SEO stands for search engine optimization. It means making your site more visible via high ranking on search results pages (SERPs).
Marketers and entrepreneurs strive for their websites to rank high on Google, because the website will then be more in front of more potential clients. You can get more sales or extend your audience in this way.
Correlation of SEO to Website Structure
Search engines use complex algorithms to gather the information from websites, blogs, or social media and show that information to people who are looking for it.
Clearly, increased exposure for your brand and website will pay dividends. Web designers and marketers should do their best to improve SEO for their websites so they will be more visible on all major search engines.
Website structure is a crucial component, including both the website itself as well as links pointing at its content.
For this reason, experts develop SEO silos while uploading content on the sites. These silos help organize all content according to topics, while building in an SEO-friendly architecture and hierarchy. By properly organizing everything, you stand to get far better results.
There are other specific aspects of the website structure itself that contribute to your organic performance overall. Let’s consider several of them in this post.
A crawlable website allows search engines to access and index all content on the domain. Crawlability is one of the most important technical SEO components, because if you get it wrong, you won’t show up in search engines at all!
You can determine where crawlers are allowed to by by using specific directives. But that’s not enough.
An SEO friendly website structure will help crawlers more easily find new content to index.
So get the structure right, and you’ll find it far easier to show up on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in the first place.
2. User Experience
A well designed website will successfully engage visitors and hold their attention across multiple pages and/or posts. But it’s not just about having a flashy website. You need to implement user experience (UX) principles to get this right.
An SEO-friendly website structure goes beyond the hierarchy to the page level. For example, you will see large shifts in click rates on buttons depending on where you put them, what colors you use, the size / shape, and the text call to action on it.
The information architecture should also drive how you structure the content itself. Visitors scan before reading, so short paragraphs, multiple sub-headings with very descriptive text, and copy written in active tense should be priorities for you.
You should also aim to get your target keywords into subheadings whenever possible. H2, H3, H4, etc. are very important for SEO.
And of course, you want to implement accessibility best practices to ensure that even disabled visitors can consume your content and become customers.
3. Website Design for Better Branding and Presentation
When potential customers enter the site, they will notice the design immediately. The website should look professional. This will help encourage visitors stay on it longer.
Start by checking whether the information is properly structured and clustered. Be sure the design is representative of your brand image. Check out the ICOholder website for a good example of design done right.
The hierarchy on your website is very important here as well. All domains should have a home page as the primary entry point, with sub-pages that drill down in more detail about important topics, products, services, or company information.
All items included in the master navigation should direct visitors to pages on the website, including second and third level dropdowns. If an item does not have a page, omit it to avoid confusing visitors and crawlers alike.
And keep the navigation as flat as possible. Pages that require more than 3-4 clicks to access are too deep and should be relocated higher in the nav.
Of course, your brand should be integrated into the website structure, the look and feel, and especially the messaging.
4. Performance: Heavily Impacted By Website Speed
Performance is a major ranking factor for Google, and a component of overall UX. Your domain needs to have stellar uptime and fast page load speeds.
Visitors are impatient these days. They want to access the content they need immediately.
When your pages load slowly, visitors will get frustrated and leave (bounce). Even search engine crawlers may time out and simply fail to index the page. Both of these side effects will hinder your SEO progress.
Spend time optimizing performance. You can rearrange the order you load scripts, deploy a caching plugin, and sign on for a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that will offer redundancy for your website.
And of course, keep these items all updated to ensure topnotch security for the domain.
Don’t overlook design elements that negatively impact performance. You may have to move to a new theme or eliminate some of the more flashy elements to make the website load faster.
The key is to find the balance.
5. Mobile / Responsive Capabilities
More than half of searches start on mobile devices. Because of this trend, Google has moved to mobile first indexing on the vast majority of domains in their index.
Your website absolutely MUST be optimized for mobile visitors if you want to grow your organic traffic.
Most websites today have responsive designs. Responsive means that you serve up the best version of the website for the device type and screen size on the device the visitors is using.
See for yourself: pull up a smartphone or tablet and load this same blog website into the browser. Notice the changes in layout, the menu structure, and the flow of the content. That’s what responsive design is.
6. Unique Content and Reliable Links
Surely you’ve heard the tired old adage, “Content is king.” Regardless of its overuse, it still rings true to this day.
Visitors want to consume unique, engaging content. They like to do their own research before making purchase decisions. So give them what they want!
Websites that use a copycat approach, duplicating what competitors or other domains do, tend to fall flat on the SERPs. And they often disappoint visitors. When this happens, they simply will NOT come back later.
With great SEO friendly website structure and excellent content, you stand to establish Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Google loves to rank domains that excel at their E-A-T principle. You can learn more about E-A-T via the link in this paragraph.
Always ensure that your content is 100% unique and never copied from elsewhere. Duplicate content does not perform well organically, so it’s a waste of time anyway.
Content isn’t the only factor at play here. You also need a strategy for internal linking and external link building.
You have an opportunity to link to your most important pages and posts. Search engines see these links and will follow your lead by crawling those pages more frequently and indexing them with higher ranks.
External links funnel authority from the linking domain to your own. This helps ALL of your keywords rank better! You need both types of links.
One of the reasons we audit websites is to find broken items such as images, links, and pages/URLs. Domains with broken items like this stand to drop in ranking, so audit and clean up the website frequently.
7. User Safety and Website Security
With so many privacy concerns across social media as well as recent regulations passed about privacy and security, all website owners need to comply with best practices.
You need to ensure security of sensitive data, such as contact information and credit cards (if you collect payments online). Be very careful about how you handle data. And ensure your content management system, theme, and plugins are all secure.
Hackers are hard at work trying to steal data. It happens nearly every day. You don’t want to fall prey to that misbehavior, because it could severely damage your reputation and your bottom line.
Aside form those issues, search engines are highly cautious about website security as well. If you get hacked, you may be suppressed or removed from the Google index.
Here are some more specific tips for maintaining good security on your website:
- Choose a CMS (content management system) that is established and supported actively
- Create reliable passwords and change them frequently
- Use any needed security plugins, and be sure they are also supported and updated regularly
- Make backups for your website as often as possible
Keep in mind that security is crucial for your website’s ranking and UX. Never put it on the backburner and hope it works itself out.
8. High-Quality Images
Always use high quality images. Display the highest resolution you can without slowing down your page load times too much.
You can find a plugin that compresses images into various file sizes and dimensions for the various responsive views of your content.
You should also optimize images for SEO. Rename the files to include keywords. Incorporate and Alt-Text into the HTML code. Both of these affect how search engines handle your on-site images, and can factor into rankings.
9. Optimized URLs
URLs are the individual “addresses” for all pages, posts, and other content on your domain. You should aim to include keywords and shorten URLs as much as possible so they will be easy to remember for return visitors.
Of course, you won’t always be able to keep URLs short. Ecommerce platforms often auto-generate long URLs. Pages with long tail target keywords will also need to have longer URLs to include the entire terms.
You can use URL shorteners for online sharing, for example, on social media. It’s better to get the keyword included than to shorten the URL carelessly.
10. Keywords: One of the Most Important Factors for SEO
If you want to identify where the search demand is, you need to do keyword research. Find the keywords that have solid volume and are less competitive to rank for.
Once you find these keywords, start building pages and posts to target them. This approach is how you get your on-page SEO in order to show search engines where they should rank your content.
Be sure to spend time understanding the right way to do on-page. You need to use the right keywords the proper way. If you overstuff pages with repetitive mentions of the same exact terms, you’re likely to actually hurt your SEO progress in the long run.
Generate content that satisfies both visitors/readers and search engines, and you’ll be along your way to improving organic performance.
Final Thoughts: An SEO Friend Website Structure Works
As you can see, a SEO friendly website structure plays a huge role in your rankings and organic performance as a whole.
Consider the tips and points presented in this blog post. They will help you rank higher. In turn, you’ll grow your organic traffic and boost conversions, leading to improved revenue over time.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.