Every website has a structure, regardless of whether you intentionally implemented it or not.
In the first case, you’ll have an organized, coherent, and streamlined structure that is easy to navigate. As a result, your website will deliver an excellent user experience. However, if you fail to plan it in advance, your website structure will be messy and complicated, meaning that your visitors will have a hard time navigating it and finding what they’re looking for.
In other words, it’s essential to be in control of how your website grows and develops over time. If your website structure is properly planned, it will be much easier to manage it in the years to come. Besides, it’s good for your user experience as well as search engine optimization and rankings.
What Is Website Structure?
Briefly put, a website structure or taxonomy is the way your website content is organized, that is, how individual web pages are linked and connected.
It’s the framework of your website, and it can be compared to a table of contents. The more content your website has, the more important the way you organize it is.
But, apart from helping visitors navigate your website more easily and intuitively, your website structure plays an important role when it comes to crawling and indexing content. A well-organized structure will make it easier for web crawlers to access, discover, and index your content.
Subsequently, your SEO will be positively impacted, bringing a lot of organic traffic to your website.
Make Sure That Your Navigation Is Logical
A recent survey has shown that 94% of website visitors think that easy navigation is the most important and useful website feature.
In other words, when they land on your home page, your visitors want to know how to find what they’re looking for without clicking back and forth or wandering through a number of pages packed with information.
Your navigation menu has to be simple and user-friendly, and you can achieve this by:
Keeping the number of mouse clicks necessary to get to the most important information low.
Being consistent and placing your navigation button in the same place on every page and using the same font and colors.
Keeping the number of your menu items to less than 7. That way, you’ll avoid clutter, which means that your visitors will be less likely to miss important items.
Being descriptive and avoiding vague labels. For example, using a “Products” label isn’t good for SEO and is very generic as it doesn’t offer any additional information about what exactly you’re promoting or selling.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is usually perceived as deceptive in nature and refers to substantial blocks of content that appear on more than one place on the internet. However, it’s not always a malicious practice of “borrowing” somebody else’s ideas and content.
In many cases, the problem is when similar and almost identical items or products are shown via different URLs. This means that you might be having such issues without even being aware of it. For example, the same products in different colors that have the same description qualify as duplicate content.
To avoid this problem, you should use canonicalization, that is, the procedure of picking a canonical URL version that you want to be displayed in search results.
Internal linking is crucial for the success of your website and its usability.
By having internal links within your content, you will help your readers find additional relevant information about the topic they’re exploring.
If you’re not sure how to structure your internal links, try visualizing your website as a pyramid, with the most important content at its top. The content that’s not as important is placed on the bottom of the pyramid.
In most cases, a homepage is at the top, while blog, about us, and product pages are below it.
After this, it’s important to identify your most relevant and essential content – your cornerstone content. As this is the content that you want visitors (and Google) to read when they’re on your website, you need to have a lot of internal links pointing to it.
The third step is adding contextual links and connecting topically-linked blog posts. Your cornerstone posts are those that cover a certain topic in a comprehensive way. That’s why you should add a link to your cornerstone content in all the relevant blog posts on the topic.
Remove and Update Old Content
This particularly applies to e-commerce websites and those that offer different products and services.
That’s why you have to remove the products or items that you no longer carry. But, before you do that, check whether there are some links pointing to the page that you want to remove. If there are, make sure to redirect their URLs.
Doing this will prevent the 404 “page not found” errors which are bad for your SEO – neither Google nor your visitors like to hit a dead end when trying to visit a certain URL. By redirecting your existing links leading to the page you are deleting, you can save some link juice from leaking, which means that the equity or value they have accumulated won’t simply vanish into thin air. Instead of that, this value will be transferred to your new page.
Similarly, it’s important to go through the content you created a year or more ago, and see whether there are some outdated stats or facts. By refreshing your content, you won’t have to remove it as it will still add value to your visitors.
These are some of the most important best practices that you should implement when creating your website structure. They will ensure great user experience, good Google rankings, and improved online presence.