6% leave because of poor content structure.
A well-planned and logical site structure is not only important to offer an impressionable user experience but to improve the crawl & indexability of your website. Experts in SEO know the role logically designed site structure plays in boosting Google rankings. That’s why most SEO companies dedicate their time and effort to improving site structure first.
Here are some tips laid out by SEO experts that help improve your website structure:
6 Tips to Improve Your Website Structure that Boost SEO & Google Rankings
1. Structure Your Site For Humans & Not Bots
Oftentimes, you’ll fall into the rabbit hole of structuring your website for Google bots and not for actual humans that you want to convert. Keep your ideal users in mind when structuring your website. Step into their shoes and see how easy or difficult it is for them to reach the page they expect.
Another way to go about it is to plan out the site structuring or restructuring from the start. Having a detailed plan ensures everything is covered when the structuring process begins.
Emphasize on putting the main attraction such as products/services in the users’ search radius. Breadcrumb helps you achieve your objectives here to display the menu and site navigation. Using breadcrumbs, users can find their way back to the source or main category page to start over.
For instance, a product page should follow the below breadcrumb sequence:
Homepage>Category Page>Sub Category Page>Product Page
Structuring your website in such a way for actual humans will enhance their on-site experience and reduce the bounce rate.
2. Optimize Your Site Hierarchy
The hierarchy of your site enables Google to understand and identify important pages. One of the common types of hierarchy model most websites follow is an inverted pyramid where the homepage sits at the top followed by category/service/product pages and additional pages under that.
For instance, an eCommerce store’s site hierarchy would look something like this,
(Copyright free image)
Ensure that any page on your website is not more than 3 clicks away from your homepage. Implementing a sensible hierarchy is beneficial from an SEO standpoint as the chances of vital pages appearing below the snippet description in Google search increase.
3. Optimize and Structure Your Content
Since content is the currency of the Internet, structuring your website content is as vital as structuring your whole website. Through heading tags such as H1, H2, H3… etc. you can create a logical structure of your content pages for humans as well as bots. They are fairly simple to implement and help optimize your website for greater experience and readability.
Blog posts are another crucial part of your website that needs optimization. Start optimizing blog categories, metadata, keywords, remove duplicate or thin content, and limit assigning categories to a blog post to one or two.
Also, don’t hesitate to delete any old content that’s irrelevant today. Deleting such pages may help you improve your site structure as Google doesn’t have to crawl unnecessary pages on your website.
4. Improve Internal Linking Structure to Important Pages
Improving the internal linking structure for your website impacts greatly on your overall website structuring process. Linking back to important, revenue-generating pages more often is significantly valuable and gets high attention from search engines.
Linking back to a specific page more frequently will help Google find and access your website and understand the pillar page. Apart from that, internal linking also helps lower your bounce rate, increases time on site, passes page equity, and aids in improving site structure.
5. Optimize Your Category Pages
Categories are mediators between your users and their final destination. Apart from helping users to find the relevant pages, categories make your website structured and more accessible.
Bundling up your category with too many pages may negatively impact the site. Keep a healthy balance and if necessary, break down large categories into one or two category groups to make it easier for users to find and Google to rank them. Too many pages in one category make it hard for Google to go through and rank your pages.
Next, you want to optimize your category pages by adding title, description, relevant image, including them in sitemap, and linking them more often.
6. Create SEO-Optimized Permalink Structure
Permalink or URL structure is a vital step to pay heed to when planning out your site structure. Ideally, you want to make URLs of your web pages short, crisp, and possibly include appropriate keywords you want to rank for.
The key to building an irresistible permalink structure is to follow the site hierarchy. For instance, a suitable permalink structure for an eCommerce store would look something like this,
- Homepage: ecommerce.com
- Category page: ecommerce.com/category/
- Subcategory: ecommerce.com/category/subcategory/
- Product page: ecommerce.com/product-1/
Here, you’d notice that the product page does not include the category in the URL. And it doesn’t have to as it’s SEO as well as user-friendly to keep URL short and precise. Follow the same practice for the blog page of your website.
Today, having a great site structure in an intensely competitive environment is essential for boosting SEO and Google rankings. Creating flat architecture websites with lots of pages that target specific keywords is no longer relevant today.
The site structure should be planned in such a way that makes it effortless for users to reach any page on your site by following the links on the homepage. It should follow the hierarchical structure that works best not only for search bots but also for users.
Also, pay heed to your page content, categories, internal linking, and permalink structure, which play an important part in structuring and improving SEO and Google rankings.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.