Having a logical site structure helps visitors and search engines, as well as SEO-assisted sales, to easily find your content while improving conversion rates and supporting your SEO efforts. A solid site structure is essential when you want to launch a new website or redesign your existing website. The larger your site, the more critical this becomes. In this article, you will learn how to plan and create a great site structure in these 5 steps:

  • Preparation for visual mapping of everything
  • Check how competitors’ websites are structured
  • Create a logical plan based on your current pages
  • Completing the site structure using keyword research data
  • Mapping of routing components on the site

Before we get into the above, let’s take a look at why you should care about building a solid structure for your site. Also, to learn about all digital marketing channels, read the digital marketing article.

Why is site structure important?

We all know about the interwoven activities of marketing along various channels. The structure of the website is not much different, the structure of the site is as much related to the user experience as it is to SEO.

user experience (UX)

Suppose you want to buy a frying pan. You go to a website that sells kitchen appliances, click on the “pots and pans” category, and then select the pan.

Whichever store you visit, the process is almost the same because this structure leads to a great user experience. If you had to click through dozens of pages to get to what you were looking for, you would probably leave the site and go to another site.

Internal links

Using simple navigation and internal linking structure is beneficial not only for your users but also for your SEO. Because it allows PageRank to flow around your site. PageRank shows the validity of a page based on its internal and external backlinks. This issue, which was created in the early days of Google’s existence, has been the basis of the ranking algorithm and is still used as a ranking signal today.

By linking related pages to each other, you influence the PR flow around your site, meaning that pages with more internal links are likely to rank better. Don’t try to make a game out of it, only link to other pages when it benefits your visitors.

Link site

Google sometimes shows your best pages on the search results page. This feature of the search results page is known as Sitelinks.

You have no control over what Google decides to show in this section, but they are usually some of the most important pages and categories on your website, and that importance is based on your site structure and internal links.

Naturally, pages that are linked from your menu and other main navigation elements will show up in Sitelinks more than others.

Crawl Efficiency

If a page has few valuable backlinks, you can’t expect people or search engine bots to keep visiting it. Such pages are considered unimportant. You probably don’t need to worry about optimizing Google bot review productivity and budget. This is a task for very large sites, so you should have no problem with this if you have a strong site structure.

Content planning and framing

Your site structure tells you when and where to create new pages or sections. As this is closely related to keyword research, some of your current pages may do better by targeting different keywords based on their high traffic potential, but not all. Design teams, especially in the early stages of designing a website, are better off using frames.

Wireframing is a simplified layout of the page that lays out its structure without adding any content or images. In this way, it takes into account the needs of the user and his journey throughout the site, which is inevitably dependent on the structure of the website. For example, given the structure of the website, a designer knows that a particular page is in the top category and can set another instance of it for two levels lower in the site hierarchy.

Site scaling

When you create new pages, you place them in the most relevant parts of your site, but what seems relevant today may not be in the future when you add more content. Maybe you need to restructure some parts of your site and use redirects.

A planned website architecture makes your site shockproof against future changes. You always know to base your content on the research behind it.

How to create a website structure

The investment in time and complexity of creating a site structure depends on two things:

How big is your site and will it be?

Is your keyword research ready?

If your keyword research is ready and your site is relatively small, creating a site structure can be done in less than 1 hour.

1- Draw everything visually

The most important aspect of building a website is having a basic image that you can share with your team.

2- Check the structure of your competitors’ sites

Planning a website structure from scratch can be quite complicated considering the size of the site. So first take inspiration from your best competitors because their site structure is probably very close to ideal. Using a structure similar to that of competitors also creates a sense of familiarity for your audience.

To get started, enter your competitor’s site in Ahref’s Site Explorer. See how much organic traffic each section of the site is responsible for. Do this for their subfolders first.

Get inspired by the structure of the sections that work best. Grab their URLs and continue this process by looking at the deeper structures with the Top Subfolders report. Just make sure you set the Prefix option in the address bar to consider the top pages you’ve selected as seed pages.

If you are working in the field of commerce, it is better to look at how industry giants like Amazon are structured. You can see all kinds of categories on this site. They have done it well, so use it.

3- Create a logical map based on your current pages

The most important thing to keep in mind when designing your website is to make your structure flat and not deep. Having a flat site structure ensures that any two pages on your website are just a few clicks away from each other. This issue is very important for both users and search engine bots.

If you are in the process of redesigning your current site, you can check and see if your site structure currently has depth issues. Use the site measurement tools to check your site and then go to the structure section and open the depth report.

4- Complete your site structure using keyword research data

Keyword research allows you to modify the structure of your site and complete it. You can choose the main keywords for the top pages that should be at the top of the hierarchy based on search volume and organic traffic potential. Although, if you haven’t done keyword research, you should consider doing it first. This will ensure that you complete the following steps systematically with all available information in mind.

Group your keywords to create a content hierarchy

Filtering the main page of your keyword research into groups of keywords related to a particular meaning or word is very useful. This becomes a must for larger e-commerce websites.

5- Mapping of site routing components

Top-level navigation is vital for visitors to easily navigate through your most important pages. These pages represent the highest level of your site structure.

Many websites supplement their Header navigation with a Footer. You usually see pages like T&C, Privacy Policy, and other boring stuff in this section. Many visitors do not go to the bottom of the page, but you can also consider the footer as an important navigation element. You can link to the best pages that could not be in the Header or even repeat those that are in this section.

 

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