When an SEO specialist discusses SEO services with clients, they will refer to ranking factors like content and backlinks, to name just two of the hundreds of ranking factors that Google includes in its algorithm. Another topic that may get mentioned less often, but is equally vital to securing good search rankings, is website structure. Website structure plays a huge role in giving evidence to Google that it should rank a website higher, and there are several reasons for that being the case.
Websites Optimised For Search Engine Spiders; if a website is structured properly it means when the spiders that searched engines, including Google, send out to crawl websites, what they find provides the correct information. This includes letting search engines know what each page is ranked for, and what its content relates to.
Allows Optimised Internal Linking: Internal links may not have the kudos or the influence on rankings that external backlinks do, but they are still important in SEO. If a website is structured logically then internal links have more effect, such as allowing the authority of external backlinks to flow throughout the website.
Provides A Greater User Experience: Google rewards websites that provide excellent user experience and your website’s structure can help achieve that. An optimised website structure will have clear navigation, fast loading pages and high clickthrough rates, all of which are positive signals to Google’s algorithm.
Now we have discussed how an optimised website structure helps rankings, here are five tips that will enable you to take your website’s structure closer to the expectations that Google has when its algorithm is evaluating rankings.
Tip #1 – Plan Out Your Website’s Structure: If you plan out your website’s hierarchy properly before it is created or redesigned, you can ensure that it follows a logical organisational structure that enhances your SEO. Best practices include limiting main categories to no more than seven and using sub-categories for some pages.
Tip #2 – URL Optimisation: With your website mapped out, you can now focus on optimising the URLs throughout your website. Here you want to create concise page URLs that include the keywords which you want individual pages to rank for. This not only helps search crawlers identify those keywords but also makes it easier for users to identify pages when they see the URLs.
Tip #3 – Create A Simple, Logical And Shallow Navigation Structure: The navigation on your website should be as simple and clear as you can make it. One way to achieve that is to make it ‘shallow’. This means that your menu should go as wide as possible rather than deep to avoid visitors having to click too many links to reach a page they wish to visit.
Tip #4 – Ensure Headers And Footers Compliment Your Website’s Structure: Do not make the mistake of thinking your website’s header is just something you place a graphic in. On the contrary, as this is where you are likely to have your menu buttons or links, it pays to give it some thought concerning its layout and appearance. The same applies to your footer if you are including internal links there too.
Tip #5 – Use Internal Links Wisely: As with external backlinks, it is not necessarily the number of internal links that will benefit your SEO, but rather the quality of them. Quality internal inking is achieved by making its structure optimal so that when the search engine spiders visit, your website makes sense to them.