Each site needs a certain construction. Otherwise, it will be just a collection of pages and blog posts. Your users need a clear system to navigate your website, to navigate from one page to another.
And Google uses your site structure to determine which content is important and which content is less important. In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about the structure of the site.
Table of Contents
Why is the structure of your site?
Structuring your website is crucial for both usability and search. Many sites lack a system to direct visitors to the product they are looking for. In addition, having a clear site hierarchy leads to a better understanding of Google robots, so it is very important for your SEO.
1 Important for ease of use
The structure of your website is of great importance to the User eXperience (UX) on your website. If visitors can find the products and information they are looking for, the likelihood of them becoming customers will increase.
In other words, you should help them navigate your website/store easily. The good information architecture of the site will only help in this.
Navigation should be easy. You must categorize your messages and products so that they are easy to find. A new visitor should instantly understand what products you are selling or what your website is about.
2 Important for SEO
The logical construction of a website or online store gives more chances to take a better place in the search results. Here are three main reasons for the additional features:
1. This helps the search engine "understand" your website
Structuring your website will give search engine robots important tips on where to find the most appropriate content. The structure of your website will tell search engines what your website is about and what you sell. It also helps the search engine find and index content for specific products.
Therefore, a good structure can lead to an increase in the rating on Google and Yandex.
2. The competent structure does not allow you to compete with your own content
You may have similar content on your site. Perhaps you write a lot about SEO. You may have multiple blog posts about the structure of the site (each of which deals with a different aspect). Therefore, the search engine will not know which one is the most important.
This way you will compete with your own pages for the highest ranking in the SERP. You must tell the web spiders which page you think is most important. This requires a good construction of internal links and taxonomy structure, it is necessary to make all these pages work for you, not against.
3. Required in case of changes on your website
The products you sell in your store probably change over time. The content you write also changes. A new collection will be added as the old one will be sold. Or you have decided that outdated information should disappear from your site.
You don't want the search to show outdated products or articles.
This will be easier to do if your site has a clear structure.
How to set up an orderly structure of your website
So, how do you plan to put in order the hierarchy of the site? First, we'll explain how the perfect site structure should look, and then show you how to achieve this for your own site.
The ideal structure of the website
The structure of your site should look like a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is your home page, and below the home page are several categories. For larger sites, you should make subcategories or custom taxonomies (more on that later). Within categories and subcategories, there will be any number of posts on their pages or product pages.
The division of your pages into categories
If you have not yet divided blog posts or product pages on your site into several categories, you definitely need to do it and even better to do it at once. Don't forget to add these categories to the main menu of your website.
What values should be the category
Make sure that all categories are roughly the same. If there is too much material in one group because you are blogging on a specific topic, you need to divide it into two other categories.
A good rule of thumb for the required size of categorization is that no category is twice the size of any other.
If you have one such topic, splitting it into two separate parts will result in a more accurate reflection of the content on your website.
Note that if your category name is reflected in the permanent link structure on your website, you should make sure that the URLs are redirected properly after the category is split.
Internal Linking Structure
The binding structure is of great importance. Each page at the top of the pyramid must reference specific subpages.
Conversely, all subpages must reference the page at the top of the pyramid.
At the top of your pyramid should be important content for you (articles with a cornerstone), and it should be articles you refer to, from all your materials.
If you combine pages that are closely related to each other in content, you increase the possibility of a good ranking. This method of building internal links will help search engines to calculate the main pages for each object.
Taxonomy and tags
There are two standard ways to organize: you can use the above categories (which will give you a pyramid structure) and you can use tags. For the site will be very useful to add tags. Tags and proper classification of the material will give your site a certain relationship (at least Google it helps to navigate).
The difference between categories and tags is in the device. Categories are the hierarchy, you can have subcategories and sub-categories, whereas tags do not have this structure.
Categories are the content of your website and tags are the zip code. Is that clearer?
Don't create too many tags. If every post or article gets another new unique tag, you will achieve nothing. Make sure that the tags are used more than once or twice. They need to group items by a specific label.
Make sure your tags are accessible to visitors, preferably at the bottom of each article. They help to expand the topic of the material.
Corner (cornerstone) content
Material pages, which are important, I call a material with a cornerstone (Cornerstone content). Cornerstone articles are the most important articles on your website. The content of these pages is content that accurately reflects your business or the mission of your business.
As we discussed earlier, articles with a cornerstone should be relatively high in your site's structure, focusing on the most "top" and competitive keywords.
I recommend thinking about the four specific pages you would like to show the world to tell about your website or company: these should be the main, most important articles. In most cases, the home page will link to these articles.
Websites must have at least one or two articles optimized for your keyword and a maximum of eight to ten. If you want to write more than ten such informative articles, you should start a second website.
Category pages or tag pages can also help focus on the mission or most important products of your website or company. If you want to optimize your category pages to become the cornerstone of your content, it's important to provide amazing introductory content.
You should ensure that this category page gives a compelling overview of the subject and motivates visitors to read even more articles in this category on your sites.
Practical tips and quick wins
The structure created must be dynamic. Over time, your business will change, and of course, the structure of the site should reflect these changes. If you don't think about the hierarchy of your website on a regular basis, it can grow into a monstrous collection of pages. Your pages or products over time will no longer be suitable for existing navigation.
Delete and redirect!
Many online stores sell different collections of products (clothes, shoes, food, services) every season. The old goods will eventually be sold out. And if you are not going to sell the same product, again and again, you will have to delete the corresponding page.
Technologies are constantly evolving, and it happens that the article material is irretrievably outdated, delete this page!
It is quite possible that you have been a valuable reference that is no longer needed, page. To use these links, even if the page no longer exists, you must redirect the URL.
It's not that hard to set up page redirects. Preferably, you should redirect the old URL with a 301 redirect to the product that replaced the previous product or to the linked page if there is no replacement.
This can be a specific product category page or, in a pinch, your home page. Thus, an outdated page will no longer interfere with the structure of your site.
Evaluate your menu
When your business goals or website change, the menu should change as well. When you start to restructure your site, it would be good to get a visual representation (such as an organogram).
Start with your desired (one or two levels) menu and see if you can fit into it pages created over the years. You will find that some pages are still relevant, but most are not suitable for your new menu.
No problem! Remove them, just make sure that they are not referenced by linked pages and that they are not in the Sitemap files either. Perhaps the organogram will reveal problems in the structure of your favorite site.
Rethink the classification of your site's menu
Creating an overview of your categories, subcategories, and products or articles will help you revise your site's taxonomy. You may have noticed that one product category received more pages than others. Or maybe you've written a lot of material about one particular subject and little about other topics.
If one category grows noticeably larger than the other, the pyramid of your site can go out of balance. Think about dividing this category up into several different ones. And if several product lines have information about themselves, less than others, they should be combined. Try to create eight to ten top-level categories (maximum) to keep the structure balanced. Don't forget to redirect from deleted pages!
It is necessary to inform every search engine about it. It is unlikely that you have created your site map manually, so I will update it with the changed structure of the website and resubmit it in Google Search Console and Yandex webmaster.
You already know that the same content can be displayed on several pages of your site.
As a reader, you don't mind: you will get the material you were looking for. But the search engine must choose what that one page and show in the search results for a specific query. Well, they don't want to show the same content twice.
What's more, when third-party websites link to your product from the first URL and other sites link to the second URL at that time. Moreover, these duplicates themselves link to the same top-level page, your rating for the relevant keyword will be just unfairly inflated.
The structure of the site, conclusions
As we can see, there are several serious reasons why the structure of the site is important.
A good site structure helps both your visitors and search engines navigate the site.
This makes it easier to implement changes and prevents competition with your own content.
Therefore, use the tips and tricks of this guide to check and improve your site structure in a timely manner.
Edited by DeZire