At the core of any good SEO work is a sound site structure. If your site is just collections of random posts and pages, search engine algorithms struggle to understand your site. However, site structure is more than just categorising your posts and pages as we discuss in this post. Here is how to create an SEO friendly site structure.
Understanding what site structure is
First, we need to understand what site structure is. The best way to think of site structure is to imagine it as a framework. Without stable foundations, your frame won’t stand up over time. Site structure is also sometimes referred to as site architecture, but they all mean the same thing.
A good site structure can be defined as a website that is easy for users to navigate and search engines to crawl and index. If you picture a spider diagram, the central point would be your homepage. Branching off from your homepage will be your parent category pages and branching off of those will be your posts and other content. It is how these all link together that separates a good site structure from a bad one.
First steps for creating an SEO friendly site structure
You may be thinking, ‘Yeah, I already know what site structure is’. If that’s the case, you’re halfway there already. Next is understanding how to build an SEO friendly site structure that will give you results.
Some key areas to focus on include:
- Internal linking
- URL structures
Of course, there is a whole host of other things you could do but we will stick to the basics for now.
Why internal linking matters
Internally linking on your site is crucial for creating a good site structure. Without internally linking, you aren’t telling search engines that some pages on your site even exist.
Linking between your pages and content helps algorithms to determine the connections between pages. For example, if you have a page all about you and your business, you should also link to your contact page within the copy.
This essentially allows search engine bots to follow the links on your site and understand the connections between the pages. Without doing this, some pages on your site may never be discovered or indexed as a result. So, basically, you won’t be visible in search results.
Building SEO-worthy URL structures
Search engine algorithms prefer simple URLs. They are easier to understand and therefore index. Here are some things you can do to build better URL structures:
- Use lowercase and be consistent with it
- Join words with hyphens, not spaces or any other characters
- Keep URLs short, 128 characters is the general maximum
- Use logical categories and subcategories for your content
Why categories matter more than you think
We’ve mentioned them a few times already, so, what makes categories so important?
Well, they are, of course, needed for search engine bots to understand your site. However, they also provide a better experience for the user too. It’s no good creating a site that is technically excellent if it isn’t easy and enjoyable for humans to use.
Getting categories on your site in a way that makes sense improves the overall user experience of your site. Looking for certain products and or services is easy and straightforward. There aren’t any hidden pages, and your contact details are easy to find. All of these little things add up.
We can all think of at least one website we hate to use because it’s poorly laid out or annoying to navigate. Don’t be like that site. Use sites like those as examples of everything your site shouldn’t be.
Breadcrumbs – not the food variety
Finally, for building an SEO-friendly site structure, you should consider breadcrumbing. Obviously, we don’t mean literal breadcrumbs. In the SEO world, breadcrumbing is the name for the text paths of your pages.
You know when you’re online shopping and you follow the category pages to get to what you want? For example: home > shoes > boots > heeled. These are clickable links that will take you back to the page you were previously on.
Not only is this super useful for humans on your site, but they also appear in search results too. This gives users a snapshot of your site before clicking on your link which will help them to determine what your site is all about.
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