Nov 20, 2018

Website UX Structure for Better SEO


The best SEO practices today are directly

linked to user satisfaction. Ten years ago, all you needed to achieve SEO

success were keyword stuffing and tons of backlinks from other websites. It was

easy to rank number one within a few months - even low quality websites.

Now, Google and other search engines

prioritize relevance and analyse hundreds of factors to determine quality. A

huge chunk of that relevance is scored on the ease of your provided user

experience. For example,

51% of online traffic currently

comes through mobile devices. Because Google is always striving to provide the

most relevant results to search queries, they announced the mobile first index

in October of 2017. This meant that site crawlers will determine the relevance

of a website using its mobile site first, before its desktop site. If your

website does not offer a good mobile user experience, Google’s algorithms will

work against you. Regardless of how much SEO effort you put in. With a poor

mobile site, your website will continue to rank lower on search engines.

Why is UX Structure Important to Search Engines?

1. Defined sitelinks

Sitelinks are the internal links that are

often indicated when a website pops up on a SERP. These links are one of the

first signs of a well-structured website. They make it easier for visitors to

find the pages or information they need. Sitelinks also increase clickthrough

rates, as they encourage even the laziest users to access what they need with

just one click. All of these factors add up to a very promising SEO advantage.

The challenging part is, you can’t create

sitelinks by yourself. Nope. Google selects websites that should be automatically

assigned sitelinks. And they make no provision to put in a request for one. The

only way a website can receive sitelinks is if they maintain a good site


If you’re not investing resources to building

a good site structure, then you’re probably losing traffic, sales, and other

conversions to your oversight.

2. A defined path for web crawlers

Every search engine has its web crawlers

(Googlebot for example) going over websites and indexing their content for

better search results. This is how they find relevant content, and determine

your page rank on SERPs.

With a well-defined site structure, it becomes

a lot easier for web crawlers to find your content, assess it, and index as

needed. For this reason, Google encourages users to develop their sitemaps.

WIthout a good structure, crawlers may never find some of the pages on your

website. To ensure that your website benefits from the routine crawling

process, it is important that you maintain a good structure.

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3. Great user experience

User experience goes beyond impressive

graphics. The core/primary structure of the website should be developed for

easy use. There should be a logical reason why each part of your website is

designed as it is.

As internet users, there is a defined path we

already follow when we visit websites. For example, I know that to find the

privacy policy of a website, I should check the footer. Your users have become

accustomed to a trail. I’m not saying you can’t be creative and deviate from

it, but your structure should never confuse your users. They should be able to

find what they need easily.

These essential UX factors affect not

just users, but also Google’s algorithms. If users are having trouble with your

website and leaving too early, your high bounce rate will eventually affect

your performance on the SERP.

Your site structure is the needed foundation

for all your SEO efforts. You can’t achieve SEO success if you don’t have a

good structure because you will be against search engine guidelines, and they

will not rank your pages.

4 Steps to Developing a Good Site Structure

Every website has a structure, planned or not.

Creating a structure for a new website is a lot easier than reorganizing an

existing one. This is not to say that it can’t be done. Here’s where to start.

A. Create your website ladder

If you’re still in the planning phase of your

website, then you still have the amazing opportunity to plan where everything

will go. Use an excel spreadsheet, or a real-life drawing paper to map out your

website pages. Decide on parent pages and sub-categories. Do this before you

create your first page.

The ladder format of your website should make

sense. Use the same organizing skill applied to arrange your refrigerator. Main

categories should be unique and used as a parent for related subcategories.

Also, try to minimize the number of main

categories created. Don’t go above 7, which should only be reached if you have

a lot of diverse content. If you have just one or two subcategories under the

main category, look at your other options and try to fit them under another

main category. Organizational balance is one of the first features of a

well-structured website.

B. Use a synchronized URL structure

Avoid creating URLs for your pages using a

mash-up of numbers and symbols. Your URL structure should contain the name of

your page and also follow your website ladder.

For example, if your website is

myhealthsite123.com, it should follow this format:

To get to the blog, myhealthsite123.com/blog
To get to the Keto section under blog,


Doing this provides several benefits for your

website. First off, it includes your major keywords in the URL, promoting SEO.

It also makes it easier for users to predict page names. I can’t count how many

times I found websites’ blog by just adding ‘/blog’ behind their URLs. Finally,

it provides a clear path for site crawlers to find and index your pages.

C. Create a header and a footer

These are the two most important directories

on your website. Your header should be used to list all the main categories and

their subcategories. If you’re also going to include your main menu in the

footer section, ensure that it is a duplicate of the header menu. In the footer

section, you can include links to other (less) relevant pages, and needed

information regarding the website. The footer is the last section of any


D. Use internal linking

Every page on your website should link to

another internal page. Doing this pushes your conversion optimized pages to

search engines as the most relevant pages to rank. It shows site crawlers that

one, two, or three pages are very important, and how to get to them.

Internal linking is also important for users.

Service-based businesses are always encouraged to put their contact details on

every website page, as potential clients might want to convert at any point.

Beyond that, linking internally further

promotes your site ladder/hierarchy, giving more navigation help.

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The important thing to remember is that site

structure will happen, whether it is intentional or not. When it is a product

of publishing pages as you wish, then you start losing CTOs and other

conversion goals. It also hinders your SEO efforts, as search engines will

continue to rank your website as not relevant enough. View your website as a

whole construct when planning its structure. When you have a structure mapped

out, your SEO efforts will fall into place easily.

About the author


Rait Raak

Rait is a full time online marketer, SEO enthusiast and founder of Estonian SEO company RankBrain Media. Through his 10 years of SEO experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses to dominate the search engines and fight their way to the top. Besides SEO and marketing, he loves music, photography and plays guitar as a hobby.

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