How important is the structure of a website for SEO?
A: It is most critical and vital aspect for online success.
You plan to build a dream house in the mid of lush green fields, and the first thing that would come to mind is “foundation”.
Yes, “foundation” is the key factor.
But, you cannot ignore the importance and the need of a good layout i.e. blueprint (also termed as plan)
After all, layout determines:
- Space: How optimally space has been utilised?
- Access: How easy is the accessibility to reach one point of the house to other?
- Interlinking: How well rooms are interconnected logically?
- Navigation: How Swift is the flow and mobility between the rooms?
Now, how is this related to our structure of the website?
In many ways …Let’s proceed!
- Space: Relates to the utilisation of space (the web real estate) on your site for high conversions.
- Navigation: Pertains to ease of navigation for first-time visitors.
- Accessibility: Swiftness to access different elements of the site
- Interlinking: Internal linking strategy to strengthen SEO
Having a good website structure yields actual benefits…namely:
Ranking: Having a good structure of site improves the ranking of your sites in search engine result pages (SERPS)
Crawling: Simple website structure will aid search engine in crawling process and improve indexing of all pages quickly.
User Experience: Elements placed logically and in structured fashion enhances the user experience.
Navigability: Pointing visitors effortlessly to most relevant information boots the navigability and accessibility.
Considering the advantages and the importance of good website structure, let’s go through 6 website structure best practices to build a user and SEO friendly website.
6 Concrete Tips for Good Site Structure.
1.Begin with Structure – Focus on Hierarchy.
Planning the structure of the site should be your top priority.
Visualise the section you would want to cover. Sequence and order section as per their importance. This should give us the main categories of the site.
Next, name the categories which are understandable to humans and interpretable by search engines.
Having a proper hierarchy will help us to organise the topics logically and forms the base for URL structure.
5 tips to create an optimum site structure:
- Identify the critical sections of the new site. This will give us the categories to be incorporated.
- Name the categories with Keywords (not mandatory though)
- Maintain the categories from two to seven.
- Break down the sections into sub –categories.
- Logically group the parts which are closely related to each other.
- Keep the balance of categories and subcategories. You don’t want one category to have ten subcategories and another category with only two subcategories.
2.URL Structure – Have a Strong Correlation between URL and Site Structure for Rich SEO benefits.
Once you complete the step 1, having a well-optimised SEO URL structure will be no brainer.
As you have already thought through the categories and subcategories of the site, every URL will be aligned with the web page hierarchy.
Ideally, it should indicate parent category-sub category-Page1…so on.
3.Interlink Related Pages – Boost the Indexing of Entire Site.
A comprehensive Internal linking structure has numerous benefits:
- It creates an information hierarchy of contextually-related pages.
- It elevates end user experience with clear navigation.
- It helps search engines to crawl your site deeply for better indexing.
The internal linking structure is conceived in such a way that every page is linked to a related page and it should also be referenced from other related page or pages.
A good strategy would be:
- To tightly interlink the main categories and subcategories.
- To interlink the pages which are lowest in the information hierarchy.
4.Implement Pagination – Elevate User Experience.
Pagination is practice followed to split the large chunky content into several pages. It adds immense value to end user experience and had SEO benefits too.
Four reasons to have pagination:
- It leads a visitor to have access to desired information with minimum clicks.
- Visitor will not be burdened with lengthy content.
- Having the content distributed across pages saves loading time and server load.
- It elevates user experience with easy to consume information.
5.Have a Low Depth Website – Don`t Burden Search Engine Bots.
The depth of website refers to the number of clicks a visitor would need to access a page from the home page.
Home Page is at level 1; SubPages are at level 2 and so on…A good practice is to have a page depth of 2 or 3.
The rationale behind this is very simple.
Search engines bots (called crawlers) will not have issues in accessing the pages effortlessly which are positioned at level 2 or 3.
More the depth, larger is the effort required to crawl the site.In fact, deeper pages may get ignored completely.
We should aim to organise the structure of the site in such way that it should need max three clicks for the visitor to traverse from one page to another page.
6.Position Important Pages on the Top Navigation.
Keep the most important pages on the top navigation bar.
- Visitor’s attention is centred on the sections placed in the top navigation.
- Search Engines would interpret these pages as crucial as most of the internal pages (as per hierarchy) are pointing to it.
We covered the fundamentals to follow for creating a well balanced simple website structure which has SEO advantage and improved user experience.
Let me know if you have more ideas in planning a website structure which we can implement for more impressive results.