Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important and integral part of a website’s marketing strategy. You can put hundreds of dollars and hours of work into the creation of a perfect website but without SEO, the odds that your prospective customers find you are slim to none. We know that keyword research and kick-ass content helps in getting your website recognized by search engines but site structure can further enhance SEO, benefitting your brand and your sales. We’re going to take a look at how to create a website structure to enhance on-page SEO and what changes you should make today.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
We’re going to briefly run you through what SEO and website architecture actually are to make sure we’re all on the same page. Search engine optimization is about increasing the quantity but most importantly the quality of the traffic a website receives. A website might get hundreds of thousands of hits per day but if none of them buy your product or service or even sign up for your mailing list, you might as well have gotten no visitors at all. SEO is done by increasing the visibility of a website in search engines through a variety of methods designed to make this happen organically instead of paying for ads. This is primarily done by creating quality content and tweaking a website’s own structure.
What is Site Structure?
Did you know that structure is one of the most crucial aspects of an SEO-friendly website? The details of how a website is built can not only make a massive difference in receiving high-quality traffic but also keep it there for a longer period of time.
To put it simply, a website’s structure is defined as how it’s set up – this includes its physical appearance but mainly applies to internal linking and how content is organized and presented. When it comes to SEO, a website’s structure shows Google and other search engines which pages are most important. When you only get one chance to capture the attention of a potential customer, directing them to the page that’s most relevant to them determines whether or not you make that sale.
How to Create a Website Structure That Is SEO Friendly
So, how do you actually create a website structure to enhance SEO? What’s the secret? There are many ways to optimize website structure to enhance SEO but let’s take a look at a few of the top methods SEO wizards are using to attract their target audience.
Related: Is your CMS SEO ready?
Before we move onto the more complicated, technical stuff (okay, we’re lying, it’s really not that complicated), look at eliminating any content you don’t need or that’s old and irrelevant. We’re not necessarily talking about old blog posts – some of the most relevant, go-to blog posts have been around for many years and continue to receive tens of thousands of hits. But, old content that no longer applies to your business has got to go, such as information related to a product or service that you no longer offer. Keeping it only confuses the viewer and clutter for your website. Nobody wants that.
Now that you only have relevant content on your website, it’s time to brainstorm your keywords. Write down all of the words and phrases that come to mind when you think of your business – what words best describe your business? What products or services do you sell? What industry are you in? From here, conduct keyword research through online tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. This helps to either narrow down your brainstormed phrases into keywords or find related, relevant keywords that apply to your business.
At this stage, you’ll likely have a long list of keywords, all of which may not be relevant to your business. These are the words you want to filter out. Only keep a select few words that apply directly to your business and the products or services you offer.
Create a Hierarchy
Now that you have your keywords, it’s time to create your hierarchy and adjust that hierarchy to your website map. You’re going to select your most relevant keywords and organize and prioritize them to the main sections and the subsections of your website. Including these keywords in the names of the sections of your website boosts their search engine visibility immensely. Keep in mind that the higher a page is in your architecture (home page vs. main pages vs. subsections), the more likely it is to show as a search engine result.
Optimize Your URLs to be SEO-friendly
When it comes to the individual URLs of the pages on your website, make sure they’re SEO-friendly. Don’t create URLs that end with a bunch of random numbers and letters after your domain name (e.g. www.website.com/home/34338jdkjf). Instead, opt for something easier on the eyes and on your search engine results. Such as www.website.com/home/interestingsubject. It’s not enough to make sure you have your pages labeled correctly with relevant keywords on your website – you need to include them in the URL as well.
While there are certainly more ways to create a website structure that enhances SEO than what we’ve listed here, this is definitely a great start. It’s so important to remember that SEO optimization doesn’t just involve creating content to fill your website – you have to start with the architecture of the site, building your SEO potential from the ground up. Take our advice on this and watch those high-quality hits soar.