How To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 2: Structure of the Site

How To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 2: Structure of the Site

From our previous article in this DIY SEO series, we taught you the basics of how to properly create a semantic core for your company website. If you followed the steps in the first article, you should have a solid foundation for your website and a firm understanding of what your customers are looking for. Hey, you might even be an expert by now! This stage is just as important as the first. In fact, all the results that you are to receive beyond this point hinge upon you completing this stage correctly. Make a mistake here and it could cost a lot of extra time and money. In other words, this is definitely a technique worth mastering.

What is the “structure” of a website?

The structure of a website is just as it may sound. It is the interrelation of the various pages of the website with the preservation of a certain sense of hierarchy. There are many different types of site structure, but the most SEO effective options are those that retain a hierarchical view to them. We at Direct Line Development, a top internet marketing agency in Philadelphia, prefer to think of it like an outline when writing a paper or drafting a presentation. The site begins with a broad representation of the business and all of its various features. This is typically represented by the home page. From here we specify further with various subpages such as “about us,” “services,” and the like. On these subpages information is now even more condensed to things such as the types of services offered and those pages may even have subpages of their. The point is to take the user from general to specific in a logical and convenient manner. The better the structure of a site, the easier it is to find relevant information.

An example of the website’s correct structure. It’s important that the main services are located on the second level which gives them an additional priority compared to the other services.

Why is Proper Website Structure so Important?

As we say in all of our articles, search engine optimization takes into account a multitude of different factors in the determination of a website’s particular rank in search engine result listings. Every website, whether purposefully or accidentally, has a structure. A website’s structure can be strict and balanced, or it can be a disorderly cluster of pages. By deliberately and meticulously working on your site structure from the beginning, you can ensure that you meet all of the SEO requirements on this end, and get the most out of search engines. Determining and developing the proper structure of your company website is one of the most important stages of search engine optimization. We should also note that not only is it important for SEO, but also for user experience. The better the structure of your website, the easier it will be to navigate. Visitors should easily - almost naturally - be able to stumble upon the information they are searching for. It should be organic. Plus, if it is easy for visitors, it is easy for Google.

Related MaterialsHow To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 1: The Semantic CoreHow To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 1: The Semantic CoreWhat is SEO?What is SEO?

Search engines are getting smarter and smarter. In the past, good SEO was getting visitors to a relevant homepage. Now, search engines are linking users to not only the proper website, but the proper internal pages within those websites. For example, if someone Googles Brand Identity in Philadelphia, they would be directed not to the main page of www.directlinedev.com, but rather, to the Brand Identity section of the website. By taking a hands-on approach to website structure, we can teach Google how to direct our potential customers to our website and elevate our site's placement, all of which is important terms of a professional appearance. We will stress this whenever the opportunity presents itself: people do not want to work to find the information they desire. If your competitors are showing up higher in search result submissions or they are presenting relevant information to customers in a faster and more convenient manner than your own website, you lose. Being only a search and a click away from the information your customers are searching for is huge in terms of successful search engine optimization. To be the best means to be at the top. If users go online and do not see you there, you may want to consider hiring a consultant from a professional internet marketing company.

How Proper Site Structure Influences Behavioral Factors

If you are strip a site down completely, that is, take away all of the decorative fonts, colors, images, strategic spacings, graphics, etc., it turns out that a truly good website stems from the manner in which it is structured. It is natural for us a humans to desire balance. It is what our minds instinctively seek. Therefore, the best web design and development caters to this fundamental human need. To have a properly functioning site, you must place all the necessary elements of the site in a manner that flows logically for the people browsing. It should be an instinctive, intuitive process. And, as you are by now well aware, the more attractive a site is to users, the more attractive it is to search engines like Google.

The algorithm Google uses to to rank your site takes into account all of these factors. If your site has a poor clickthrough rate and low visit times, this will negatively impact your site’s position in search result rankings. Similarly, if users find a site that they like, that is, a site with a well-crafted structure, they will spend more time on it, vastly decreasing its chances for percentile decreases in rank. A verified site structure can reduce the amount of overall failures that the site produces and can improve the visit time, which leads to an increase your site’s rank in Google, and thus better overall SEO results.

Key Components of Professional Website Structure

Taking all this into account, it is best for both SEO and user experience to create individual landing pages for each of your products and services. Building on this, we also recommend that you create separate sections for categories such as “About Us,” “Contact Information,” and “Feedback.” This, however, is already the market standard, so it shouldn’t seem unfamiliar to you. We should also mention that it is incredibly advantageous to include a blog section on your website, but we will go into more detail on this topic later on in this SEO series.

The structure of Direct Line Development website

You should attempt to individualize as many aspects of your products or services as possible. Continuing off of our Brand Identity example, you should determine whether or not your Brand Identity services have any further specializations. For instance, if you offer Brand Identity services for law firms and accountants, then you should create a Brand Identity page for law firms and another Brand Identity page for accountants. The goal is funnel your users to the most specific pages you can. We should also mention that you are not limited to what is “typical” in website layout and structure. If your business is unique and you believe it should have a section that is industry-specific, it is definitely worth talking with a developer or internet marketing consultant. In most cases, you will be able to include whatever type of category on your website that you want so long as its design and structure still follow a logical pathway from general to specific. You can also do some research on your own. Search your competition online and note which submission typically brings them to the top of Google's listings. Placement is very important.

Good Website Structure Ensures Sitelinks

Sitelinks are internal links to the site in the SERP. In other words, in addition to the main page of your company website, you will see several links to its individual sections.

The correct structure of Direct Line Development website shown in Sitelinks.The Sitelinks example of Alencon Systems websiteThe Sitelinks of The Belles Group website

Sitelinks offer huge advantages to search engine optimization. They improve the ease with which one can navigate your website, show users the most relevant information according to their search, and they boost both the reputation of your brand and customers’ confidence in your business. Further, they help you dominate the search results page, increase the click-through rate of your site, and reduce the conversion funnel. This all sounds amazing, but how do you get sitelinks? You cannot simply go to the “tools” section of Google Webmaster and check off a couple boxes. Instead, it is only through a proper site structure that Google’s algorithms will automatically award the website with additional links on each page. Sitelinks are the result of having a good and well-thought-out site structure. If you see that your website structure is clearly lacking, you may never find yourself receiving sitelinks from Google. By ignoring this, you are blatantly accepting less targeted traffic, low click rates, and decreased conversion.

Keyword Distribution in Accordance with Site Structure

After we have established the basis of your site’s structure, we will next need to distribute the keywords we compiled during the creation of the semantic core (see previous article for more details on this). The most effective SEO promotion strategy is to promote one keyword per website page. The highest-frequency(most competitive) keyword or phrase should be promoted on the main page of the website. Other HF and MF words and phrases should be distributed throughout the rest of the service pages on the site.

As you may have noticed, we have only distributed a small portion of our words and phrases throughout our site. This is to avoid an over saturation of keywords on our website, a mistake that would negatively affect our SEO campaign. In order to add the rest of our words and phrases to the site, we will need to create additional pages to which these new words would correspond. This is not to say that it is impossible to promote more than one word per page, but it will be much less effective.

Adding a blog and the additional pages helped the Direct Line Development website to be ranked by wider amount of the keywords.

After this, we can continue to dive deeper and deeper into the specification of new pages for new keywords. You can forever continue to add new pages with relevant information that corresponds to different search requests and boost your SEO results.

Six Basic Steps to Create Good Site Structure

  1. Plan the hierarchical structure of the site before you proceed to the development stage. The hierarchy must be logical. If you have more than 7 subsection in each main section. The optimal number is 5 per main section.
  2. Distribute the keywords by structure. It is at this stage that you will often see your structure transform dramatically.
  3. The URL structure should follow your navigation hierarchy. For example, you can easily bring up our site’s section on Responsive Web Design through this link https://directlinedev.com/web-design/responsive-web-design/
  4. Remember that it is highly undesirable to have a nesting depth of more than two sections, with the maximum being three.
  5. The names of each main section and subsections should be short and understandable so that they fit aesthetically on the page and are quickly understood by users.
  6. You should immediately register internal linking between sections so that traffic is directed smoothly and logically.

Website Structural Errors to be Avoided at all Costs

Firstly, you should avoid nesting more than two times since Google will subsequently rank each page lower and lower. Instead you should have the nested page ready on demand with the root from the older page already embedded. For example, we have a Web Design page with its own Web Design for Local Business sub-page. Implementing a different structure for the same types of pages is also a big mistake. For instance, if you sell fashion accessories such as glasses, and you divide the types of glasses between mens and womens, these separate sections should still be organized the same way. Always be consistent. Finally, consider this final rule of website structuring: NEVER make duplicate pages. Duplicating pages will adversely affect your results in Google because its algorithms flag it as a copycat site and reduce its overall rank. Any marketing agency telling you otherwise is not to be trusted. Every page on your website should be 100% unique or you can say goodbye to SEO forever!

Conclusions

Remember that site structure must flow logically in an organized fashion. Think of it like a walk through the grocery store. You find related items placed all throughout the store in a manner that seems to guide you through it. This is exactly what your website should do. Users should effortlessly navigate through your site until they reach the information they desire. Once you have read this article and part one of the series, you will be ready to understand further topics on website promotion through organic search engine optimization strategies. There are still more interesting tips and tricks to come! If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office or leave them in the comments section below. If you are local to the Philadelphia area and would prefer a face-to-face meeting, we will gladly set up a meeting with you and one of our specialists. Happy promoting!

 The article was updated on September 5, 2017.

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