When we talk about improving website rankings in the SERP, all we hear is regarding incorporation of SEO practices like content creation and updating with the right keywords, links, metadata, and other optimization techniques. One crucial aspect that we overlook is the importance of site structure to enhance SEO performance.
Whether you plan to employ an in-house SEO team or outsource organic SEO services from the external agency, make sure you instruct your SEO team and developers to create a website with an SEO-friendly structure.
So, let’s take a quick look at a few points that highlight the importance of site structure, and gain understanding on elements that are needed to build a search-friendly website.
Pay Attention to Your Website’s Depth
For any website, depth is defined as, “the number of clicks required to reach any of its pages from the homepage.” A website with a deep navigation structure requires an extensive number of clicks to reach the desired page whereas flat or shallow structures require fewer clicks in comparison.
Shallow navigation structure is preferred, from both usability and crawler perspective, as it prevents important content from getting buried within pages, and makes it easier for a search engine to look for and index your site.
Great Site Structure Contributes to Better Crawling and Improved User- Experience
Google’s algorithm uses information from search parties to rank your site. If a search party finds your website well-structured and logical, then, the probability of him bouncing off early is greatly reduced, and that helps improve dwell-time, which ultimately leads to better ranking.
It is recommended to break down the content into distinct and unique categories that have sub-categories relating to the main one, under which they’re located. Keep your core categories to a minimum number i.e. between 2 and 7, with even numbered sub-categories between them. One category with 10 sub-categories and another one with just 2, can make the site look unbalanced.
Apart from the users, this categorization of the content also helps the crawlers to understand your site better and find your content faster.
Nail the Perfect Website Navigation
When creating navigation, try using schemes based on XHTML or CSS. They can be more easily read and indexed by the search engine crawlers, thus impacting your ranking in the SERP.
Get Your Sitemap Right
A sitemap is a file with a complete list of web pages of a website to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of the site content. This file helps the web crawlers to crawl your website more intelligently. Though most sites use only XML sitemaps these days, it is recommended to have both XML and HTML sitemaps. XML sitemaps are designed keeping search engines in mind; while HTML sitemaps are designed for humans.
To build an HTML sitemap, you need to create a new HTML page with a logical list of all the URLs. This will then be reflected on your site’s navigation. For XML, you can use tools like https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/or any other WordPress plug-ins to create your sitemaps.
Don’t Skip Internal Linking
It is not easy for large websites to get all their vital content accessible to their audience within 3-4 clicks. This is where internal linking plays a huge role. It can significantly decrease your site’s depth and make more content accessible. The basic idea behind internal linking is that every page on the website has one more link to other pages. Here are few points that highlight the importance of internal linking structure in a website:
- Drastically decreases no. of clicks required to access each page on the website.
- Provides an opportunity to use keyword-rich anchor texts.
- Helps establish information hierarchy across the website.
- Significantly improves the user experience.
Internal linking should be used wisely and not to just utilize the keyword-rich anchor texts. The focus should be on maintaining the hierarchical structure and provide relevant content to the audience via internal linking.
There are a number of factors that impact SEO rankings, and site structure is one of the most important and overlooked methods among the developers and digital marketing agencies. In the end, working on preparing a perfect site structure requires a lot of efforts on planning, analysis, organization, and design. But, if you nail it, your site’s visibility will only be on the rise.
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