Why Is Website Structure Important to SEO
Site structure greatly impacts user experience (UX). If a site is unstructured, users may struggle to find what they are looking for and seek alternative, better-organised websites. Smooth navigation from one page to another is ideal, guiding users to key information and helping them to understand what you are trying to express or showcase. Google also assesses the structure of your page to understand what content is important, what your website is about or what you are selling, making site structure a key component of SEO.
Homepage and menus
Your homepage is the hub of your website. Your homepage should link to the most important pages on your website, naturally nudging users to the key locations you wish to be viewed most. This helps Google to understand the importance of these pages, and pushes users to the pages, information or products you intend to be seen most. It is important not to overfill your homepage, as this can appear too busy and may divert readers’ attention in too many directions at once to have a successful impact.
Categorizing and structuring your website menus is also crucial to helping users to find what they are looking for, and leading readers to key locations on your website. Like the homepage, it is important to maintain a balance between structure and clutter. Prioritise and do not overload your menus. A clear and organised structure will help users to navigate your website, thereby improving your SEO.
What is Taxonomy Structure?
Taxonomy Structure can prevent a key pitfall in SEO; competing against yourself. Taxonomies are categories, tags and internal links which help users to navigate your website and content. If you write about a variety of aspects on the same subject and do not take care to structure your website coherently, it can be a challenge for Google to comprehend which pages are most important to rank. Classifying, organising, connecting and relating your content can help Google to clarify what is most important, how they all relate and how the algorithm can index this similar but varied content to create maximum impact. Relevance based taxonomies and active internal linking are fantastic methods for enriching and showcasing your content with distinction. Linking to your most important blogs or webpages helps Google to understand the higher rank of that particular page.
There are multiple types of breadcrumbs online.
- Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs
- Attribute-based breadcrumbs
- History-based breadcrumbs
Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs refer to a reference (usually at the top and bottom of a webpage) indicating where the user is on the website. For example, “Home > SEO > How to optimise your SEO”. Each stage of this breadcrumb trail is clickable, enabling the user to navigate the website through this simple, alternative method.
Attribute-based breadcrumbs categorise more based on qualities than classification. Common for e-commerce sites, the breadcrumb trail may help to locate items based on product category, colour, size, gender, model and many other factors.
History-based breadcrumbs are defined by where you are on the website, and where you have previously been. For example, the breadcrumb trail may show your current position on the website, like a hierarchical-based breadcrumb, or present based on a series of attributes selected (like an attribute-based breadcrumb trail such as “Product > Menswear > Trainers”) but before these breadcrumbs are shown, the option to return “< Back to homepage” or “< Back to search results” is presented to lead the user to a prior page visited before they reached their current location on the website.
Google uses breadcrumbs, both in search results to indicate the location of your page on the website and to determine the overall structure of your website as a whole. The more Google understands how all of your website pages connect, the easier it is to index and push users to the correct webpage location based on their search queries.
Breadcrumbs also improve your user experience (UX) by improving the ease of navigation around your website and products. Organic search is common so although the user could begin anywhere on the website depending on what they searched to find it, breadcrumbs are a helpful, ideal way of continuing to browse further content within your website.
Sometimes it can be challenging to assess which content is truly benefiting your website. Gaining clarity on this through Google Analytics can be beneficial as the data may reflect a clearer perspective on what is and is not working to your advantage. Making decisions based purely on the data may not be the only way forward, however. If certain pages, articles or content you view as key to your website is not doing as well as other pieces, ask yourself why? Can it be improved? Is this content lacking in rich keywords compared to other pages?
Pay attention to the analytics and use it to your advantage, whether to improve the rank of your current content or to assess if there are aspects you should make the difficult decision to omit. Being honest about what is and isn’t working is a key step, and confirming that everything you are putting out there is benefitting you, positioned correctly and is relevant to your goals is vital. Equally, if you notice during the restructure process that there are gaps in your content, don’t be afraid to fill them so long as you account for your website organisation and presentation in the process. Growing your content and improving your website is as continuous as restructuring; be sure to account for both.
As your products and services develop, change, and sell out; your online content will evolve. Blogposts may be deleted, products may no longer be available, and simply leaving gaps in your website may not be the best presentation for your customers and readers. Therefore, your structure may too require maintaining and reorganising.
Quantity of content can also require you to restructure your website and individual web pages. Cluttered, busy web pages can confuse and overwhelm viewers, leading to a negative user experience (UX). As your website or blog grows, it is important to continuously evaluate and update your site structure for optimum SEO. In an ideal world, restructuring is a continuous process, but sometimes your content can grow and develop at a rate that is challenging to keep on top of from an organisation perspective.
It is very easy for a rapidly growing website to get out of hand in terms of how to structure and continuously restructure it. If you are struggling to determine the best way forward, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to assess your content and work with you to design a structure best fit for your requirements and goals. Sometimes an outside perspective can bring you the clarity you need