The Importance of Website Structure for SEO

What is Website Structure?

Website structure refers to how different pages of a website are linked and presented to each other. Building a good website structure is crucial for both visitors and search engines, as it can help visitors navigate the site easily and facilitate web crawlers to search for new content, thereby improving the website's ranking.

Types of Website Structure

There are various types of website structures, with the most common being flat structure and deep structure. The flat structure design allows users and search engines to browse the entire website with just a few clicks on the homepage, while the deep structure requires more time to find specific information.

The following are four main types of website structure:

1. Layered Model: Similar to a tree structure, the homepage is the trunk, and various categories and pages are branches. Suitable for organizing a large amount of information without making the website appear cluttered.

2. Sequential Model: Suitable for creating individual web pages, guiding users through a step-by-step process, suitable for small businesses and websites with minimal information.

3. Matrix Model: Display content in word cloud format, suitable for websites with large amounts of data but a single focus, helping users select the content they are interested in.

4. Database Model: A dynamic website structure method based on page metadata to classify content and sites, requiring professional knowledge to organize content.

Why is website structure important for SEO?

An SEO-friendly website structure can make it easier for search engines to find and determine the importance of pages, and also helps in evaluating page performance. Search engines typically rank sites based on user friendliness, so establishing a friendly website structure is crucial.

Methods to create an SEO-friendly website structure

1. Planning website structure: Develop a structural plan before starting website construction, ensuring no content is overlooked.

2. Consider information hierarchy: Use an inverted pyramid structure to ensure both search engines and users understand page importance.

3. Use heading hierarchy: Optimize H1, H2 tags, include relevant keywords for the business, and ensure a clear and coherent heading structure.

Introduction to website structure and its importance for SEO. By properly planning and optimizing the website structure, you can improve the website's ranking in search engines, attract more traffic and visitors.

Determine the priority of URLs in the navigation bar.

The website navigation is often filled with unnecessary pages that serve no purpose—these pages do not increase traffic, attract visitors, or lead to conversions. When you remove these pages from the website, it becomes easier to use, thus improving conversion rates and engagement. It also helps the remaining pages on the website rank higher in search results, as Google's robots can crawl the website more easily.

People don't have time to search on your website. Guide them to follow the path you want them to take, and make the whole process easy, fun, and interesting. For your navigation menu, consider adding/removing unnecessary links, focusing on the most valuable pages (consider multiple navigation menus when appropriate).

Homepage should be clickable in a maximum of 3 clicks.

Using the correct internal links is an important technique to help optimize website SEO structure. Internal links help connect your website and assist users in navigating your website correctly. If you link your website and it takes too many clicks from the homepage to reach a subpage, it may have a real negative impact on user experience and SEO. Ensure that the URL is a maximum of 3 clicks away from the homepage - over 40% of experts also recommend this approach.

Creating a website structure with a crawl depth of more than 3 clicks from the homepage will have a negative impact on optimization work because it makes it harder for users and search engine crawlers to reach deeply buried pages on the website. Since crawlers have to crawl billions of pages, they will not crawl that deeply. Therefore, having your conversion pages [close to your] homepage is very important.

Display Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are short navigation menus typically displayed on pages other than the homepage, and they can help users navigate your website.

My suggestion is to always use breadcrumbs as a form of navigation, it not only makes your SEO structure cleaner, but also forces you to think logically when building a website. It can make it easier for visitors to find the information they are looking for. In addition, breadcrumbs help Google's crawlers to better organize the site, leading to additional links displayed in SERP.

Link to other relevant pages on your website

Don't forget to create an internal linking strategy, as your own website pages have a great influence on each other's SEO rankings. You want to map out the 'page ranking' process for the entire site, including the anchor text you use to link to each page. This can be a very proactive way to do keyword optimization without incurring Google penalties. Use descriptive internal links! Simply using 'click here' or 'more info' and then linking these words to the target page is not enough, instead, make it clear to Googlebot what the content of the target page is.

Use pillar and cluster method

When building your website, identify your conversion pages or pages you want to rank for high traffic keywords. Then make sure you have content supporting the conversion pages and link back to them. This helps signal to Google that you are focusing on these conversion pages, and the rest of your content should point to these pages as high authority pages on your website.

Internal linking is a great way to optimize website structure and improve SEO. You can follow this process: "Identify pages and articles on your website discussing the same topic. Then, add internal links between them through relevant SEO. This will enhance your SEO while helping search engines understand your website structure. One commonly overlooked recommendation is reciprocal linking. Ensure your high-traffic blog posts link to your product pages and other related articles for faster navigation by users and crawlers."

Assign parent category

When you publish content, you should ensure that all pages and posts, except for a few specific ones, have a consciously designated parent. If you do not assign content to a parent page, by default, they will be assigned to the homepage. This may lead to a very flat site structure with just one homepage and dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of pages underneath it. Google cannot determine which pages are most important. Visitors will have a hard time finding the content they are looking for on your site, and you will struggle to determine the performance of groupings like services and blog posts.

Classify products according to search intent

When creating an SEO-friendly website structure, it is essential to group products and purchasing styles logically together. For example, if you are selling personalized socks, ideally you would want to increase the product's exposure by capturing as many relevant keywords around how people can find your website. In addition to SEO optimized product pages, you could also consider using top-level categories like 'Shop by Recipient' or 'Shop by Occasion' and then setting target pages underneath, such as 'Mother's Day Socks' or 'Birthday Socks'. These optimized pages can then begin to match the potential customers' 'search intent'.

Maintain a single category for each blog post

If your website or blog is running on WordPress, I strongly recommend assigning a category to each blog post, which reduces the likelihood of duplicate content and helps you categorize your content strategy. If you are weak in some areas and strong in others, you can reconsider your plan and strike a balance.

Remove single pages

Recommend avoiding having only one item on the website. Having individual product or subcategory pages leads to unnecessary clicks and is not beneficial for SEO. Deleting unnecessary pages can make the website structure more streamlined and reduce competition with the final destination pages.

URL structure organized by category

Let the main pillar pages of the website be on the root domain, and build supporting articles based on the URL. Changing WordPress's permalinks structure from date-based to only blog posts helps maintain fresh and consistent URL articles.

Create a site map

A site map guides people (and Google) on how to navigate the website documents. Creating an XML site map helps search engines understand the website structure, identify important and valuable pages.

Delete old content

Removing unnecessary old content, especially unused old products in e-commerce websites, helps optimize the website structure and improve SEO effectiveness.

Group similar keywords on one page

Conduct extensive keyword research, group similar keywords on one page to build an SEO-friendly website structure and enhance user experience.

Check competitors' website structure

Studying competitors' website structures, learning from their experiences and practices, can help optimize your own website structure and improve SEO effectiveness.

Using standardized tags

Using standardized tags correctly to reduce duplicate content and ensure search engines index the website correctly. Particularly important for e-commerce websites.

Optimizing for people, not robots

When designing website structure, consider user experience, provide simple and clear navigation paths to enhance user experience and SEO rankings.

Keeping it simple

Keeping website structure simple, ensuring coverage of key topics, and providing clear internal linking paths to enhance user experience and SEO effectiveness.