A lot of the time, it can be easy to take a website designed with user experience in mind for granted. Many of us just expect that when we visit a website, it will be easy to navigate and find the information we’re looking for. However, everyone has had experiences where this is not the case. Not every business with a website has taken the time or has the skills to create a website that’s structured in a way that makes sense to users and search engines. Good website architecture isn’t something that comes easily and requires a digital marketing team that understands how to efficiently structure a website and enhance user experience.
If you’ve never considered the way your website is structured, you may need some help with your website architecture. This is also an important aspect of SEO that should not be overlooked. ENX2 Marketing can help you understand all the basics of website architecture and why you need it for SEO.
What is Website Architecture?
Website architecture refers to the way the pages on your website are structured. This is the way each page on your website is broken down and organized, such as a homepage that links to several more specific pages, like a service page, all of which likely have subpages of their own. These pages are grouped together based on similar topics and should have a clear hierarchy. Because of this, website architecture also involves the way you internally link to pages on your website to make it easier for users and search engines to find them.
Why is Website Architecture Important for SEO?
Having a good website architecture can be beneficial for your SEO in a few different ways, including the following.
Enhances User Experience
Users are always at the center of SEO. While you need to consider search engines as well, search engine algorithms are based on what would be most beneficial for the user. Because of this, much of SEO focuses on providing the best user experience possible. There are many resources available that can tell you exactly what you can avoid that will create a negative user experience, but a lot of them are practices that you likely already know and have encountered yourself. We’ve all visited a website looking for something in particular, only to end up wasting all our time searching around the website for it. This is annoying, and likely just makes you want to leave the website and find another one. Search engines don’t want to recommend websites with a negative user experience, so if users can’t even get from one page to another, your SEO could be taking a hit.
Increases Pages Per Session
You may have exactly the page a user is looking for, but if they can’t find it, it doesn’t matter. Improving your website’s SEO requires high-quality content, but users also need to be able to find it easily. If navigating your website ends up frustrating users, they’ll leave without getting any further, reducing the number of pages per session for your website. Of course, the more you can get users to stay on your website and move to different pages that could benefit them, the more it will help your website’s performance. Making it easy to flow through your website’s pages encourages users to explore more, have their needs met, and can help increase the chances that they’ll convert.
Helps Crawling and Indexing
While users should be your priority, you do need to ensure your website appeals to search engines, and having a good website architecture is a good way of doing it. Search engines need to be able to crawl your web pages so they can be indexed and show up in users’ SERPs. However, publishing a web page doesn’t guarantee that it will immediately be crawled and indexed.
The bots search engines use to crawl web pages are incredibly advanced, but you do need to help them out a little bit if you want to ensure your website gets crawled as efficiently as it can be. This means having a clear website architecture. Doing this allows search engines to see which pages lead to different pages so they can navigate them and move from one to another easily. Without this, bots may look at fewer pages than they could, simply because they couldn’t navigate your website.
How to Create SEO-Friendly Website Architecture
There are several ways that you can create a website architecture that’s SEO friendly and help both users and search engines navigate it.
Make URLs Simple and Consistent
Many of us have visited websites where the URLs are long strings of letters, numbers, and characters that mean nothing to us. The structure of your URLs is more important than you might realize, especially when it comes to website architecture. URLs should tell users exactly where they are on your website, whether they’re on a top-level page or several subpages in. If users are on a subpage, the URL should show users how they got to the page.
Using the ENX2 Marketing website as an example, SEO is a subpage for our online legal marketing services, which is why you’ll see the URL written as: https://enx2marketing.com/online-legal-marketing/search-engine-optimization/
Include Internal Links
All of your pages should be linked to/from another page somewhere on your website. Pages that aren’t linked to elsewhere are known as “orphaned pages,” and users have no way of getting to them without searching for that exact URL directly. Pages that aren’t linked to aren’t going to bring in much traffic and could end up being completely wasted. This also makes it harder for search engines to crawl your website. A good internal linking structure should make it easy for users and search engines to find relevant pages and explore your website.
Have an Easy Navigation Menu
An easy-to-use navigation menu is essential for any website. This allows users to find pages easily and move throughout your website. There are many different navigation menus you can choose, and which one will be the most beneficial for your website may vary. For example, a large website is going to need a menu that’s very different from a website with only a handful of pages.
Provide a Sitemap
A sitemap gives you the chance to break down your website. This shows all of the pages you want to be crawled and indexed and how your pages are organized and grouped. While users may be able to access a sitemap, these are mainly provided for search engines when they crawl your website. While we don’t control how bots crawl our websites, we can help guide them in the direction we want. Every website can benefit from having a sitemap, but this is especially for large websites that might have a harder time being crawled
When you have users going to pages beyond your homepage, you want them to be able to retrace their steps easily. You can do this by providing breadcrumbs. These do exactly the way it sounds. Breadcrumbs leave a trail that users can look at to see where they started from and how they got here. Breadcrumbs are often shown as links at the top of a page that typically look something like this – homepage > topic > subtopic > subtopic. This is just one more way of making it easier to navigate all the pages of your website.
Boost Your SEO with ENX2 Marketing
When a website is easy to navigate, you don’t even think twice about it, which is why you might not realize how much work goes into it. An experienced digital marketing agency makes all this work look easy, while you don’t have to worry about doing any of it yourself. At ENX2 Marketing, we know everything that goes into making a website SEO-friendly and ensuring that it provides a positive user experience.
Contact us today to learn more about working with a digital marketing agency!