Site Structure

Website structure is one of the main foundations of SEO. The key to a good website structure is organization. The three pillars of a website’s structure are the codes supporting the website, the links connecting the pages together and the technologies used to develop and maintain the website. The more complex a website gets, the more important it is to uphold a functioning website structure.

Why Site Structure Is Important

Website structure is important for many reasons. Having a search engine friendly website was briefly mentioned in bits and pieces throughout the previous chapters. In order to have a website that a search engine can easily crawl through, index, understand and categorize properly; it has to have a solid site structure.

The next reason why website structure is important is for troubleshooting purposes. During the design, launch, maintenance and future redesign of the website, there are things bound to go wrong. It’s unavoidable. That does not mean that the website isn’t good, it just happens. It’s easier to detect and fix website related issues with an organized website structure.

The last reason is for SEO. Incorporating SEO in the site structure will make it easier to expand and pinpoint which areas of the website needs work based on statistical feedback after it has been launched. It is also good to have a solid site structure if you’re planning to use more complex SEO methods in the future such as link wheels.

How To Develop A Solid Site Structure

The first step to building a website structure is making a plan. It would help a lot to draw a structure that’s similar to an organization chart. Naturally, the homepage is at the very top. From there, it would depend on the various sub categories of your website needs or preferences. It is important to take note that this is just an initial layout. You can always expand as you go along but you have to commit to a website structure first. This is also the time you can start naming each section. Its highly advisable to consider keywords in this process due to the SEO mechanics at work once the website goes live. A solid site structure plan should resemble a pyramid.

Internal Link Structure

The last part of the planning stage is mapping out the internal links. It’s tempting to link everything to the home page and interweave all the pages together. Yes its true that all the pages in the website are technically related somehow, but they should not be all linked together. From an SEO point of view, linking pages that are only closely related to each other can increase the website’s ranking possibility because of the relevancy of the links. If you’re linking pages that aren’t directly related to each other and making a maze out of the structure, it could also decrease the visitor’s experience.

Site Structure And URLs

After making the plan of the website structure, the second step is creating URLs for each page. In this stage, it is important once again to consider keywords for SEO purposes. It is helpful to keep the URL short. Finding a balance between the right keywords and a short URL is the key here. There are some standards for choosing an effective URL for a webpage. Some of them may include the following:

  • Do not use mixed case letters (upper and lower) due to some servers are case-sensitive
  • Avoid numbers if possible, words are easier to remember
  • Use hyphens to split multiple words
  • Incorporate common words or phrases that are associated with each other

Final Tips About Site Structure

It is important to put in equally as much optimization in a minor sub category webpage as you would the homepage. This is because other pages of your website may appear in the search engine results page. Keywords are crucial at this early stage SEO website planning. There is a whole chapter devoted to keywords later on in the book. Visualize the website navigation from a visitor’s perspective, this will help keep categories and internal linking simple. Get a second opinion before committing to a website structure. Feedback during the early stages can be very useful during web development and SEO. Lastly, be practical.