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From a business perspective, the website architecture makes perfect sense. You want your website’s structure to be easily navigable by site visitors, encouraging them to spend time on your website. Google also wants the same thing.
With that in mind, a website’s structure is often referred to as its architecture.
So let’s take a look at some of the best website architecture strategies for SEO.
What Is A Website Architecture?
Website architecture refers to the structure of a website, which can be divided into two main parts: front-end and back-end.
The front-end is what users see and interact with when they visit a website, while the back-end is the behind-the-scenes infrastructure that powers the site.
A solid website structure has a direct influence on the way search engines crawl, read, and index your site. When creating a website, the first thing you need to do to secure maximum SEO value from it, is perform proper keyword research and develop a proper site structure.
Why are site structure optimization and keyword research fundamental to your SEO efforts?
The answer is simple—content is the main ingredient of a successful website. The more content you produce, the more chances you have of reaching higher ranks in the SERPs, and it all starts with proper site structure.
Some of today’s most popular websites, such as Wikipedia, feature some of the most complicated website structures on the Internet. And these sites still manage to reach the first page of Google results.
Google has evolved its understanding of how to index a website.
In the past, the search engine would index the entire content of a page for ranking purposes.
Nowadays, Google reads a page more thoroughly.
It uses a range of factors to determine and evaluate the page’s relevancy and structure, starting with crawling and indexing.
After crawling and indexing, search engines create a snapshot of the website content, which they use to display the SERPs to users.
How your site is structured influences how Google and other search engines crawl, index, and rank content.
The closer your site’s structure is to the one used by your competitors, the more chances you have of reaching higher ranks in the SERPs.
It’s important to keep in mind that site structure optimization and keyword research are not isolated secondary tasks. They are some of the first steps you need to take if you want to get the maximum SEO value from your business and website.
The Importance of A Website Architecture
Website architecture is a pillar component of traditional SEO.
To break it down further, this means the structuring and organization of a website. You can choose to organize your site using menus and hyperlinks, or content structure, such as blog posts and articles, like on Medium.
The way a website is structured and the organization of content are both incredibly important for SEO.
This means identifying what types of content are most valuable and which pages include the most information based on keywords.
That may sound simple, but the process is more complex than just “putting keywords on a page.” Research how your audience is searching for your products and services, then determine which pages of your site are the most relevant to that information.
For example, if a user is searching for “pet products,” would your homepage be more valuable or a blog post with your core product offerings?
One of the best things you can do for SEO is to look at where visitors are entering your website. For example, if 60% of visitors are coming from a blog post page, then it’s clearly valuable and likely ranking well.
It pays to dig into the data and pinpoint what types of content are performing well and add those pages to your new site structure.
7 Tips for Developing & Designing Website Structure for SEO
Website design and structure are one of the most important aspects of SEO – it can benefit you greatly if you pay close attention.
Here are seven tips you should keep in mind when developing a new site or redesigning an existing one:
1. Organize your Categories logically
In the world of SEO, category pages are like the cornerstone of your home. You can’t have a house without a foundation, and you can’t have a website without categories.
Category pages are an important part of a website’s structure, and if you have a lot of content, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 relevant categories.
If you have too many categories, you create confusion for the visitor and confuse Google, which means your category pages won’t create much SEO benefit.
Google also likes to see top-level category pages that link to deeper subcategories. But it’s also fine for your top-level category pages to just link to the top-level subcategories.
The structure of each of your category pages should be something like this:
-Your category name (e.g. ” Men’s Shoes “)
-A brief sentence or two about what’s on the page (e.g. “Our men’s shoes include dress shoes, running shoes, and sandals.”)
-Links to relevant subcategories (e.g. “Our dress shoes include loafers, wingtips, and more.”)
-Links to relevant products (e.g. “Our men’s dress shoes include the Stacy Adams)
2. Format Your Links appropriately.
Search engines pay attention to anchor text, so make sure that it is formatted as accurately as possible.
Additionally, linking to related pages from your blog or website is a simple way to increase organic traffic to your website.
However, it’s essential to know which type of links your audience is looking for. That will ultimately determine the success of your SEO efforts.
According to Google, link signals (like links on a high-quality website) are among the top 200 ranking factors.
Here’s what you need to know about different types of links:
Internal links: Internal links help Google bots crawl your site, predict its value and importance, and crawl it accordingly. Internal links can point users together and make it easier to understand your content and site structure. They can also be used to highlight popular content. However, it’s important to build internal links intelligently.
External links: External links come in the form of links to external websites and pages. They could also be links to your own products or partner websites.
Anchor links: Anchor links help you rank keywords.
3. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
More and more people are using mobile devices to search, so it’s important to make sure your site is just as easy to navigate on a smartphone as it is on a computer.
Mobile-friendliness is an important ranking signal that search engines use to rank websites for mobile searches. A mobile-friendly website also benefits your user experience.
If you have a WordPress-based site, you can go into the Dashboard → Appearance → Customize and click the link Update theme. You can then click Check and update themes and select a mobile-friendly theme from a dropdown menu.
If you’re on a hosted website builder, such as Wix, you can also search for mobile-friendly themes that way.
If you’re working with HTML and CSS, you can use a responsive web design library such as Bootstrap to create mobile-friendly websites.
If you’re having a custom-coded website, make sure you use a responsive framework such as Bootstrap or Foundation and have your site’s mobile version load dynamically.
Another thing to keep in mind is that users on mobile devices have a lot less space to view your page. They don’t want to get bogged down by extraneous fluff.
Although your site may have a responsive design, make sure that all of the elements on your site are optimized to be viewed on mobile devices. All of the images should be appropriately sized, the text should be large enough to read without trouble, and your navigation should be simple and user-friendly.
4. Make Use of a Leveled Heading Structure in Your Content
A heading structure is a code or markup used to provide the structure to hierarchical headings of HTML pages.
To create a hierarchy heading structure, you divide your page into sections using headings. H1 is typically the largest heading, while H6 is the smallest.
This is a common method used by writers to organize their content and to help readers navigate their content.
However, did you know that the H1 heading could be used as a ranking signal for SEO?
If you create one page on your website only using an H1 tag, with targeted keywords on your page, you can rank higher in those search results since you created the content around those targeted keywords.
5. Use breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are an effective method of guiding users through the content on your website. Breadcrumbs don’t carry any SEO value, but they help users find content and increase engagement.
These breadcrumbs provide links to important pages on your website, which can help search engines crawl and index your site and determine page authority.
Every website needs a good site structure.
A poor site structure can frustrate users, discourage them from exploring your website, and negatively impact your website’s SEO.
A site structure should be planned in advance. There are many creative ways to set up a site structure.
However, the simple goal “to guide users through a website” does not need to be complicated.
A good website structure should do three things:
It should guide a user through the structure.
It should organize a website’s content.
It should enhance the content’s engagement.
Breadcrumbs are a simple way of accomplishing all three of those goals at the same time.
6. Make Your Site Easy To Navigate.
Visitors should be able to easily navigate the different sections of your website, so you should review your site to identify any potential problem areas.
If you’re not already familiar, Google’s strict requirements for website structure began with the Panda algorithm update on February 24, 2011.
In a nutshell, websites with perfect website structure have great crawlability, which means Google can easily crawl and index the pages on the website for SEO purposes.
In a perfect situation, a user would know what keywords, topics, and pages to search for. Then Google would be able to crawl and index the correct pages.
But, as we all know, this isn’t always the case.
What Google recommends when creating a website structure, with or without optimization, is making sure you have a fast website. Here are nine SEO tips to help with this:
- Use keyword-rich titles for your pages.
- Use clear, concise, and easy-to-read text.
- Use heading tags to structure your content.
- Use images and videos sparingly and make sure they are properly optimized.
- Make sure your website is fast and easy to use.
- Use internal links to help Google crawl your website.
- Use external links to help Google
- Use an XML and HTML sitemap to help Google crawl your website.
7. Make Use of Schema Markup.
Schema markup is now officially supported by Google and is an essential piece for your website’s SEO success.
Schema provides search engines with additional information about your site and the content it contains.
Schema markup makes it easy for Google and other search engines to find more information about your website and its pages in search results. As Google continues to improve how it processes structured data, you’ll likely see an increase in traffic and conversions from schema implementation.
Here’s an example of how you can add Schema markup to your post:
We’d like to emphasize that Schema markup isn’t just for HTML pages. In fact, you can use Schema markup for lots of different types.
Yoast SEO and All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugins are two of the most used plugins to implementing schema markup.
Website Structure for SEO Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to structure a website for SEO?
There are two main ways to set up a website structure for SEO: the content-first method and the SEO-first method.
It’s up to you to choose which method you want to follow, and which one works best for your business.
Even though both methods can help you build SEO-friendly website pages; it’s important to remember that SEO best practices change over time. So, it’s a good idea to apply SEO best practices to your content as you’re writing.
What are the benefits of website structure optimization?
Website structure optimization improves your site’s SEO. It improves the organization of your website’s structure and navigation, making it easier for both users and search engines to navigate your site.
Having an organized website also helps with user experience, which in turn improves your conversion rates. Not optimizing your website structure can hurt you in two ways:
1. If your website structure is not optimized, your website visitors will not be able to find the information they need, which can lead to a reduced number of leads and sales.
2. If your website structure is not optimized and it’s difficult for visitors and search engines to find your information, Google and other search engines will rank your website lower on SERPs, which means fewer visitors will find your website.
What are the most important website structure factors for SEO?
There are 7 website structure factors that have the biggest impact on your SEO:
1. URL structure
4. URLs for pages
5. 301 redirects
6. XML Sitemaps
7. Canonical tags
What are the most common website structure problems?
The most common website structure problems include:
- Not using headers correctly
- Not using images correctly
- Not using sub-directories
- Not using the correct file names
- Not using the correct file extension
- Not using robots.txt correctly
- Not using canonical tags correctly
How often should I update my SEO-friendly website structure for SEO?
The best practices around how often your site architecture should be optimized are a debate that rages on. As a rule of thumb, we recommend updating your on-page SEO website structure at least every quarter.
The SEO landscape is always shifting, and search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms and capabilities. It’s helpful to remember that search engines are just trying to provide users with the best possible search results — so keeping them happy will only benefit your business.
That being said, it’s often easier (and faster) to create high-quality content that can stand the test of time.
For example, instead of writing new content for a specific keyword (e.g., “buy high heels online”), write an in-depth guide on “how to buy high heels online” instead.
If you just focus on a keyword, you risk losing sight of what matters most to your audience in the long run: great, relevant content.
What are the 5 major components of a webpage?
The 5 major components of a webpage are the headers, footers, main content area, sidebar, and menu.
The headers and footers are the areas at the top and bottom of the page, respectively, that usually contain the page title, author name, and navigation links.
The main content area is the central column on the page where the majority of the content is located.
The sidebar is typically located to the left or right of the main content area and contains additional links or information.
How do you design a website layout?
With what you’ve read in this blog post, you’ve got plenty of website architecture strategies to use when you’re working on your website. Take your time, and choose the best tactics that work for you. If you’re looking for more advice or information, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!