Whether you are working on a website that needs structural help as a result of legacy decisions made by a previous team, or you are making the smart decision of getting your site architecture right the first time around, there is no doubt that it is an important part of SEO. Still, people often highlight the importance of on-page, off-page and various other factors when talking about SEO, but hardly anyone talks about the site architecture and its importance.
As a basic foundation for SEO, the site navigation and URL hierarchy are extremely important factors that determine how well your site can rank for the important keywords. Regardless of whether you put the best content related to the subject, if your site lacks a perfect site architecture the users will find it difficult to navigate and so will the search engines when they need to crawl. This will affect the organic performance of your website. The best way is to get the foundation laid at the beginning and it’s incredibly easy to implement it from scratch.
Site Architecture: How Does It Help SEO?
Having a well-organised site structure with smart internal linking will allow users to navigate and search engines to crawl your website easily. This is very important from an SEO point of view. But in a real case scenario, how does it help in increasing your search visibility and organic performance?
- User Experience: Ranking for the important business-related KW partially depends on how easy your website is to use and navigate. Ideally, the depth should be 3 clicks from the homepage. Search engines evaluate the whole structure of the website. Even though they serve page-based rankings, they also look at where a given page stands in the website’s structure.
- Sitelinks and other SERP features: A well-built site architecture increases the chances of your website featuring sitelinks and other related SERP features. Sitelinks are blocks that feature several internal URLs along with your main domain. Sitelinks make your website stand out from other search results and tend to increase the CTR. Organic sitelinks are automatically pulled out by Google and the only way you can influence this process is to build a well-defined site architecture
- Minimise Technical SEO errors: Most of the crawling and indexing errors arise due to poor site architecture. A proper site architecture would eliminate most of the crawling and indexing errors.
- Optimising the Crawling Budget: Site structure not only makes the crawling process easier but also influences the crawling budget. The crawling budget varies from website to website depending on the size.
How To Create An Seo Friendly Site Architecture?
The time and complexity of the site architecture depend mainly on two things.
- How big is your website?
- How extensive is the KW research that you have done?
Let’s deep dive into the steps of building a perfect site architecture.
- Competitor Analysis
Depending on the scale of your website, planning the structure of your website from scratch can be quite difficult. So, first, take some inspiration from your top-performing competitors’ websites, as their layouts are likely to be near optimal. Using a framework that is comparable to your competitors also gives your visitors a sense of familiarity.
- Keyword Research
Most website owners push this to a later stage, without realising the importance of Keyword research in site architecture. Extensive Keyword research will help you identify the top-level pages based on the keywords that have the potential to drive organic traffic.
Categorising your Keywords will help you create a content hierarchy. This is highly important and useful in larger e-commerce sites. Keyword categorization will help you choose the primary keywords in the specific category and create hierarchies like subcategories, pages and filters that need to be implemented.
- Use An SEO Friendly URL Structure
The URL structure of your website should be relevant to your landing page. It is always advisable to follow a simple URL structure that follows your website hierarchy. The best way to structure your URL is
Avoid using any unnecessary symbols. Use relevant KW inside the URL structure.
- Structuring The Internal Links
It is important to provide a clear connection between the pages on your website. This enhances the site’s navigation and passes link equity, or link juice through the set of pages organised within the website. The basic rule is that each and every page on your website should have a link pointing to and from it. This will help the crawlers find all the content on your website. Make sure to do the internal linking based on the priorities. If there is a page that has the capability of attracting larger traffic, make sure that you have more links pointing to that page.
Avoid orphaned and dead-end pages on your website which don’t have links pointing to and from it.
- Establish A Simple Site Navigation
When we talk about site navigation, we can’t ignore the header part. Headers are the blocks that are placed on the top of the website. Make sure to include all the important pages of the website in the header section.
Establish simple site navigation that will connect your pages and make it easy for visitors to navigate through. In most scenarios, the visitor’s journey starts with the Menu. So make sure that you have most of the important sections covered in the navigation menu. This will help the users navigate to the internal pages easily.
As we discussed earlier, your important pages should be just 3 clicks or less from the home page. This 3 click rule helps in improving the usability of your website and also helps the spiders crawl the pages faster and index them.
Do not underestimate the impact your website architecture can have on your SEO performance. Consider planning a structure that is both user-friendly and search engine-friendly. Group your pages by topics, distribute link authority effectively, and help people get to the pages they are looking for fast.
Once you have implemented the best site architecture for your website, you will also need to maintain it. Websites have a tendency to change as they grow – pages get created in the wrong folders, duplicate versions may appear without anyone realising, and so on. Therefore it is important that you stay on top of things with regular audits and maintain your site architecture. With careful planning and organisation, you can create a website structure that enhances SEO and boosts your ranking effortlessly.