Experts love to joke about how the site architecture is the hidden hero of search engine optimization. There isn’t much talk about it, and yet it’s doing so much. It’s something that you want to get right on the first try. And to help you do that, we’ll teach you how to create an SEO-friendly website architecture.
So, we’re talking about a foundational thing here. However, a lot of people still use it in the wrong way, or even worse, don’t even think about it. And as we see it, that’s because they don’t understand it. So, we’ll start our story with the basics.
What is website architecture?
The term refers to the structure that organizes and prioritizes information on your site. It’s important for users, as it manages the hierarchy of pages on which they read the content. But also for the search engines, as their crawlers scan your site following the said hierarchy.
If your architecture is good, both users and crawlers will be able to navigate through your site with ease. They’ll know how they got to the page they’re at and where they should go next. But on top of that, it will also let SEO fulfill its function and role in digital marketing. In other words, everything will be able to work as it’s supposed to. So, the better you structurize your site, the higher you’ll position on the SERPs.
And now that you know all the basics, we can tell you how to create the best possible structure.
Plan a hierarchy before you start building the site
If you’re in the process of building your website from scratch, you’re in the ideal position. You have a chance to plan out a site structure that will let you enjoy all the benefits of good SEO. So, start working on your plans even before you start creating pages in CMS. Take your whiteboard (or open a spreadsheet), and start laying it out.
And it’s worth mentioning that you can do this yourself, even if you’re outsourcing site-building and a company like WP Full Care is building your site. Make your version of it, and let them see it. If they find any problems with it, they’ll tell you. To help you do as good of a job as possible, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
- Make your hierarchy logical.
- Keep the number of main categories between two and seven.
- Balance out the number of subcategories with each category.
Create a URL structure that follows the hierarchy
The second step is creating a good URL structure. Now, you already thought through your hierarchy, so this part of the process should be a breeze. The vital thing here is to do everything logically.
Let’s say you run an online shop that sells sports equipment. You have all the categories listed, and each product falls into one of those. So, the link for all the dumbells you have listed should look something like this:
So, the URL structure follows the site hierarchy. Be sure not to skip this step. If you do it properly, you’ll have URLs that contribute to a good ranking. And if you do it the other way around, you’ll only hurt your position on the SERPs.
Create your site navigation
The next thing you need to think about if you want to learn how to create an SEO-friendly website architecture is coding.
Make your navigation structure as shallow as you can
Your navigation structure will follow the hierarchy you’ve established, and that’s clear. However, you must make sure that none of your pages, especially the important ones, aren’t buried too deep in it. The goal here is to make your site shallow. But why do you want to do that?
Well, because it works better. Both users and crawlers find them easier to navigate through, and that’s about everything you should care about. If a user can get to any page in three or fewer clicks, you’ve got yourself a prime example. Add to that SEO tips to take your e-commerce site to another level, and thank us later.
Make a header that lists your main navigation pages.
The header on the top of your site should list out your main pages and nothing more. If you start adding more menu elements to it, things will quickly become distracting and cluttered. People won’t know where to click, and they’ll leave the site a lot sooner than you want them to.
As far as dropdown menus or disappearing menu effects go, they do provide a great user experience, but they don’t enhance SEO. So, if you’ll use them or not is all on you. With that said, we’d advise against image-based navigation. Text links with good anchors give the best results, so stick with them.
Work on your internal links
Internal links are the cherry on top of the cake that you baked. And they’re important for three reasons:
- They help users navigate around the website.
- They help with establishing the information hierarchy.
- And they’re spreading the link juice around your site.
So, these links going from one page of your site to another will help you improve your business website. And the best thing about them is that you only need to keep them simple, and they’ll work. But that doesn’t that you should have just a few of them. As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite. In the ideal scenario, every page on your site will have some link to and from it. So, the more of them you have, the better.
And now you know how to create an SEO-friendly website architecture. It’s a product of careful thinking, spending time on the design and organization. Follow through with every step in this guide, and you’ll end up with a site you’ll be proud of.