Getting your website’s structure right is one of the most important technical SEO basics, yet it’s often overlooked.
A website shouldn’t be a random collection of pages and posts. It should be an organized collection of content that’s easy for search engines and users to navigate and understand.
In this guide, you’re going to learn how to build a site structure that works and helps your site achieve SEO success.
Specifically, we’ll look at:
- What Is Site Structure?
- The Importance of Your Site’s Structure
- What Does a Good Site Structure Look Like?
- How to Define a Site Structure That Works
What Is Site Structure?
Your website’s structure is the way that content (pages and posts) is grouped. This is sometimes referred to as your website’s architecture and is all about how your content is linked together and presented to users and search engines. It’s your website’s framework.
A good website structure makes it easy for users to navigate between pages and search engines to crawl your content and understand what your site is about.
Think about it as how pages on your website relate to one another, specifically how they branch off your homepage and are grouped within deeper directories.
And planning a site structure includes considering your:
- URL structures
- Navigation menus
- Internal linking
The Importance of Your Site’s Structure
Whether you have a small website or a large website, site structure is an important component for success as your site structure impacts both users, in terms of its accessibility and user-friendliness, and for search engines, in terms of crawlability and technical aspects.
So let’s take a look at the reasons why you need to take the time to properly define this for these two key reasons…
Site Structure for Users
Your website’s primary purpose is to put your products or services in front of your target audience, such as your next customer or client. That means that your users should be at the heart of everything you do.
And when we look at the reason why your site’s structure is so important for your users, we can break it down into three key things:
Site Structure Is Important for UX
The structure you choose has a direct impact on your website’s usability, and this means making it easier for users to find the products, services, or information that they’re looking for.
The easier it is for someone to find what they landed on your site for, the higher the chance that they’ll become a client or customer.
A Good Site Structure Makes It Easier to Navigate
When you carefully plan out your site’s structure to help users find what they want as easily as possible, you’re making it easier to navigate.
Since one of the key functions of content on a website is to help push prospects through your sales funnel, it makes sense that you’d want to make it as simple as possible for a user to flow through the sales funnel by improving your navigation.
A Good Site Structure Groups Content and Makes Pages Easy to Reach in As Few Clicks As Possible
No one wants to spend an age looking for the content that they’re after. A good site structure makes it easier to find pages and posts in as few clicks as possible, keeping users engaged and stopping them from bouncing.
Site Structure for Search Engines
While a good site structure is important for presenting a great user experience, it’s also a key part of achieving SEO success.
Structure your site in the right way, and it’s easier for the search engines to understand and rank your content higher on the SERPs.
The key reasons why site structure matters for search engines are:
Topically Grouped Content
Topical SEO is a big deal, and your site’s structure is a key way to showcase how different pages and posts are connected.
Often referred to as topical relevance or topical authority, grouping together related content pieces helps to position you to search engines as experts in your field, showcasing that you cover a topic in great depth.
This helps search engines understand what your website is about and give context to the keywords you should be ranking for.
Highlight Your Most Important Content
The right site structure helps you highlight your most important pages (often called pillar pages or hub pages) and position them as the pages that should rank for competitive, high volume keywords (think generic terms).
A Good Structure Makes Your Site Easier to Crawl and Find New Pages Faster
A good site structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site and find new pages (and changes to existing pages) faster.
If Google can’t crawl all of your website’s pages, it’s going to struggle to index them. However, you shouldn’t face this issue with the right structure as all content should be linked to from at least one other page.
Your Site Structure Passes Link Authority
Backlinks are a key ranking factor. To maximize the benefits from your link building strategy, you need to make sure that you’re properly distributing link authority throughout your site.
To earn high-quality backlinks, you want to have different pages answering different questions. This way, you have several pages across your domain that are beneficial to users. You’re able to acquire more relevant, quality backlinks this way, too.
The right site structure helps you to do this effectively.
Helps to Prevent Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization can prevent your site from ranking as well as it could when two or more pages that have the same intent compete with one another. The right site structure can make it easier to stop this issue from occurring due to a clearly defined place on your site for a particular topic or piece of content.
What Does a Good Site Structure Look Like?
We’ve already defined that a good site structure should:
- Group topically related content together
- Highlight your most important pages
- Keep content simple and organized in a logical hierarchy
Before we dive into how to define your website structure, here’s what a well-organized structure looks like:
See how content is grouped around key pages that come off from the site’s homepage? Content is placed in a logical hierarchy, and it’s clear to see how this could easily be expanded as the site grows.
This site architecture is based around what is known as topic clusters, and we’ll give a quick breakdown of the strategy:
Topic clusters are a group of content that revolves around a central topic and use a pillar page to link to and from. In short, topic clusters are centered around a single topic and offer multiple internal linking opportunities to keep readers on your site.
They’re an effective approach to structuring your site, helping you group topically related content together and putting in place a solid internal linking structure. Here’s an example topic cluster with a pillar page:
Using topic clusters helps you showcase topical authority, which is vital for earning top rankings on the SERPs.
How to Define a Site Structure That Works
Ready to plan out a site structure that works great both for your users and search engines? Here’s a step-by-step guide to defining your website structure: – Read more