How to Structure a Website for SEO

Tyler Scionti

  | Published on  

September 29, 2023

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of organic, unpaid website traffic to a site or a web page from search engines. SEO can be summarized in two basic principles:

  1. Create tip-top content
  2. Make sure Google can see it

A site must be well-structured to target these two essential SEO principles. Whether you’ve experienced building a website from the ground up, or if this is your first go, try to follow along for helpful structure tips on structuring an excellent website for SEO. 

What is Website Structure?

Yes, it’s what it sounds like. It can be easily overlooked but it’s not super hard to follow.

Website structure, also known as website architecture, is how you organize your website’s content. Site structure deals with how this content is grouped, linked, and presented to the visitor. 

Websites can be conceptualized as a collection of topics presented through posts and pages. Site structure allows for organization of content rather than random groups and piles of matter. 

Why site structure matters for SEO

Users need site structure to easily navigate your site, browsing from one page to the other. Google also uses the structure of your site to determine what content is important and what is less relevant. If you structure your website well, it will benefit from this. Users will be more likely to show up and Google can index your URLs better.

The better a site’s structure, the better it will rank in Google. That’s what we’re working towards, and what can improve revenue over time.

Things to keep in mind when structuring a website for SEO

Have a homepage that is easy to navigate

Make a good first impression by keeping things simple. 

On average you have a 10 to 20 second window for a visitor to decide if they will hang around your site or leave it. Let’s pause for a second. All that hard work you put into your website is for nothing if someone cannot figure your site out before you can count to 10.

If your site navigation is confusing or too unconventional, users are likely to leave your site. And you better belief Google pays attention to this. Remember, Google is on a mission to return the best content for every question. If a website is hard to use or navigate, it reflects poorly on Google. 

Make your website as user friendly as possible and you’re lightyears ahead of most when it comes to UX and SEO.

Optimize your URLs for SEO

Follow URL best practices to make it easier for Google, and your website visitors, to understand your site. 

Here are some nuts and bolts:

  • Keep your URLs simple and concise.
  • If your URL is shorter, it will rank higher in search results than a longer URL. Short, simple, and efficient URLs can be accomplished by using meaningful keywords and hyphens to separate words.
  • Do not use spaces, underscores, or any other characters to separate words in your URL. 
  • Always use lowercase letters in your URL.
  • Avoid keyword repetition/stuffing in your URL. 

Make sure Google can index your content

You must have a sitemap and a robots.txt file on your website to help Google crawl and index your content. 

A sitemap is a list containing all of the URLs within your website. It shows how the URLs relate to one another and which are the most important. Regular visitors to your website will not see the sitemap but search engines can access your sitemap and use it to help them better understand your website’s structure and contents.  

A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which URLs the crawler can access on your site. You may use various text editors to create a robots.txt file such as Shopify, Webflow, Wordpress, HubSpot, Wix, and SquareSpace. 

Have an about page with information about your business

This is essential to site structure and yet no one ever seems to talk much about it. 

Add details about the company like address, contact information, website, hours, story, images, and more. When people (or Google) visit your website, you need to present yourself as clear and professionally as possible. If a website does not have any information about the business, I lose trust in them. Google will too. 

An “about us” page, along with a business address and phone number is an essential part of structuring your website for SEO.

Keep important pages close to the home page

Your home page is the most important page on your website, and it plays a key role other than simply being the page your visitors go to first. 

Because the homepage is the most important, Google tends to look favorably on pages that are linked directly from the home page. This can give them a nice rankings boost and ensure they are discovered more easily by Google’s crawlers. 

There’s a UX benefit as well. Keep the most important pages near the home page so users can swiftly find vital content near the summary of your site. 

Link relevant pieces content to each other

We’ve written about link juice before when it comes to link building, but the principles apply here as well. 

Each page on your website has a certain ‘PageRank’ that Google has assigned it. When this page links to other pages, it passes on some of that authority and boosts the other page up. 

You can do this on your own website. 

If you have high ranking pages, use those to boost up other pages by linking to them (make sure they are relevant of course). 

Internal linking also adds the benefit of tying together related pieces of content which makes it easier for Google to crawl your website and identify you as an authority in your space.

So there you have it, link building isn’t just for backlinks; it can help with your site structure as well!

Organize your blog with topics/tags

Think of your blog tags as the table of contents. 

Topics and tags will make a blog easy to navigate with categories as each post is filed under a category. This adds the benefit of grouping related content (again, so Google can identify it easily and know you are an expert) but also to make it easier for people visiting your website or blog to navigate it and find content that is relevant to them.

As we always say, create content for people not search engines. A lot of this site structure stuff tends to have a dual benefit there - what is good for your customers ends up being good for Google as well!

Let’s sum it all up. Above all…

Think about your ideal customer! 

The most important takeaway in the structure and navigation of your site is to keep your customer in mind. Make the site work for them, appeal to their needs.

 It is important that the customer has a pleasant experience on your website. When you plan out your site's structure with users in mind, you help them find what they want as easily as possible.This in combination with the basics of SEO will make for successful website structure. 

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