If you need to move the needle on traffic and conversions of the website, Site Architecture it is often one of the most effective tools available in your toolkit.
And yet, very few SEOs make the most of it.
I have reviewed a large, established website where we recently made simple adjustments to the site architecture using only 2-3 of the principles outlined in this post. Traffic and conversions grew a staggering 175% in a matter of months. For poorly optimized sites with potential, it can be like opening the floodgates.
In this post, we will cover not only the same tactics used previously, but many more to bring your site to its full potential.
In this article you will find:
- What is the site architecture?
- Golden Rule: Satisfy User Intent
- Fine-tune your web architecture
- Take advantage of the main pages
- Create content silos
- Contextually related cross pages
- High authority link to landing pages
- Pagination, See All, and Infinite Scroll Pages
- Smart faceted navigation
- Take advantage of HTML Sitemaps
- Link new more prominent content
What is web architecture?
The architecture of a web page, in its simplest form, is how it is organize and navigate the pages of your website. The architecture is built through navigation and links, but it is also related to other elements such as URLs, navigation paths, category pages, sitemaps, and a Web-page design professional. A good site architecture helps users and search engines find what they are looking for.
Web architecture also helps define both the relevance like importance of its content. You can direct users and bots to your most critical pages and provide signals about what its content is about.
In summary, the website architecture aims to make your website as easy to use and understand.
The architecture of a website, when done correctly, has many positive benefits for SEO positioning:
- Best indexing pages (especially for large sites).
- Rankings and traffic more high.
- Improvement in user experience.
When you identify the architecture of your website, it is magical to see how traffic improves, visitors get involved, and conversions increase.
1. Golden rule: Satisfy the user's intention
When choosing how to link and organize your website, you need to consider 3 main questions:
- What are people looking for?
- What is important?
- How are the pages related each?
A good web architecture gives visitors what they want and they need the way clearer and faster possible. Consider this example of App Design, a web design company that manages all 3 masterfully.
Check everything that works on this page:
- The links and anchor text they help people navigate quickly.
- The content is organized around themes and services.
- Other important pages are always visible and highlighted for greater user conversion.
The user's intention is fulfilled and, in many cases, exceeded. And because the relationship between pages is clearly organized, search engines can better understand and rank each page.
Using analytical and search data, you can easily find what pages are searched for on your site:
- Most frequently visited pages
- Internal search, perfect for online store
- Best conversion page
Pages near the top of these performance metrics should be highlighted, while pages near the bottom may have less visibility. Example: is that "About us" link in your header the most important link in your navigation, when almost no one uses it?
The fastest shortcut to improve web architecture to improve SEO It is navigation that provides user-centric solutions.
2. Fine-tune your web architecture
A "flat" website architecture is one in which the important pages are not too far from the home page, which means that they are required fewer clicks to navigate.
Many SEO experts refer to «3 click rule«, Which means that no important page should be more than 3 clicks from your home page (or possibly another highly authoritative page).
If each page contains more than 100 links, the number of possible pages in 3 clicks increases exponentially:
- 200 links per page yield 8,000,000 pages
- 500 links per page yield 125,000,000 pages
- 1000 links per page produce 1 billion pages in 3 clicks
Fewer clicks mean pages are easier to find, and "closeness" to important pages like a home page can indicate the importance of the page itself.
You may ask yourself: Why not use a completely flat architecture and link EVERYTHING from the home page? At first glance, it may seem like a good idea, but there are a couple of very serious reasons why you shouldn't do this.
- Too many links on one page has disadvantages, such as loss of authority spread across the most important pages.
- Completely flat architecture robs you of the opportunity to organize and define a contextual hierarchy within its content, and therefore, where you want the user to go.
How to audit click depth
Unless your website has only a few pages, examine the depth of the click by hand not it's an easy thing to do. Fortunately, SEMrush SEO audit software reports the depth of clicks on your website, generating a internal links report Awesome.
To really understand its structure, it often helps to see a visual example. One of the most popular visualization tools is Sitebulb, which can make visualizations easy to understand the depth of links on your web page.
3. Take advantage of the main pages
A home page is an important overview page that introduces a general topic or category, connecting to more specific child categories and topics.
The main pages have several purposes:
- They provide a Overview fast about the topic.
- Answer the main questions that users may have.
- Link to important subtopics and main products.
- They are usually easier to use than category pages.
- Help build your theme authority for a web page.
The best main pages are those with lots of relevant links that point to them, so you can pass that linking authority (PageRank) to all the secondary topics it links to.
Category pages they are often natural center pages because they have a lot of natural linking authority. The key is to improve your category pages with additional information beyond a list of subcategories or services and products. Whatever are the important related pages that will help your visitor always be good candidates to link.
4. Create content silos
While the main pages are great for connecting closely related topics, the real power comes when combines main pages with content silos.
A content silo is an organization hierarchical of its content by theme. An example of a well organized silo would be:
While you can think of center pages as the center of a main topic, you can think of content silos like going up and down a ladder, where hierarchy is important. A clear example of silos would be in online stores.
Consider the example of silos above. Each step in the hierarchy is linked to both the previous and next step. This helps users navigate and search subtopics to better understand content.
Content silos are generally grouped by 2-3 things:
- Navigation, including breadcrumbs.
- Links contextual.
- Structures URL.
The important thing about content silos is that you are grouping by topic and subtopic, and organizing it into ladder mode, from general descriptions to very specific topics.
5. Contextually related cross pages
Once you've created a web architecture that takes advantage of center pages and organizes content in silos. The next step is, what will make your website much more powerful:
Links related internal pages.
Not only silos are related, pages can also link up. This tactic turns out to be one of the critical steps that led to increased traffic for the site mentioned in the first example.
SEO positioning improves markedly with internally linked page links. This way of structuring content helps search engines understand the main topic of the article.
To be fair, this is not the only way to do it. SEO experts continually debate the best internal link strategy. Some SEO experts like to minimize cross-links between main, category and product pages, others link to everything in sight.
SEMrush uses the best tool for studying internal links:
We can even see an error audit in the internal links on our website:
If the topics are too different within a page, it is probably not wise to link them.
6. High authority link to landing pages
Now that you've created related homepages, silos, and internal links, there's another factor that I consider important for adding links to your landing pages.
A landing page It is any page on your website that is important for your users to visit. This could be:
- A sales page that you want to promote from your home page, like a specific product.
- A high conversion page in your silo structure, like the contact page for customer conversion.
A page of high authority It is any page with a lot of links that tends to rank well and receives a lot of traffic. Consider an advertising agency, the best strategy would be to take the client to the budget page to offer the services of the company and thus, perform the conversion from user to client.
The idea is to transfer linking authority from your high authority pages to your important landing pages which may be sublinked. Sometimes these are direct access links, or links that are not in the navigation.
How to determine which pages to add links to and from where? There are several methods:
- The Internal links report of Google Search Console: displays raw internal link counts for your top 1,000 URLs. (Pro tip: If your site has more than 1,000 URLs, create separate Search Console properties at the directory level for more data.)
- Various tools included SEMrush they can report authority metrics for each URL. My current favorite is SEMrush. You can use this to find high authority and sublinked URLs.
- Google Analytics It can tell you which pages receive the most traffic and which pages convert well and would benefit from increased traffic.
- For advanced SEO, you can calculate internal PageRank using the authority SEMrush tool to find linked URLs with high and low PageRank.
7. Pagination, See All, and Infinite Scroll Pages
For category pages with hundreds or thousands of listings, 3 techniques that can simultaneously help improve web architecture on your website:
- See all pages.
- Infinite scroll.
The simplest and typically preferred solution is to divide long category listings across the pagination. Properly implemented, pagination can help virtually improve website architecture by telling Google that all of your posts are part of the same series.
Most SEO experts prefer simple paging for its ease of use, both by robots and by humans.
On the other hand, the type pages «see everything»They can also improve web architecture by linking to all posts on the same page.
Some SEO experts prefer "see all" pages because they believe that Google can better track all posts when linked from a single page, a clear example would be the blog page, where all articles are organized by dates. This works well if you don't have too many products or posts. The challenge with "see all" pages is that for pages with more than 100 or 1000 entries, it can cause slow load times and little user experience.
A hybrid approach is «infinite scroll", In which results are continuously loaded into the user's browser as you scroll the page, but are also marked with traditional paginated results that robots can easily understand. Google has good documentation about a preferred way to implement these infinite scroll pages.
When using pagination, it is easy to overlook smaller details that can help with SEO usability and positioning:
- Google now ignores the rel = prev / next markup, so it's important that you don't trust it as the only pagination method.
- Don't neglect the pagination links at the bottom of your page. Because these are real links, and not just hints, there is strong evidence that they send a stronger signal to Google than HTTP header links.
- Please note that pagination links are real links. This means that they affect usability and traceability, and can also transmit actual link signals like PageRank (although in reality they are only a small amount).
Rather than setting pagination links in a standard linear fashion (2, 3, 4, etc.), some SEO experts have studied the most optimal strategies for linking sections within pagination.
8. Smart faceted navigation
Faceted navigation is refers to a navigation that allows users sort, filter and limit results based on many characteristics and criteria. Sometimes it is better to see something to understand it, so here is an example from Zappos.
Faceted navigation is very useful for users, but for search engines, it has the problem of creating millions of URL combinations, many of them with duplicate or almost duplicate content. From a crawling and indexing perspective, this can present a huge headache.
The key to succeeding with faceted browsing is this: Authorize search engines to crawl and index your unique pages that generate traffic, while disavowing them to crawl and index Low value URL.
Once you understand which URLs you want to index and which ones you don't, there are many tools at your disposal to control faceted navigation, including:
- Meta Robots.
- Rel = canonical (the one I personally recommend).
- Nofollow attributes (my preferred to apply in the footer).
9. Take Advantage of Sitemaps
Almost everyone understands the importance of XML sitemaps. But the HTML sitemaps Integrated into web pages are increasingly rare.
Let's bring them back!
A human-readable HTML sitemap can provide humans and search robots with clues to the structure of your website.
Consider this perfect example of HTML sitemap for the New York Times . Not only does it link to almost every important page on the site, but it is organized by date, content format, and topic.
HTML sitemaps are often more effective on larger websites where the structure of the webpage may not be immediately obvious from the menu. But even the smallest sites can benefit as HTML sitemaps are often useful to human visitors as well.
10. Link a new relevant content
Sometimes we run into this problem: publish a new service or product, and it is not going anywhere. No visibility, no rankings, and no traffic.
Part of the challenge is that Google still has no cues to judge its new content. Even if you put it on your sitemap, ping Google, and share it on social media, Google just doesn't have enough cues to judge you yet.
An easy solution is just link your new content more prominently, to often in the important parts from your website, including your home page or posts related to new content. Google's John Mueller explains:
What also makes a big difference to us is that the home page is really important to your website, as the newest content is also linked quite high within your website structure, so maybe even in your home page.
So what a lot of sites have is this sidebar where it's like new items or new products or like products for sale or something like that, anything you want to push a little bit in the search results, which definitely helps us .
- John Mueller
News sites and blog feeds are great for linking to new content prominently. Static websites and online stores with many products sometimes have difficulties.
Featured Side Bars, news pages and the blog feeds They are great for linking to new content prominently.
Making the web architecture of your site correct is a challenge, but the rewards are often excellent. Plus, you can test, measure, and change it over time. Often it takes more than one attempt to increase SEO positioning performance, but the above principles should provide you with the tools to make a difference.
I wish you the best of luck!.
What are your best tips to improve SEO positioning and user experience through web architecture? Let us know to improve the user experience on your website !: Contact.