How to Optimize Your Site Architecture for SEO
For small business owners, web developers, and entrepreneurs, knowing how SEO works isn’t enough. Taking the principles of search engine optimization and translating them into design and architecture is how you will see results.
While many companies invest in content and the latest SEO tools they forget the foundation for every internet marketing campaign. Your site architecture needs to be optimized for SEO in order to see the desired results.
Experts note that making your site easy to use is as important as creating content and using the right words and phrases.
If you aren’t focused on site architecture here’s what you’re missing.
Great Site Architecture Means Sitelinks
No company is going to invest in redesigning their site architecture if they don’t understand the purpose. But this effort isn’t just to make your site easier to use, it also works to make it easier for Google’s bots and algorithms to help you.
Keyword discovery strategies will bring users and bots to your site. But what they do when they get there is how architecture helps.
Your site needs to be designed around site links. Google only provides these under your listing when they think they’ll be helpful to searchers.
Sitelinks are a boost to SEO. They give you a navigation space in Google search results and more inbound traffic.
Help Google Find You
An easy to use design means a lower bounce rate. Your visitors will be more likely to stay on your site and get to the information and services they’re looking for if you reward them with a simple structure.
The same is true for Google. With a clear hierarchy of design, solid links, and a structure that leads from one idea to the next your page will be easy to navigate.
All of us are so eager to get to better results in SEO that it’s sometimes hard to put on the brakes. But site architecture is like any other type of architecture — it requires planning and forward thinking.
For existing sites, this might mean taking out a piece of paper and starting from scratch. We will cover the main topics you need to think about.
1. Hierarchy of Design
Your site’s architecture should look like a tree with roots. This network of roots is your hierarchy and should follow a logical order.
When designing any aspect of your page it’s important to make it logical to your audience, not just your internal stakeholders.
2. Focus on Page Links
Once you have your hierarchy down you can focus on the top tier links and structure beneath. Using real words over symbols will make this a clear process.
Keep your top line links between 2 and 7 for the sake of ease as well. All of the links should be words or phrases that align with keywords.
By creating solid links with clear words and building your link structure under each you will be more likely to appear in Google search results with site links.
3. Keep The Coding Simple
You should use either CSS or HTML for your site architecture. While there are more coding languages emerging every year, using HTML or CSS will help bots and algorithms scan your page and develop results.
This is not to say that Java, MySQL, or any other emerging language isn’t great for your content on top of the architecture. Just make sure the foundation is easy to use and scannable for both users and bots.
4. Avoid Duplication
If you have large data sets or pieces of information on your site make sure it doesn’t look too similar. Your pages will be penalized if it seems that too many pages are too similar.
This structure makes it unlikely Google’s bots will scan pages as discrete information. You will limit your site’s ability to create inbound links from search results in this case.
5. Order in Terms of Importance
What is most important to your site visitors? These need to be the top links in your site navigation.
As you envision the hierarchy of your site the more granular data moves further down and the most important information should be set at the top.
This intuitive structure will make it easier for visitors to navigate your site. If you bury what they are looking for down deep under sub links they are likely to get frustrated and look elsewhere.
6. Design Flow
Speaking of intuitive design, your entire site architecture should follow a design somewhat like a flow chart. If one idea is true or false it should move to the next.
As more and more companies are moving toward interactive technology the internet is the basis for how consumers want to experience information.
Think of your favorite video game or television show. Each one is a story with one idea building to the next.
Your architecture is the same. Make sure your design flow moves from point A to point B and so on in terms of the hierarchy, links, and user experience.
7. Adapt and Change
Site architecture is no more static than any other part of your site design. While you want a solid foundation to build from you can’t be afraid to change.
Studying the behavior of your users using analytics allows you to identify roadblocks, bad roads, and places they are easily lost.
Your architecture isn’t just a roadmap to better SEO. A great site SEO should result in calls to action and conversions.
Study the behavior of your new and returning traffic to identify places where you can make improvements to the underlying road map that carries visitors and bots around your site.
Build Your Overall Strategy
Got the architecture revamped for your website? If not, you need to. Site architecture is the backbone for all of your SEO efforts.
Once the architecture is in place you have the foundation to create your winning SEO strategy. Next comes creating content, researching keywords, building links, using page tools, and measuring results.
Use your architecture as a launch pad to get your SEO in the next dimension. We can help!