In today’s digital age, having a website is essential for any business or organisation. However, simply having a website is not enough to attract visitors and potential customers.
In order to increase visibility and drive traffic to your site, it’s important to have an SEO-friendly website structure.
Search Engine optimisation (SEO) refers to the process of optimizing your website in order to improve its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
By implementing SEO best practices, you can make it easier for search engines like Google to crawl and index your site, ultimately leading to higher visibility and more organic traffic.
In this article, we will cover the following topics related to SEO-friendly website structure along with some practical examples:
- What Is Website Architecture and Why It Is Important: Explanation of what website architecture is and why it’s important for both users and search engines.
- What Makes an SEO-Friendly Structure: Overview of key components that make up an SEO-friendly website structure, including keyword research, URL structure, internal linking, and sitemaps.
- What Is a Good Website Structure for Ecommerce: Tips on creating an effective website structure for ecommerce sites, including category and product page hierarchy, breadcrumb navigation, and optimizing for search engines.
- How To Create a Website Architecture Plan: Step-by-step guide on how to create a comprehensive website architecture plan that takes into account user experience and search engine optimisation best practices.
- Website Architecture Examples: Real-world examples of successful website architectures across different industries and business types.
- 5 Website Structure Best Practices for SEO-Friendly Site Architecture: Summary of five key best practices to keep in mind when designing an SEO-friendly site architecture: simplicity, hierarchy, internal linking, responsive design, and regular testing.
- Site Architecture Tools: Overview of helpful tools that can assist with planning and implementing an effective website architecture strategy.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Website Architecture and Why Is It Important?
Website architecture refers to the way a website’s pages are structured and linked together. It involves the planning and design of the technical, functional, and visual components of a website before it is developed. A well-designed website architecture helps users navigate through a site easily while also making it easier for search engine crawlers to index its pages.
Explanation of Website Architecture
Website architecture is the foundation of any successful website. It determines how content is organized, how pages are linked together, and how users interact with the site. A good website architecture should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and visually appealing.
There are several key components that make up a website’s architecture:
- Site structure: This refers to the way pages are organized within a site. A clear hierarchy makes it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.
- Navigation: Navigation menus should be easy to use and understand, with clear labels that accurately describe what each page contains.
- URL structure: URLs should be descriptive and easy to read, with relevant keywords included where appropriate.
- Internal linking: Links between pages should be logical and relevant, helping users move seamlessly from one page to another.
Importance of Website Architecture for User Experience and SEO
A well-designed website architecture has several benefits for both user experience (UX) and search engine optimisation (SEO).
Good website architecture improves UX by making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. When a site is well-organized, visitors can quickly locate the information they need without getting lost or frustrated.
Clear navigation menus help users move around a site more easily. When links are labeled accurately, visitors can quickly identify which page they want to visit next.
Search Engine optimisation
Website architecture also plays an important role in SEO. When a site is well-structured, search engine crawlers can easily index its pages. This means that your content will be more likely to appear in search results when people search for relevant keywords.
A clear hierarchy also helps search engines understand which pages on your site are most important. By using internal linking strategically, you can direct traffic towards these key pages.
What Is a Good Website Structure for Ecommerce?
When it comes to ecommerce websites, having a good website structure is crucial for both user experience and search engine optimisation (SEO). A well-designed structure can help customers easily navigate your site and find what they’re looking for, while also making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages.
Here are some tips for creating an ecommerce-friendly website structure:
1. Plan out a hierarchical structure
Organize your site into categories and subcategories that make sense for your products. This will help customers easily find what they’re looking for and also make it easier for search engines to understand the hierarchy of your site.
2. Keep URLs short and descriptive
Use clear, concise URLs that describe the content of each page. This not only helps with SEO, but also makes it easier for customers to remember and share links.
3. Use breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a navigation aid that show users where they are on your site and how they got there. They also provide additional context to search engines about the hierarchy of your site.
4. Optimize for mobile
With more people shopping on their phones than ever before, it’s important to ensure that your site is optimized for mobile devices. This includes having a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes, as well as designing a navigation menu that works well on smaller screens.
5. Use internal linking
Internal linking helps connect related pages on your site, which can improve both user experience and SEO. Make sure to link from category pages to product pages, as well as from product pages back up to category pages.
By following these tips, you can create an ecommerce-friendly website structure that improves both user experience and SEO.
How To Create a Website Architecture Plan
Creating a website architecture plan is a crucial step in the process of creating an SEO-Optimised website.
Website architecture refers to the hierarchical structure of your website pages, which is reflected through internal linking. A well-planned website architecture can improve user experience, increase engagement, and boost search engine rankings.
Here are five steps to creating a website architecture plan:
1. Define project scope
Before you start planning your website’s architecture, define the scope of your project. What is the purpose of your site? How will it be used? What are its requirements and limitations?
Defining the scope of your project is essential to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your website.
Here are some examples to illustrate:
- If you’re building an e-commerce site, your scope might include creating a platform that allows customers to browse and purchase products online, as well as managing inventory and shipping.
- If you’re building a blog, your scope might include creating a platform for publishing articles on specific topics, allowing users to comment and share content, and optimizing the site for search engines.
- If you’re building a portfolio site for a photographer or artist, your scope might include showcasing their work in an aesthetically pleasing way, providing information about pricing and availability, and enabling users to contact them directly.
By defining the scope of your project upfront, you can ensure that your website’s architecture is tailored to meet its specific needs and requirements. This will help you create a more effective site that achieves your goals and meets the needs of your target audience.
2. Zero in on your goals
Identify what you want to achieve with your website. Do you want to generate leads, sell products, or provide information? Your goals will inform the design and structure of your site.
Let’s say you’re creating a website for a new line of fitness supplements. Zeroing in on your goals can help you identify the primary purpose of your site and how to design it accordingly.
Here are some possible goals for your website:
- Generate leads: You might want to collect email addresses or other contact information from visitors who are interested in learning more about your products.
- Sell products: You might want to set up an e-commerce store where visitors can browse and purchase your supplements directly from your site.
- Provide information: You might want to create a resource center with articles, videos, and other content related to fitness and nutrition that will attract visitors and establish your brand as an authority in the industry.
Once you’ve identified your primary goal, you can start designing your site around that objective.
For example, if your goal is to sell products, you’ll want to make sure that the design of your site emphasizes product listings, reviews, and shopping cart functionality.
If your goal is to generate leads, you’ll need to focus on creating compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the site that encourage visitors to sign up for newsletters or request more information.
By zeroing in on your goals early in the process of building your website, you can ensure that every aspect of its design and structure supports those objectives. This will ultimately lead to a more effective website that achieves the outcomes you desire.
3. Identify your target audience
Knowing who your target audience is will help you create a website that meets their needs and preferences. Consider factors such as age, gender, location, interests, and online behavior.
Let’s say you’re creating a website for a new line of eco-friendly cleaning products. Your target audience might be:
- Women between the ages of 25 and 45
- Living in urban or suburban areas
- Interested in sustainability, environmentalism, and reducing their carbon footprint
- Active on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook
By identifying your target audience, you can tailor your website’s architecture to meet their needs and preferences.
For example, you might prioritize user-friendly navigation, clear product descriptions that highlight their eco-friendliness, and social media integration to encourage sharing and engagement.
On the other hand, if your target audience was different – say, elderly individuals looking for home healthcare products – you might design your site architecture differently.
You might prioritize larger font sizes and easy-to-use navigation menus to accommodate potential visual impairments or mobility issues.
Ultimately, understanding your target audience is critical to designing an effective website that meets their needs and achieves your goals.
4. Conduct keyword research
Keyword research helps you identify the words and phrases that people use when searching for content related to your site. Use these keywords to optimize your site’s content and structure for search engines.
Let’s say you’re creating a website for a new line of vegan protein bars. Conducting keyword research can help you identify the most relevant and popular search terms related to your product, which in turn can help you optimize your site’s content and structure to improve its search engine ranking.
Some example keywords that might be relevant for your site include:
- Vegan protein bars
- Plant-based snacks
- High-protein vegan snacks
- Gluten-free protein bars
- Healthy snack options
By incorporating these keywords into your website’s content, such as in page titles, meta descriptions, and product descriptions, you can increase the likelihood that your site will appear higher in search engine results pages when people search for those terms.
Keyword research can also help you identify long-tail keywords – more specific phrases that may have lower search volume but are highly targeted to a particular audience.
For example, “vegan protein bars for athletes” or “high-protein vegan snacks for weight loss”.
By incorporating these long-tail keywords into your content, you can attract a more niche audience that is highly interested in your product and more likely to convert into customers.
5. Plan your site structure and information hierarchy
The structure of your site should be intuitive and easy to navigate for users. Create a clear hierarchy of pages and sections that makes sense for both users and search engines.
Let’s say you’re creating a website for an online clothing store. Planning your site structure and information hierarchy can help ensure that users can easily find the products they’re looking for, while also improving your site’s search engine ranking.
Here’s an example of how you might structure your site:
- Home: A landing page that highlights new arrivals, sales, and other promotions.
- Shop: A section where users can browse all available products, organized by category (e.g. Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Accessories).
- Product Pages: Individual pages that provide detailed information about each product, including photos, descriptions, pricing, and sizing information.
- About Us: A page that provides background information about your company and its mission.
- Contact Us: A page with contact information and a form for users to submit inquiries or feedback.
- Blog: A section with articles related to fashion trends, styling tips, and other topics of interest to your target audience.
This structure creates a clear hierarchy of pages that makes sense both for users who are browsing your site and for search engines trying to understand what your site is about.
By optimizing each page with relevant keywords and internal links to other pages on your site, you can improve the overall search engine ranking of your website.
Website Architecture Examples
Website architecture is the hierarchical structure of your website pages, and it plays a crucial role in determining how easy it is for users to navigate your site.
Effective website architecture can help improve user experience, increase engagement, and boost conversions.
Here are some examples of effective website architecture for different types of sites.
Hierarchical Website Structure
A hierarchical website structure, also known as a tree model, is one of the most common types of website architecture. This structure is based on a hierarchy of pages that are organized into categories and subcategories. The main advantage of this type of structure is that it’s easy to navigate and understand.
HubSpot’s website uses a hierarchical structure that makes it easy for users to find the information they need. The main navigation menu includes categories such as “Marketing,” “Sales,” and “Service,” which are then broken down into subcategories.
Linear Website Structure
A linear website structure, also known as a sequential model, is another common type of website architecture. This structure is based on a linear sequence of pages that are linked together in a specific order.
The main advantage of this type of structure is that it’s easy to follow and understand.
Example: Adobe XD
Adobe XD’s website uses a linear structure that guides users through the design process step-by-step. Each page focuses on a specific aspect of the design process and includes clear calls-to-action to move users to the next step.
Webbed Website Structure
A webbed website structure, also known as a network model, is a more complex type of website architecture. This structure consists of interconnected pages that are linked together in multiple ways.
The main advantage of this type of structure is that it allows for more flexibility and creativity in how content is organized.
WixFresh’s website uses a webbed structure that showcases their portfolio in an engaging way. Users can navigate through different projects by clicking on images or scrolling through content blocks.
Overall, effective website architecture depends on the goals and needs of your site. By understanding the different types of structures available, you can choose the one that best fits your content and audience.
Website Structure Best Practices for SEO-Friendly Site Architecture
If you want to create a website that is optimized for search engines, it’s important to pay attention to its structure. A well-structured website not only makes it easier for users to navigate and find what they’re looking for, but it also helps search engines understand the content on your site.
Here are five best practices for creating an SEO-friendly website structure:
1. Use an SEO-friendly URL structure
Your website’s URLs should be simple and descriptive, making it easy for both users and search engines to understand what each page is about. Avoid using long or complicated URLs with lots of numbers or symbols.
2. Plan your navigation menus
Your navigation menus should be clear and easy to use, with logical categories and subcategories that make sense to your users. Use descriptive labels for each menu item, and avoid using generic terms like “Products” or “Services.”
3. Use category pages
Category pages can help organize your content into logical groups, making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. They can also help improve your site’s SEO by providing additional opportunities to target specific keywords.
4. Plan the depth of your site’s key pages
Your most important pages should be no more than three clicks away from your homepage. This ensures that users can easily find them, and also helps search engines understand their importance.
5. Use internal linking strategically
Internal links help connect your content together, making it easier for both users and search engines to navigate your site. Be sure to link related pages together using descriptive anchor text that includes relevant keywords.
By following these best practices, you can create a website structure that is optimized for both users and search engines, helping you attract more traffic and improve your online visibility.
Next, lets consider some tools that can aid you in the designing of your website structure.
Site Architecture Tools
Designing an effective website architecture can be a complex process, but there are many tools available to help make the task easier. These tools can help you organize your content, plan your navigation menus, and create a structure that is optimized for both users and search engines.
Here’s an overview of some of the most popular site architecture tools:
Slickplan is a web-based tool that helps you create visual sitemaps, flowcharts, and wireframes for your website. It includes features such as drag-and-drop editing, collaboration tools, and integration with other design software.
Lucidchart is another web-based diagramming tool that allows you to create sitemaps, flowcharts, wireframes, and other types of visual diagrams. It includes templates for common website structures and integrations with popular design software like Sketch and Adobe Creative Cloud.
MindNode is a mind mapping tool that helps you brainstorm ideas and organize them into a hierarchical structure. It’s particularly useful for planning the content on your site and creating categories and subcategories.
Gliffy is a cloud-based diagramming tool that allows you to create sitemaps, flowcharts, wireframes, and other types of diagrams. It includes templates for common website structures and integrations with popular design software like Confluence and Jira.
5. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that provides insights into how users interact with your site. By analyzing user behavior data such as bounce rates, time on page, and click-through rates, you can identify areas where your site architecture may need improvement.
These are just a few examples of the many site architecture tools available today. By using these tools to plan your website structure in advance, you can ensure that your site is easy to navigate, optimized for search engines, and designed to meet the needs of your target audience before you even start building it.
Once your site structure is in place, don’t forget to regularly review and update it as needed. With the right tools at your fingertips, designing an SEO-friendly website structure doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
In conclusion, having an SEO-friendly website structure is crucial for the success of your website. It not only helps search engines understand the content on your site but also makes it easier for users to navigate and find what they’re looking for.
By using a hierarchical, linear, or webbed structure, you can create a clear and organized layout that meets the needs of your target audience.
As we have seen, there are many tools available to help you plan and design your site architecture, from sitemap generators to mind mapping software.
By taking advantage of these resources, you can streamline the process and ensure that your site is optimized for both search engines and users.
If you’re starting a new project or revamping an existing website, we encourage you to prioritize creating an SEO-friendly website structure. Not only will it improve your search engine rankings, but it will also enhance user experience and drive more conversions.
With the right approach and tools at your disposal, you can create a successful website that meets the needs of both search engines and users.
If you are planning to create a new site or improve the optimisation of your current website structure, but it all seems a little overwhelming or you just don’t have the time to get stuck in, reach out to us and we’ll help you create a site structure that helps boost your online visibility. Book a free Discovery Call here or complete our Contact Form here.