How to Design and Develop a SEO-Friendly Website Structure

SEO-Friendly Website Structure
Learn to craft a SEO-friendly website structure: optimize URLs, use strategic internal links, create clear navigation, and implement sitemaps for top results.

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Creating an SEO-Friendly website structure is crucial for improving your website’s rankings on search engines. A well-structured website not only enhances user experience but also helps search engines find and index all your site pages.

Note: A periodic review of your website’s structure using tools like Ahrefs’ site Explorer can help you optimize your website for SEO.

What is a Website Structure?

This is the organization and order of website’s pages, interconnected through menus, internal linking, and content. This helps site visitors and search engines navigate and understand the website’s content as it facilitates easy navigation and influences the website’s SEO ranking.

Website Structure

There are different types of website structures including:

  1. Hierarchical
  2. Sequential
  3. Matrix
  4. Database

Why is a Good Website Structure Important for SEO

A good website structure is crucial for several. Just like a hotel imagine walking in for the first time. You won’t immediately know where each section is. But from context, you’ll know there should be a reception, customers sitting area, kitchen and a washroom for clients.

This is similar to how search engine like Google and Bing encountering your site. If disorganized like having the washroom next to the kitchen and the reception next to the toilet, search engine may not be able to make sense of the purpose of each of your webpages.

  1. Helps search engines understand your website structure: A well-structured website helps search engines like Google and Bing index your pages and understand your website’s structure purpose, content and offerings, leading to more relevant search results for users looking for products or services.
  2. Enhances User Experience: A good website structure makes your site logical, tidy and easy to navigate, which in turn increases user satisfaction and turns your visitors into customers. users should know where they are on your website and where to go to find what they are looking for.
  3. Improves Search Engine Rankings: A well-structured website is easier search engine crawl bots to access and index your content, which can improve your search engine rankings.
  4. Prevents Keyword Cannibalization: A good website structure can help you avoid having competing web pages and keyword cannibalization, leading to better SEO visibility.
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To create a good website structure, consider the following:

  • Plan your site hierarchy in advance and use taxonomies like categories and tags to group, link and present your content effectively.
  • Use internal links, navigation, and breadcrumbs to improve your site structure.
  • Ensure your homepage includes links to all important pages of your website and guides users to other sections.
  • Keep your site’s structure simple and easy to navigate for both users and search engine crawl bots.

By following these guidelines, you can create a website structure that is beneficial for both users and search engines, ultimately leading to a successful online presence. In fact, according to survey 94% of users consider ease of navigation to be the most important website feature.

How to Best Structure Your website

Here are tips for building an optimal website structure.

  • Utilize HTML and XML sitemaps
  • Ensure users can reach pages within a few clicks
  • Develop user-friendly navigation menu
  • Optimize your websites URLs
  • Implement breadcrumbs for navigation menu
  • Employ internal linking strategically

Utilize HTML and XML sitemaps

A sitemap shows all the pages, images, videos and files on your website. With a sitemap your able to show how different parts of your site relates to each other in crawlable format for search engines.

XML sitemaps are specifically for search engines, providing information about the structure of your site and helping search engines index your content more efficiently.

Example: An HTML sitemap on the footer of your website can list categories and pages for users. Simultaneously, an XML sitemap submitted to search engines outlines the entire site structure, ensuring efficient crawling and indexing, like:

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
  <url>
    <loc>http://example.com/page1</loc>
    <lastmod>2023-01-01</lastmod>
  </url>
  <url>
    <loc>http://example.com/page2</loc>
    <lastmod>2023-01-02</lastmod>
  </url>
  <!-- Additional URLs -->
</urlset>

Ensure Users Can Reach Pages Within a Few Clicks

Minimize the number of clicks required for users to navigate from the homepage to any given page. This ensures a more efficient and user-friendly experience.

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Organize your content in a logical and hierarchical manner, allowing users to find information quickly.

Example: If your e-commerce site sells electronics, make sure popular categories like “Laptops” or “Smartphone” are easily accessible from the homepage, allowing users to reach specific product pages within minimal clicks.

Develop User-Friendly Navigation Menu

Create a clear and intuitive navigation menu that prominently displays essential sections and pages of your website.

Categorize and label menu items in a way that reflects the content and purpose of each section.

Example: a clothing retailer could organize their navigation menu with clear categories like “Men,” “women,” and “kids.” Subcategories like “Shoes and Accessories” should be easily visible facilitating navigation for customers.

Optimize Website URLs

Craft clean, descriptive and user-friendly URLs that convey the content of the page. Avoid using complex or cryptic URL structures. A well-optimized URL contributes to better search engine visibility.

Example: Instead of generic URL like “website.com/page123,” opt for descriptive one like “website.com/blog/healthy-recipes.” This not only informs users about the content but also aids search engines in understanding the page.

Implement Breadcrumbs for Navigation Menu

Breadcrumbs provide users with a trail of links that show their path from the homepage to the current page. This aids navigation and helps users understand their location within the site.

Breadcrumbs also contribute to search engine optimization by providing additional context to search engines.

Example: If a user is viewing a product page for “running shoes,” bread crumbs could display “Home>Shoes>Running Shoes,” allowing users to navigate back easily and understand the product’s context within the site’s structure.

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Employ Internal Linking Strategically

Internal links connect different pages within your website. Use them to guide visitors from one relevant piece of content to another.

Strategic internal linking enhances user experience and helps search engines understand the hierarchy and relationships between pages on your site.

 Example: If you have a blog post discussing “Healthy Recipes,” strategically link to another relevant post on “Fitness Tips” within the content. This not only keeps users engaged but also helps search engines identify related content.

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