With today’s fast-paced lifestyles, nobody likes to wait for long or feel lost while searching for information online. Therefore, as a marketer, it is crucial to structure your website in an easy-to-navigate manner to retain the interest of your audience. And site structure is what we will talk about today.
What is Website Structure?
Site structure or website architecture refers to how your website is designed or how various pages on your website are connected for excellent user experience. This is important not just from the user’s perspective but also for search engine optimization.
What are the types of website structure?
- Hierarchical Model
This is the most common and preferred type of website structure. This is also known as a tree structure, where there is a parent page with a broad set of information, and it is further categorized into child pages with detailed information.
- Sequential Model
As the name says, this allows the user to browse in a sequential manner. Here, the user can only travel in a forward or backward direction.
- Matrix Model
This was popularly used in the early years of the internet. It provided the user with many relevant links under various topic groups, allowing them to choose where they wanted to go next.
- Database Model
This is a dynamic approach to website architecture, integrating a database with a search. With this website structure, users can create experiences based on their search query.
What is the importance of Website structure?
- A smooth user experience
If your website is appealing and informative and has hassle-free navigation, users will want to spend more time on it, increasing the dwell-time and decreasing the bounce time. This will, in turn, indicates to Google that your website is an excellent result to be displayed for a search query and can boost your rankings.
- Good site structure can get you sitelinks
Sitelinks on a SERP show your website’s important pages. These are of a great SEO advantage and can improve clickthrough rate, better your brand’s reputation and help you rank better on SERPs. Google awards sitelinks to websites with excellent site structure. Currently, you cannot add a sitelink on your own.
- Improved Crawling
A properly designed website structure with good internal linking will help not only users but also crawlers that crawl your website by letting them discover important pages.
- Prevents from competing with your website
Sometimes, you may have different blog posts written around the same topic. If your site is designed correctly, it can help you avoid having competing webpages and keyword cannibalization.
How to design an SEO-friendly website structure?
- Strategize before you start
The best way to do things is to plan before executing them. Grab a paper and pen, and draw a rough sketch of how your website should look. You can list down various important pages, categories and product pages. This can help you get a better understanding of your website’s skeletal system. If you are starting a new website, it is good to consider implementing various SEO techniques at the designing stage itself. Choosing the right website model is important here. A flat site structure where all pages are just one click away from your home page can sound easy to implement. However, when asked about the flat site structure, this is how John Mueller responded:
“In general, I’d be careful to avoid setting up a situation where normal website navigation doesn’t work. So, we should be able to crawl from one URL to another URL on your website just by the links on the page.”
Here, he is saying that a flat website structure can cause crawl issues and difficulty in navigation for users. He further explained:
“If that’s not possible then we lose a lot of contexts. So if we’re only seeing these URLs through your sitemap file then we don’t really know how these URLs are related to each other and it makes it really hard for us to be able to understand how relevant is this piece of content in the context of your website”
John’s remark makes it clear that using a hierarchical site structure helps Google understand your website better.
- Website Symmetry is important:
If you eliminate the colors, fonts, kernel, graphics and images from a website, a good website structure is what remains. And maintaining symmetry in the structure can be satisfying to the user. Keep your category count between 2 to 7 and try to add an equal number of sub-categories in each category. Symmetricity will prevent your website from looking uneven.
- URL structure
The URL structure should follow the page hierarchy. If you already have a good website structure, this won’t be much of an issue. However, pay close attention to the ‘slug’. A slug refers to the tail end of the URL. Using a readable name in the slug instead of the ID number of the page helps crawlers and users to better read and understand the content of the page.
- Internal Linking
Internal linking is a crucial SEO technique which helps you connect one webpage to another on your website. This enhances the user experience as important pages are accessible with fewer clicks. Implementing a good internal linking strategy can help with a good flow of link juice within the domain. Thus, your website can rank better on the SERP.
- W3C Validation
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) validation is a process to check the compliance of the HTML and XHTML documents of your website to well-formed markup. W3C validation ensures that the site works the same in all browsers.
A website structure is a result of precise thinking and organization. It is a vital aspect of SEO and should be done before the creation of your website. However, if your website is live, you can always rework on the design and improve its structural organization for SEO. It can help both the users and crawlers with easy navigation. So, do not hesitate to invest your time and resources to create an SEO-friendly website.
Consider the above suggestions to structure your site and lets us know how it worked for you.
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