If you are moving through traffic and conversion from the site is extremely important to you, then it is the website structure of the resource that is often one of the most important elements in SEO, which is available for change and adjustment.
And despite this, many optimizers do not take full advantage of this opportunity.
Even on large, established sites, you can make small changes to the structure and you will notice a significant increase in traffic and conversions. For initially under-optimized projects, such changes can serve as a powerful impetus, even though not all optimization work has been completed yet.
What is the website structure?
The simplest definition of structure is how your site’s pages are laid out and accessible for visitors to navigate. Structure is built with navigation and links, but is also linked to other elements such as breadcrumbs, sitemap, sections, categories, and more. A well-designed structure can help site visitors, as well as search engine crawlers, quickly find what they are looking for .
The site structure also helps determine the relevance and importance of your content. With it, you can direct visitors and search engines to the most important pages and signal what your content is about.
In general, the structure is able to make your site as easy to use and understand as possible.
1. Main rule: user satisfaction
When designing a website structure and its implementation, three main issues need to be considered:
What are people looking for?
What is the most important thing for them?
A good structure is able to give the visitor what he wants and what he needs, as clearly and quickly as possible.
Using analytics systems, you can analyze search data and identify pages that:
visit more often than others;
undergo interaction (conversion).
After identifying these pages, it is desirable to place them at the top of the site so that they are the most visible. Don’t hide them in the footer.
The fastest way to improve your website structure for SEO is with user-centric navigation.
2. Rule of three clicks
Today, a fairly large number of optimizers adhere to the so-called “three-click rule” – this means that no important page should be located on the site more than three clicks from the home page (or another very important and authoritative page).
The figure below shows how this looks in practice. Imagine that your home page has links to 100 pages at a time, and each of those pages links to 100 more, and so on. Obviously, when a visitor lands on the home page, he can go to any of the 1,000,000 pages in total. in 3 clicks.
Let’s say that each page contains more than 100 links, then the number of pages accessible from it in three clicks grows exponentially:
200 links per page give access to 8,000,000 pages;
500 links per page give access to 125,000,000 pages;
1000 links per page give you access to 1 billion pages in three clicks.
But, it is worth noting that such a system for building the site structure is more of an option than a strict rule. There are many situations where a three-click structure is neither appropriate nor necessary.
For pages that have a lot of links to other pages (for example, product cards in an online store), there are three ways to organize them in the site structure and make the information on them easy to read:
button “Show all”;
The easiest and most understandable way is to break up long lists with pagination. For the search engine, this will mean that the information on all the resulting pages is one.
It is worth noting that it is necessary to properly optimize pagination pages, since in the eyes of search engines they are low-quality pages. It is best to close them in the robots.txt file from indexing and write “Nofollow” in the code of the pages themselves or indicate “Rel = Canonical” on the very first page in the pagination list.
4. Use HTML Sitemaps
Nowadays, almost everyone understands the importance of an XML sitemap, but HTML sitemaps are used less and less.
Let’s get them back!
After all, the HTML sitemap is available for viewing by visitors and search robots, thereby giving clues about the structure of the site.
5. Links from new pages to old ones
This method is one of the oldest SEO tricks, and it’s amazing how effective it still works today.
Whenever you post new content on your site, try to link to a few pages of your earlier posts, if appropriate, of course.
6. Navigation breadcrumbs
Quite a lot has already been written about the importance and necessity of breadcrumbs for navigation, user experience, and SEO.
It is not difficult to guess that they play an important role in the structure of the site, namely:
show the URL’s relative position in the existing section hierarchy;
link the first and last page in this hierarchy;
help visitors not get lost in navigating the site.
And due to the fact that search engines display breadcrumbs on the SERP, this can have a positive effect on CTR.
It is difficult to create the ideal site structure for SEO, it will take painstaking work, but the reward for this work can be quite large. Therefore, you need to constantly monitor the indicators by top SEO services and make adjustments to the existing structure at regular intervals.
This will help not only have a positive impact on SEO, but also make your site more user-friendly overall.