Website SEO – Structure

Over the years I’ve written a lot about search engine optimisation (that link will take you to a series of posts covering everything from keywords and on screen optimisation to link building and dodgy SEO practices that should be avoided), but mainly in relation to on screen SEO copywriting.

This post looks at the other side of SEO – your website’s structure.

As this also plays a vital part in your ranking success, it’s about time I gave it some coverage. However, a word of warning, I’m not a web designer or coder, so this is all stuff I’ve picked up along the way (i.e. it won’t be really technical).

I guess a good a place to start is your website’s navigation.

Navigation

Q: What is the purpose of your site’s navigation?

A: To help your visitors find their way around your site easily and for the search engine spiders to crawl your site easily.

Did you see that? The word ‘easily’ featured twice in that sentence – that should give you a clue as to where this is going.

There are 2 main things to say here: the first is that your navigation should be coded in such as away that it’s easy for the spiders to crawl it (i.e. not in Flash or JavaScript); secondly, think about how deep your website is.

Uh?

Depth is basically a measure of how many clicks people need to make to reach the inner pages of your website. The more layers they have to click through, the harder it is for them to navigate.

People (and search engine spiders) like to find the information they need quickly and easily and don’t take kindly to having to dig deep to find it. So, if possible, make sure your website only has a maximum of 3 clicks to find the information needed. This will help your rankings (in conjunction with your other SEO activities) and reduce your bounce rate.

That’s why it’s vital you plan your website’s navigation and structure from the outset rather than just letting it evolve.

Internal linking

The depth of your site thingy is OK if you’re a relatively small company, but what happens when the size of your business demands a big website?

That’s where good internal linking comes in to play.

There are 2 types of links relevant to SEO:

  • External backlinks – those than point to your website from one unrelated to your site
  • Internal backlinks – links that connect pages within your own website

Why is it important to link between your own pages?

Well they have a number of SEO advantages: such as decreasing the number of clicks need to access information deep within your site (benefiting the spiders and readers); giving you the opportunity to use keyword rich anchor text links; improving user experience.

So, whenever you add a new blog post, page or article to your website, make sure you use relevant anchor text links to link it to other related information within your website.

URL

The last item on my list is your URL structure.

Using your keywords within your URL structure will definitely help your SEO, so make sure all your sub-pages use keywords relevant to that page.

Not a lot more to say about that one.

Over to you

That’s a very quick, non-techy perspective on website structure and search engine optimisation.

So come you on techies out there, what have I missed out?

If you can offer some nuggets of wisdom, leave a comment below and enlighten the masses.

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