There is an area in Search Engine Optimization that is often glossed over but it remains one of the most important parts of an Search Engine Optimization strategy. During website development, your website could be streamlined and efficient with webpages that are well placed and sensibly organized. Alternatively, your website could have grown organically without much initial thought to its structure and is now a scattered vague mess of pages. But if you give some careful thought to your site structure as you grow, it could become a vital part of your Search Engine Optimization success.
There are three main reasons that you should give careful thought to your fundamental site structure:
Prioritizing Keywords and Pages
By placing certain webpages and categories of webpages to particular parts of your website, you can highlight and emphasize the Search Engine Optimization weight to these pages. This means that search engine crawlers will give preference to these webpages and your website will rank better for the keywords and pages that you prioritize.
Making it easier for crawlers
The simpler and straightforward your website structure is, the easier it is for search engine crawlers to read and index the content of your site. If the crawlers cannot find the content, then your chances of ranking higher takes a drastic hit.
Better User Experience
You can never overlook your site users and visitors. The easier it is for them to navigate through an uncomplicated and well thought out website, the higher the chances are that they will stay longer at your site and the lower the bounce rate will be. Google loves low bounce rates and user experience has become more important to Search Engine Optimization than ever before.
The five steps to SEO friendly site structure
1- Plan your site hierarchy
The simplest hierarchy is to have to most important search ranking pages at the top and to filter down to the less important pages.
Start with the homepage at the top because that is your most important landing page and it is important that there is a homepage to navigate back to. Your category pages or your next most important landing pages will be on the next layer. Following this will be the sub-categories and finally your article, products, etc.
2- Your URL should match your site structure
Make sure that your URL structure matches your hierarchy. The URL is broken down into Category → Sub-Category → Product. This is easy for the crawlers to read and easy for your users to navigate too.
3- Build a low depth website
Another important element of your site structure is to have a low depth site. What this means is that every page on your site is accessible in just a few clicks from your homepage. This makes it easier for your website to be crawled, and the easier it is to be crawled, the easier Google can find your content and rank it.
Another reason to opt for a low depth site is that it’s good for better user experience. If a visitor is having difficulty finding the information they want, then they can get irritated and move on and a high bounce rate means bad Search Engine Optimization.
4- Use internal linking
While creating a low depth website is a good strategy, it can be difficult for websites with hundreds of pages. This is where internal linking can help.
Basically it is an internal connection between two pages on the same site. Internal linking has a number of advantages in an Search Engine Optimization point of view. Firstly, they provide a practical way to navigate through your site, reducing the number of clicks needed to reach a page on your site. This creates a low depth site effect and Google loves this. It also can help create a better user experience as well.
Site navigation is usually seen as just a tool to navigate through a website but it can be used as a powerful tool to give Search Engine Optimization weight to your preferred pages.
Remember, the links in the site navigation are, in fact, internal links because they link to other webpages on the same site. A site’s internal links behave in the same way as external links- the more links that point towards a certain webpage, the more importance that search engines will give that particular page. If a specific webpage is on the navigation, this means that every page on the website has an internal link pointing towards it. This tells search engines that specific webpage is an important one and one that should be ranked.
Your website as a whole will have a particular amount of domain authority. If you have an individual page on your navigation, then a greater part of a website’s authority or Search Engine Optimization weight will be given to this page. As a result, your strategy should be to put to the pages you want ranked on your navigation. Just make sure that everything is done in moderation. You still want your navigation to be effective and provide a simple and straightforward way to navigate through your site.
In conclusion, if you get your website structure organized properly, it can lay a solid foundation for the rest of your Search Engine Optimization strategies to be built on.