What is Site Structure?
When building a house, from the beginning, it is crucial to have a solid foundation in place. If that isn’t the case your home will eventually have issues or even fall apart. Much like your website, it needs to be architecturally sound from the beginning so it will not only stay in place but so it can continuously grow and expand. Website structure is the way your site is put together and the way crawlers and users move through your site. This is not to be confused with navigation design, which is how a website looks on the outside. It is important that each page on your site be linked together in some way and explains to the user their next click. Site structure is the way your site links related pages to one another in a hierarchy.
Why is it Important for Digital Marketing?
User Experience (UX) – Each Page Should Explain the Next Click
- Users should be able to dig deep into your website and find exactly what they are looking for. If that’s not possible, they will quickly leave and find a better, more straightforward site. With that, your pages need to provide users with either a new page to navigate to or an action they should take. Add internal linking to pages on your site and also give the user a clear call to action so they can either purchase the product they are researching or contact you for more information. So, when users are on any page of your site, there should always be something for them to do next. Your click-through-rate (CTR), time spent on site and bounce rate are affected if users aren’t provided with a clear way to move through your site.
Crawlability – What is it and Why Does it Matter?
- It is necessary for search engines to be able to crawl through your website in a logical order to learn what your site is about. Pages of your site need to be crawled to be indexed properly. So how do you improve your sites crawlability? Go through your entire site and make sure internal links are included on each page so that crawlers don’t hit any dead ends; to avoid this, ensure the appropriate redirects are in place.
What to Think About When Creating your Site Structure?
- Hierarchy of Pages
- Your pages should start with the more broad, general pages at the top level and as you get deeper into the site, the pages should become more and more specific. By planning out and creating a general structure from the beginning, you are allowing your website to grow and expand easily and efficiently. If your site doesn’t have a clear structure from the start, this could cause foundational issues and a “messy” website down the road.
- URL Structure
- Your URL structure should match your site structure. This will make it clear for crawlers and users to navigate through your site and know exactly what product category they are under. For example, the URL below shows that your site starts with broad pages and gets increasingly specific as they navigate deeper into the site.
- Low Depth of Pages
- It is should only take 3-4 clicks to get to a product listing page on a site. The number of clicks should be used as a guideline, but you should always keep in mind that it is much easier for users and crawlers to access pages in the fewest number of clicks. Some bigger sites that have over 6 clicks to get to the product pages have a hard time getting adequately indexed by Google. Also, much like navigation, if users can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they are prone to leave and find a new site.
- Internal Linking
- Internal linking should make it effortless to navigate to related pages of a site. Relevant keyword anchor text is used to link these pages together and to give Google an even clearer understanding of what the page is about and its importance. Also, it will give your users a reason to dig deeper into your site and find more information. Internal linking should be a continuous effort; when new pages are added, they should link to older pages of the site and vice versa.
When is the Best Time to Implement Site Structure?
The ideal time to think about a solid site structure is before launching your site, but a redesign is also a great time site structure can be reworked. Strong site structure is crucial when building new pages of your site. It essentially sets the tone for future SEO efforts and helps with allowing your site to grow over time without much hassle. Get in touch with a Digital Marketing Specialist today to see how your site structure can benefit from an SEO’s perspective.
Written by: Erika Williams, Digital Marketing Support Specialist at Ecreativeworks