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