Posted: 27 Apr 2017 Contributor: Therese Palmere
How Your Website’s Structure is Crucial to Online Success
Website structure is extremely crucial when it comes to SEO performance because search engines place a lot of weight in user experience (UX), and UX is directly affected by a website’s structure.
If you have a confusing website with an unappealing layout, chances are good that search engines won’t be too fond of it ether. Users and search engine crawlers/bots want information fast. They don’t want to wait, they want it now. And in order to get to what they’re looking for in a timely manner, everything needs to be perfectly organized.
To help your site’s structure and further tailor your SEO strategy, here are some tips on how you can achieve first page rankings that you and your team will absolutely love!
Take a User-Centric Approach
Dr. Peter J. Meyers of Moz writes that click-through-rates (CTRs) and dwell time are the two most important metrics for users.
CTRs are important because, “relevant results drive more clicks,” and search engines seek out the most relevant results because they want sites that will most closely match a user’s query. It’s quite simple; if your web page correlates with an individual’s search, they will click on it. As such, CTR is an important measurement factor for search engines like Google and Bing because it’s an indication of whether or not your website is both relevant and useful.
Dwell time is another measure of usefulness that search engines are bound to use. If users click on your page but shortly find that the content isn’t what they were looking for, they’re going to leave faster than greased lightning. In other words, short dwell time lead to poor search engine rankings.
Driving traffic to your site isn’t enough to get your page a good SEO rating. Search engines want to see that users are also staying on your page. Layout, design and content are all important aspects your team needs to think about when designing your website. At the end of the day, you can have the exact information a user needs, but if it’s buried under a bunch of tabs or labeled incorrectly, they’re are never going to find it.
By putting CTR’s and dwell time at the top of your agenda, your business will noticeably increase its SEO performance. However, if you’re looking for a more in depth analysis than what Google or Bing’s analytics pages can offer, consult a digital marketing agency to see where the problem may lie. CTR and dwell time are just two aspects that shape your users’ experience on your site. Find out more about other steps you can take for a user-centric approach.
Organization Made Easy
A website’s hierarchy is how it’s structured. If your site is having trouble getting noticed, it could be due to how it’s organized. Don’t be a hoarder and don’t overload your users with pages and pages of information! Even if every fiber of your being is telling you that having an exorbitant amount content is good in the long-run, rest easy and know that it is not. It can actually end up hurting you in terms of rankings. Go back to the drawing board and reorganize your hierarchy!
One of the most common elements of a website’s organization today is a menu that shows your main navigation pages. Easily an important consideration factor for your website’s structure, this is one of the first things that users will see when they land on your site because it shows them everything they need know.
Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, writes that while drop down and disappearing menus may have an aesthetic edge, they actually don’t give you the upper hand when it comes to SEO. Instead, he suggests, “text links with appropriate anchors provide the strongest form of SEO.” Don’t forget that your website can have both intricate features an simple user navigation.
Shallow Water Means You Can See
Shallow water is great for teaching kids how to swim. Similarly, shallow navigation can help your users get their feet wet if they’ve never been to your website.
Sujan Patel of Search Engine Journal states:
As an added bonus, don’t forget that shallow navigation structures improve your website’s usability, making it far less likely that visitors will give up trying to find the content they were looking for in your buried pages.
Shallow navigation is a great tactic to use because it means that users don’t have to click multiple times before they get to the information they need. If you skim through a digital marketing agency’s website, you will notice that many of them are shallow. Why? Because they’re digital marketing agencies who know what they’re doing. As an example, if you have questions about what such an agency can do, go over to their website, click on their “Services” page, click on their “SEO Services” section, and boom! You made it in under 3 clicks.
Two Peas in a Pod: URL and Navigation
The goal is strong site structure and strong URL structure because strong site and URL structure both mean high SEO ratings.
You want your URLs to reflect the hierarchy you laid out for your website. This means that the words in each URL should directly represent your website’s organization. For example, if your site hierarchy is Java Bean’s Coffee and menu, and you have different menu options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the URL should look something like this:
Keep everything simple because your users and SEO ratings will be better for it!
Crawlers aren’t Creepy
Any marketing agency can tell you that the more structured your site is, the easier it will be for crawlers to access your content and return for more.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that website structure is not only for users, but also for search engine crawlers as well. True to their name, crawlers like Google’s bot crawl through websites, index them, and get them ready to appear when your information matches a search query.
Structure Your Website!
As you can see, website structure is crucial to online success. Take some time to dedicate your team’s efforts towards your site’s structure if you want to see your SERP rankings increase. Let’s take another look at these tips and set your business in the right direction:
- Take a user-centric approach and focus on CTRs and dwell time
- Reorganize your site’s hierarchy
- Simple menus for simple navigation
- Shallow site navigation gets users where they need to go
- Match your site hierarchy to your URLs!
- Strong site structure helps crawlers organize, index, and prep your site for users
Try any one or all of these tips to help boost your digital presence!