When most people think about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), they think about keywords. As important as keywords are, technical considerations like a website’s structure can get forgotten when it comes to SEO. There are numerous ways in which website structure affects SEO.
When we create a website for a client, we don’t just think about how it will look. As part of the design and build process we also consider how a website’s individual pages are linked together. We ensure that the pages are organised in a way that’s easy for a user, and Google’s spiders, to navigate.
Here are some important factors when it comes to how a website structure can affect SEO:
Crawlability refers to a search engine’s ability to crawl through your website’s entire text content to figure out what your website is all about. Part of this process is navigating through subpages and individual topics to understand the website as a whole. A web page has to be able to take a visitor somewhere within the website, from one page to another, in order to be considered crawlable.
Search engine robots are responsible for website crawling. An important rule of good website crawlability is that there should be no dead ends while crawling through your website.
So how do you improve site crawlability? The easiest way is to make a concerted effort to include internal links on every page, which creates a bridge from one part of your website to another. Breadcrumbs and related posts can automate the process of site crawlability and internal linking.
The basics of proper navigation dictate that users should be able to get from one page to another without any difficulties. If your website is large and has many pages, the challenge is making these pages accessible with only a few clicks, using navigation alone. Usability experts claim that it should only take three clicks to find any given page, but use this advice as a guideline instead of a rule.
Categorize and organise links in a way that won’t affect your website structure. Internal linking works by using keywords within your content and linking these keywords to another relevant piece of content on your website.
There are several advantages of consciously using internal links for SEO:
- Internal linking allows search engines to find other pages through keyword-rich anchors.
- Internal links decrease page depth.
- Internal linking gives users an easier way to access other content, which can result in a better user experience.
Search engines are giving greater value to internal links with regards to ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The usability standards that today’s websites are held to are much stricter than in the early days of the Internet. If a visitor comes across a poorly built website, they will make efforts to avoid interacting with it further.
Additionally, nobody wants to waste their time on a website where they’re not sure what to do next. If a visitor can’t find the information they’re after on your site, they will seek it out on someone else’s.
A bad user experience can have a negative effect on SEO. How searchers interact with a website is interpreted by Google for future search results. Click-through rate, time spent on site, and bounce rate are all signalling factors to Google’s algorithm. Statistics indicating a positive experience validates the search results to Google. Statistics indicating a negative experience tell Google the page may not be the most relevant or useful for that query, and Google will adjust the search results accordingly.
The basics of providing a good user experience include:
- Aligning click-through with expectations
- Making desired information easy to find
- Ensuring that navigation makes sense to the point of intuitiveness
Duplicate content is really bad for SEO because Google interprets it as spam. A focus on high-quality and unique content on the SERP clearly defines how your website must be structured for ideal SEO.
So as you can see, there’s more to SEO than just keywords. If you would like us to review your website or if you think your business could benefit from a brand new website then why not get in touch? Email email@example.com