Optimizing Your Site’s Structure to Win in Search Results

Are you proud of your presence on the web?

Are you proud that someone can type yourcompanyname.com and a web page loads displaying your logo?

You should be, it’s a great start.

The keyword in the last sentence? Start.

You need to think about optimizing your sites structure before going all out with the fancy stuff, including design.

Because your home page of a website can be the flashiest page on the internet, but without a good site structure supporting all your content you aren’t going to reach your goals.

It’s like the classic golf analogy. The flashy page is for show but a good site structure brings in the dough.

Depending on your industry, your homepage might receive very few visits each day anyway.

Your website's structure is important for two people. People who are visiting your website (usability experience), and Google (SEO). And yes, Google is a person in this case.

If your site structure is created with these people in the forefront of your mind, you’ll be on your way to winning in the search results.

Optimizing Website Structure Win Search Results title

Optimizing Your Site Structure For Google

Google uses what they refer to as spiders crawling the internet, visiting your site as if they’re humans.

They follow different links around your website gauging all sorts of information, including

  • what the topic of your website is
  • what the important pages are
  • what content is on each page

Below we will dive into four factors that make up your site structure. If you can get these factors accurate, you’re helping your own cause.

Menu & Categories

When people land on your website, there eyes will soon go towards the various menu. The menu should reflect what your site is about, with various categories under each menu item. Getting these categories accurate is important.

In a perfect world, all categories would have approximately the same number of posts. If one category has only one post in it, that’s a sign you either need to write more about the topic or remove the category. Alternatively, if a category has grown massively, you may want to consider breaking it up into further smaller categories.

No Duplicate Pages

This particularly applies to ecommerce businesses . There are all sorts of reasons you might end up with two different pages with the same content on them. For humans this is okay, but Google won’t know which one to rank between the two as.

If you have external links going to each of the pages, you could have all the links (external and internal) pointing to one page which will allow you to have the best chance of ranking for keywords.

URL Format

The words you use aren’t going to make a massive difference in your rankings, but you can definitely give Google a generous hint about the topic of the page without confusing them.

A Bad URL

www.yourcompany.com/post-1

A Not So Good URL

www.yourcompany.com/optimizing-site-structure-is-the-best-way-to-build-websites

A Good URL

www.yourcompany.com/optimizing-site-struture

The bad URL doesn’t help Google know what the page is about at all. For humans who see the link in Google, it’s not going to jump out as helpful meaning your CTR will be lower which results in lower ranking.

The not so good URL has the right intentions but is confusing. Google isn’t exactly sure what to make of this as the keyword ‘best way to build websites’ is not the same as ‘optimizing site structure’ at all. Poor humans won’t know either, that’s if they decide to read the URL as it’s long.

The final URL is good as it is:

  • specific to one topic
  • readable to both humans and Google.

Internal Linking

You should be linking to other parts of your site on every page of your website. You likely have some cornerstone content you want people to read the most. In this case you should link to it from every page within that category possible.

In terms of linking, think of it like a silo. Each time you create a new page or post, don’t forget to link to it from the pages on your site already.

Dead Content

This relates to businesses who have products that are updated regularly. If last year's model is no longer on sale, make sure you are redirecting that page to the latest model or another relevant page. If the page is completely irrelevant, you can delete it completely. There are plenty of simple tools available to help you with this.

Optimizing Your Site’s Structure to Win in Search Results

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Optimizing Your Site Structure For Humans

There are all sorts of reasons people might land on your website, both intentionally and unintentionally.

Importantly, if both you and Google are on the same wavelength, you’ll be able to help the person who has visited your site in some way, shape or form.

When someone lands on your site, you want them to be stay for as long as possible. In a perfect world they would buy your product right away but that isn’t good business practice online. You need to earn their trust over time.

Humans have so many distractions now that attention spans are seemingly decreasing every day. You need to get their attention in less than a second and show them why they need to stay around.

In terms of Google, you want your URL to be clear as we mentioned above. The meta description for each page also influences a browser's decision on whether to click through to your site or not. With a higher click through rate, Google will look more favourably on your site.

When they arrive on your site, a good site structure will allow people to jump around your site easily with a clear path on where they are going via links, menus and buttons. The longer they stay on your site, the better.

Start Optimizing Your Site Structure!

Site structure might not sound fun, but when you do the math and realise that by Optimizing your sites structure resulting in a 5% improvement, you can increase your sales, leads or whatever your goal is, it’s easy to see how optimizing your site structure is important.

Roy McClean
Sep 27, 2017
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