Website structure and Internal linking are crucial elements of any SEO strategy.
Even if you have just started threading the SEO waters, you’ve probably heard about the importance of the structure of a site to organic search performance.
What Is a Website Structure?
At its core, a website structure is an act of organizing a website. However, if you are developing a website, there are a couple of things to consider to make the site as SEO-friendly as it can be. The final goal is to create a site users can easily navigate while allowing the search engines to crawl the site easily.
So, what we really care about is a “happy user” and a good search engine experience!
Different Types of Website Structures
There are four primary types of website structures. Understanding each one will help you create a meaningful website information architecture.
- Hierarchical website structure (Tree model)
- Linear website structure (Sequential model)
- Matrix website structure/model
- Database website structure/model
Website Structure Best Practices
Here are some extra tips to help you get the most out of your website’s structure.
Fewer Clicks and Consistency
I think we can all agree with the “Three-Click-Rule” stating that every piece of information on a site should not be more than three clicks away.
However, sometimes an inappropriately used Three-Click Rule can lead to sites with incredibly wide but shallow hierarchies. The whole point is to avoid any unnecessary steps that add no value to the user experience.
When it comes to navigation format, the principles of your design, and how you show links, one thing is sure – always be consistent.
URLs are a very important part of SEO. Having a good domain name and having the right type of subdomains and sub-can affect your site’s SEO and ranking in SERPs by quite a bit.
Choose one unique URL per unique piece of content. Forget about having multiple URLs that are accessible in 10 different ways that all provide the same piece of content. That’s an SEO nightmare since search engines will try to figure out which page they should show.
One of the most important elements of building a logical site architecture is linking between pages. This is entirely doable with the help of navigational items and internal links in the body content.
Internal links help with the actual discoverability of a page from both a user and search engine perspective. They also help with the flow of equity a page has built up, allowing pages that are deeper within a site to rank better for related terms.
To get the most out of the internal links, there are a couple of rules worth mentioning.
- Always make links relevant
Links need to be relevant, valuable, and useful. This is especially important if the link is inside the content rather than navigation.
- Avoid keyword stuffing
Don’t ever stuff keywords into the anchor text of your links. It’s a huge mistake because search engines have seen people over-optimize and spam anchor text before and will see through it.
- Robust Sitemaps
The search engine uses sitemaps to see the newest pages on a website or all the web pages together, including all images and video content. Sitemaps can help with your site architecture and SEO.
A website’s architecture is a crucial piece of the SEO puzzle. Without a strong site structure, the rest of your SEO efforts will have less influence.
That’s why it’s vital to establish a well-planned structure for your site early to secure a stronger foundation to build upon.