When it comes to the fundamental pieces of SEO, we often think of keywords, content, and links. But one component that is often overlooked is our site architecture. How we structure a website will inform our keyword choices, the content we write, and the pages we link to.
Structuring your website is about organizing your web pages into clear, logical categories. This categorization will help Google understand the relationship between the pages within a group. Thinking of webpages in the form of a hierarchy will also help you to organize your content accordingly. Depending on your industry, some natural categories would include your services, features, use cases, industries served, and so on.
A good hierarchical structure will have a positive impact on your site’s performance.
Site Architecture vs. Navigation: An Important Distinction
Although we often think of a site’s architecture in terms of its navigation, these two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Your page hierarchy should inform your navigation.
Establish a clear journey for your visitors to navigate through your site. A logical structure also helps search engines understand the relationships between different pages.
A Point About Your Menu Navigation
Your navigation doesn’t need to match your hierarchy perfectly, but it should be close. The more links you have on a page, the more diluted the link equity being passed becomes. Keep things simple. Supernavs may be the latest design trend, but the more confusing the navigation, the fewer click-throughs you’re going to see.
Deep vs. Flat Hierarchy
Not all web pages are created equal. Some pages are more important or valuable to your business than others, and as such, should be given priority over the less valuable ones.
There are two types of hierarchy: flat and deep. A website with a flat hierarchy has every page on the same level without any subfolders to organize related pages. A website with a deep hierarchy has multiple layers of web pages and subfolders.
Your site’s hierarchy should not be too flat and not too deep, otherwise, search engines will struggle to crawl all of your pages effectively.
How to Build Your Site Architecture for Optimal SEO
So, where does all this information leave us regarding optimizing our website’s architecture for SEO?
1. Figure out your sections: Decide whether you want to break down each section by services, industries, or categories. This will help streamline your website and make navigation easier for users. Define each section and sub-section page in a manner that ensures every product/service page or piece of content is properly accounted for.
2. Clear naming conventions: Use clear language to name each section. Your naming convention should describe what each section is about. This will help users easily navigate to the page they’re looking for.
3. URL structure: Create clean and descriptive URLs that include relevant keywords. Use hyphens to separate words and make the URLs easy to read for both users and search engines. Avoid using unnecessary parameters or session IDs in your URLs.
4. Internal linking: Create links from one page to another on your site. Internal links help search engines discover and index new pages, distribute authority and relevance across your site, and assist users in navigating your content.
The significance of site architecture should not be overlooked for search engine optimization. By organizing webpages into clear and logical categories, utilizing a hierarchical structure, and establishing a well-designed navigation system, the relationship between pages can be effectively conveyed to both search engines and users. This, in turn, improves your site’s indexability and enhances the user experience by helping visitors easily find the information they are looking for.