Site structure is of utmost importance if you wish to reap the benefits of search engine optimization. Oftentimes, it goes ignored as website owners fail to understand the significance of site structure. Deciding on the structure takes time and careful thought. And once you apply it, you should still keep checking the results using a rank tracker tool. Here, we will share everything you need to know about to get things on your website the right way.
Top-Down Vs Bottom-Up Website Structures
To improve your site’s structure for SEO, you first need to understand the main structure categories. There are four main types of structures that fall into two categories i.e. top-down or bottom-up. These structures differ from each other based on what the website owner is trying to achieve and come with their shared sets of pros and cons.
The four main types of site structure are Hierarchical, Sequential, Database, and Matrix.
To begin with, top-down structures are very precise and well-planned. In simple words, everything needs to be planned out from the start. Once the final decisions have been made and implemented, it’s almost impossible to change the flow and setup of the website.
On the positive side, it makes it easier for the users and search engines to navigate your pages. On the other hand, the bottom-up structure comes into place gradually and allows you to make adjustments along the way. These structures make it easy for the website owners but difficult for the users.
How To Improve Your Site Structure?
Now that we have discussed the major categories of website structures, let us now shift our attention to improving the site structure.
Optimize The Site For People, Not Bots
The first thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to improving site structure for SEO is optimizing the site for the people and not bots. In the past, website owners were extremely focused on the bots and hardly paid attention to the user experience. Today, the distance has significantly decreased as more and more people prefer experience since most day-to-day tasks are carried out on smartphones.
On the other hand, optimizing the site for bots is not a bad idea as it helps the search engines rank your site and attract organic traffic. However, you cannot completely ignore the conversions. If the site happens to be too confusing for the users, they will simply stop engaging with the site leaving you with nothing but bots.
Keep Links In A Reasonable Number On Pages
As a website owner, you would want the visitors to engage and go deeper into the site. This can only happen if you balance on-page time and link interactions. Make sure that you maintain this balance by keeping the links to a reasonable number and ensuring they direct the visitors to the site providing information they are in search of in the first place.
You might have come across many sites that are flooded with links. While it might bring the owner some benefit but will simply irritate the users especially if the links are directing them to something irrelevant. Avoiding such basic mistakes is important as these mistakes might cause permanent damage in the long run. So, only follow white hat techniques and check website ranking on Google frequently to know if you’re on the right track.
Utilize Heading Hierarchy
While the structure of the site is important, so is the structure of the individual pages. Utilizing heading hierarchy is important as it helps the users and bots understand the structure of your site. If you are covering a lengthy topic, you should make sure it is split up into different sections or headings.
If that is not the case, the user will find themselves simply lost in the content. Keep in mind that a user will spend on average not more than a few seconds scrolling through the page. And, if they are not able to find the information they need, they will skip to another source.
However, if the content and pages organized used proper headings, they would get straight down to finding and reading through the content they wanted without spending much time and effort.
Improving site structure is specifically done to improve navigation for the users and visitors. Users should find it both easy to move forward and backward. And, the best way to do that is by showing breadcrumbs. Considering the value of breadcrumbs, there are still some sites that fail to include a full category hierarchy on mobile product pages.
This could be a difficult situation for the users as they are stuck in the middle without having any idea of how to navigate through the site. Therefore, showing breadcrumbs is necessary as it helps the users navigate to their desired pages within a few clicks.
Keep Up With Keyword Research
Although there are many different techniques and strategies to improve your site structure, one thing that remains the same is keyword research. If you want to come up with content that resonates with your audience, you are going to need to put some effort and time into keyword research.
However, you must choose the right keywords. The best way to do that is to observe and analyze your competitor’s site. You do not have to copy the entire technique but just get an idea of how they are utilizing the keywords.
Include Schema Markup
Finally, to create a great site structure, you should consider using schema markup. This means using structured data including JSON code, tags, etc. Such data has also been recommended by Google and sites using them have reported a significant increase in organic traffic.
How To Pick The Best Type Of Website Structure?
The best way to pick the best type of website structure depends on the type of website you are trying to build. As mentioned earlier, the decision depends on your preferences and needs considering each carries its pros and cons. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to pick a type of site structure that aligns with your core ideas and the way you want the users to interact with the site.
If you are building a site that will contain a lot of information and data, you should pick the hierarchical or database structure. For sites that offer bite-sized chunks of data in chronological order, it is best to pick a sequential structure.
And, for sites that contain multiple pages, a huge amount of information with images, links, etc. the matrix structure will be the best choice. This is one of the oldest structures and continues to help sites gain organic traffic. This also helps users acquire as much information as possible with the relevant links attached as well.
Improving site structure for SEO involves using the right techniques and strategies. You need to keep the site organized and easy for the users to navigate. Your focus should be the users and not bots and search engines even though you want the search engines to rank you higher in the search results. Because the structure is helpful for the users, the search engines will detect it and reward you with higher ranker. Check your SEO rank report frequently to know where your site stands.