When you start anything – from a business to a small home improvement project – you need a structure. You need an order of things to do in a specific order and assigning a specific degree of urgency and importance to each of them. Well, think of your website structure in the same manner: it is the backbone of your online headquarters of your business. If it is strong and arranged logically, Google will index all the pages correctly. For this important reason, we believe that it is time to show you how to optimise a website structure for SEO.
What Is the Connection between Website Structure and SEO?
First of all, let us understand what we mean by the term website structure. We refer to the way pages link to and from each other, allowing users to navigate from the home page to every other page in your site.
As for the connexion between the website structure and SEO, it is very simple: a good structure allows the Google bots to:
- Crawl all the pages and index them
- Understand what your website is about (content, topics)
- Assign a page rank depending on the relevance of the content to the promoted keywords.
If your website has a faulty structure, you get two negative outcomes. One, Google will not index it correctly. Two, when visitors reach your home page, they will not be able to find what they need quickly and they will leave your site.
How to Optimise a Website Structure for SEO
Without further introductions, let us show you what exactly you need to do in order to optimise your site structure for better SEO.
1. Plan for the Future
You start out with a small website: a few products, one or two categories and the About Us and Contact pages. That’s fine when your business is really small and just out in the open. But you don’t plan to stay small, right? You want to grow it into a successful company, diversify your offering and attract more customers.
For this reason, you need a website structure that allows you to add more products and more categories in a logical manner. Even if you have just three products to offer, do not link to them directly from the home page, for instance. Create the Products category page and sub-link each product page from it. Thus, you can go from 3 to 10 or 50 products easily, without creating a burdensome and confusing site structure.
2. Follow the 3 Clicks Rule
An unwritten rule you should obey when you optimise a website for SEO says that a visitor should be able to reach any page of your site in maximum 3 clicks from the moment they reach your home page.
For example, Home page -> Category -> Sub-category->Product page is as complex as you should go. And it is quite sufficient for most B2C and B2B websites. If you feel like adding more information, you can do it in a clever way by attaching a downloadable product data sheet to each product page. Whoever will download it, really wants the extra information.
3. Keep Your Category Numbers under Control
A rule of the thumb says that a well structured website should have between two and seven categories. The exception to this rule is Amazon, but there is literally no other company offering the same variety of products.
Well-organised categories are very helpful for SEO. They allow Google to understand what kind of content you have on each page and how it relates both to keywords and to the users’ intent when they search for your products and services.
4. Add Breadcrumbs to Your Website
One of the simplest ways to optimise a website for SEO is to add breadcrumbs to each page. What does this word mean? It is simple the horizontal navigational structure that shows visitors how deep they are in your site menu, and allows them to navigate back with ease.
For instance, you see: Home->Products-> Men’s Shoes-> Casual loafers. Each element of this structure is clickable and allows the user to go back to any of the previous pages. Google can read breadcrumbs, as well, and index each page of your site faster and more accurately.
5. Create an Internal Linking Strategy
Building page rank is not an easy job. Google is looking for various elements to establish the reliability and reputation of a website. Linking from one page to another is one of these elements (internal linking).
Ideally, all pages of your website should link to and from each other. However, if you have a complex structure, this may not always be possible. One way to do it is to refer to your products in your blog posts and include links to the relevant product pages. Another is to mention category names in product pages and create a link back to the main category.