If you need to move the needle over 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 analyzed a large and established website where we recently made simple adjustments to the site architecture using only 2-3 of the principles described in this publication. Traffic and conversions grew an amazing 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 architecture of the site?
- Golden Rule: Satisfy the user's intention
- Adjust 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 scrolling pages
- Smart Faceted Navigation
- Take advantage of HTML Sitemaps
- New link more prominent content
What is web architecture?
The architecture of a web page, in its simplest form, is how it organize and navigate the pages of your website. The architecture is built through navigation and links, but it also relates to other elements such as URLs, browsing paths, category pages, site maps and a Web-page design professional. A good site architecture helps users and search engines find what they are looking for.
The web architecture also helps define both the relevance as the importance of its content. You can direct users and bots to their most critical pages and provide signals about what is your content about.
In summary, the architecture of the website 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 page indexing (especially for large sites).
- Rankings and more traffic 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 should consider 3 main questions:
- What are people looking for?
- What is important?
- How pages are related each?
A good web architecture gives visitors what wish and they need the way as clear and fast as possible. Consider this example of App Design, a web design company that manages all 3 masterfully.
Examine everything that works on this page:
- An 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.
By using analytical and search data, you can easily find which pages are searched 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 link "About us" in your header the most important link in your navigation, when almost nobody uses it?
The fastest shortcut to improve web architecture to improve SEO It is the navigation that provides user-centered solutions.
2. Adjust 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 less clicks to navigate.
Many SEO experts refer to the «3 click rule«, Which means that no important page should be more than 3 clicks from your home page (or possibly another page of high authority).
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 that pages are easier to find, and "proximity" to important pages such as a homepage can indicate the importance of the page itself.
You may ask: 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 should not do this.
- Too many links on a page have disadvantages, such as the loss of authority spread among the most important pages.
- A completely flat architecture steals 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 do not It is something easy 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 easy visualizations to understand the depth of links on your website.
3. Take advantage of the main pages
A home page is an important general information page that presents a general topic or category, which connects to secondary categories and more specific 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 many relevant links that point to them, so you can pass that link authority (PageRank) to all the secondary issues with which it is linked.
The category pages They are often natural central pages because they have a lot of natural linking authority. The key is to improve the pages of your category with additional information beyond a list of subcategories or services and products. Whatever the important related pages that will help your visitor always be good candidates to link.
4. Create content silos
While the main pages are excellent for connecting closely related topics, true power arises when combines main pages with content silos.
A content silo is an organization hierarchical of its content by topic. An example of a well organized silo would be:
While you can think of central pages as the center of a main topic, you can think of content silos such as going up and down a ladder, where hierarchy is important. A clear example of silos, would be in online stores.
Consider the previous example of silos. Each step in the hierarchy is linked to both the previous and next steps. This helps users navigate and search subtopics to better understand the content.
Content silos are usually grouped by 2-3 things:
- Navigation, including bread crumbs.
- Links contextual.
- Structures of URL
The important thing about content silos is that you are grouping by themes and sub-themes, and organizing it in ladder mode, from general descriptions to very specific topics.
5. Contextually related cross pages
Once you have created a web architecture that takes advantage of the central pages and organizes the content in silos. The next step is, what will make your website much more powerful:
Link related internal pages.
Not only do silos relate, 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 significantly with internally related page links. This way of structuring the content, helps to understand the search engines on 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 the main pages, category and product, others link to everything in sight.
SEMrush uses the best tool for studying internal links:
We can even see an audit of errors 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 have created main pages, silos and related internal links, there is another factor that I consider important to add links to your landing pages.
A landing page It is any page of 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, as a specific product.
- A high conversion page in the structure of your silo, such as 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 the link authority from your high authority pages to your important landing pages that may be sublinked. Sometimes these are shortcut links, or links that are not in navigation.
How to determine to which pages to add links and from where ?. There are several methods:
- The Internal links report of Google Search Console: Displays unprocessed internal link counts for your 1000 main URLs. (Professional tip: If your site has more than 1000 URLs, create separate Search Console properties at the directory level for more data.)
- Several tools that includes SEMrush They can report authority metrics for each URL. My current favorite is SEMrush. You can use this to find high-authority and sub-linked URLs.
- Google Analytics It can tell you which pages receive the most traffic and which pages convert well and would benefit from an increase in traffic.
- For advanced SEO, you can calculate the internal PageRank using the authority SEMrush tool to find URLs linked with high and low PageRank.
7. Pagination, see everything, and pages of infinite scrolling
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. Implemented correctly, pagination can help improve the website architecture virtually By telling Google that all your entries are part of the same series.
Most SEO experts prefer simple paging because of its ease of use, both by robots and by humans.
On the other hand, the type pages «see everything»Can also improve the web architecture by linking to all entries on the same page.
Some SEO experts prefer "see all" pages because they believe that Google can better track all entries 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 publications. The challenge with the "see all" pages is that for pages with more than 100 or 1000 entries, it can cause slow loading times and little user experience.
A hybrid approach is the «infinite displacement«, In which the results are loaded continuously in the user's browser as they scroll through the page, but they are also marked with traditional paged results that robots can easily understand. Google has good documentation on a preferred way to implement these infinite scrolling pages.
When pagination is used, it is easy to overlook smaller details that can help with usability and SEO 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 suggestions, there is strong evidence that they send a stronger signal to Google than HTTP header links.
- Note that pagination links they are real links. This means that they affect usability and tracking, and can also transmit real link signals as PageRank (although in reality they are only a small amount).
Instead of establishing pagination links in a standard linear manner (2, 3, 4, etc.), some SEO experts have studied the most optimal strategies for linking sections within the pagination.
8. Smart navigation by facets
Faceted navigation is refers to a navigation that allows users sort, filter and limit the Results based on many characteristics and criteria. Sometimes it is better to see something to understand it, so here is an example of Zappos.
Facet navigation is very useful for users, but for search engines, you have the problem of creating millions of URL combinations, many of them with duplicate or almost duplicate content. From a tracking and indexing perspective, this can present a great headache.
The key to success with facet navigation is as follows: authorize search engines to track and index your unique pages that generate traffic, while disallowing them from tracking and indexing Low value URL.
Once you understand which URL you want to index and which not, there are many tools at your disposal to control faceted navigation, which include:
- Meta Robots
- Rel = canonical (the one I recommend personally).
- Nofollow attributes (my favorite to apply in the footer).
9. Take advantage of Sitemaps
Almost everyone understands the importance of XML site maps. But the HTML site maps integrated into web pages are increasingly rare.
Let's bring them back!
An HTML site map can be read by humans and can provide humans and search robots with clues about 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 site maps are often more effective on larger websites where the structure of the web page may not be immediately obvious through the menu. But even smaller sites can benefit since HTML site maps are often also useful for human visitors.
10. Link a new relevant content
Sometimes, we encounter this problem: publish a new service or product, and not going anywhere. No visibility, no ratings and no traffic.
Part of the challenge is that Google still has no signals to judge its new content. Even if you put it on your sitemap, ping Google and share it on social networks, Google simply doesn't have enough signals to judge it yet.
An easy solution is simply link your new content more prominently, to often in the important parts of your website, including your homepage or entries related to the new content. John Mueller of Google explains:
What also makes a big difference for us is that the homepage is really important for your website, since the newest content is also linked quite high within the structure of your website, so maybe even in Your homepage.
So, what many sites have is this sidebar in which it is like new articles or new products or as products that are for sale or something, anything you want to push a little in the search results, which definitely helps us .
- John Mueller
News sites and blog feeds are excellent for linking with new content prominently. Static websites and online stores with many products, sometimes have difficulties.
Featured Sidebars, the news pages and the blog feeds They are excellent for linking to new content prominently.
Making the web architecture of your site correct is a challenge, but the rewards are often excellent. In addition, you can try it, measure it and change it over time. More than one attempt is often needed to increase the performance of SEO positioning, 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.