Depending on the age of your website, your business could have expanded since it first launched, or you’ve added new services or products which you now offer. You may have replicated this in your website with the addition of extra menu items or new site pages, but you might now find that your menu navigation is messy and unorganised.
Website structure is also important for the SEO of your website as it can help search engines to find and index pages on your website, spread authority across the different pages on your website via internal links and help website users find the content they are looking for.
If you’ve not thought about organising and simplifying your website structure for a long while, or haven’t ever thought about it, you may be impacting your organic search visibility and overall website and business success. Let’s take a look at how to organise and simplify your website structure, as well as the benefits that come from doing so.
Why Is Website Architecture Important?
Your website architecture is important because it has an impact on your SEO performance and user experience. Having a good website architecture can help your website pages rank on Google. It can also impact how Google finds and indexes the most important and relevant pages on your site, which then helps it to understand what your website is about.
If the structure and architecture of your website isn’t clear, then Google may not be able to understand the correlation between pages or the purpose of each page. It may then struggle to understand where exactly your website should appear in the SERPs.
Google relies on internal links to both rank and discover pages and your website’s architecture is created with these internal links. The more unorganised your website then the less context that Google has on your web pages. This is why it’s also important to consider your internal linking strategy when reviewing your website architecture.
By linking a page to another, you are then signalling to Google which pages should be related and, if you link to one page a number of times, Google can then learn that this is an important page.
Website architecture also affects the user experience of a website as a good architecture makes it easier for users to navigate service pages or products, as well as quickly and clearly access important information. In a recent study, 94% of users said that they found easy navigation to be one of the most important website features.
What Does Good Website Architecture Look Like?
Good website architecture should have the following:
- Related content or products grouped together
- Groups organised into a logical hierarchy
- Most important pages highlighted or prominent on the site
One of the best ways to ensure a good website architecture is to ensure that a flat website architecture is used, as opposed to a deep website architecture. These terms relate to how deep the structure of your website is, or how many clicks it takes for a user to work their way down to the subcategories in your website menu. This is also known as crawl or click depth. Ideally, users should be able to access the most important pages on your site in as few clicks as possible, with the ideal figure being around 4 clicks.
Organising and Restructuring Your Website Architecture
Carry Out A Site Structure Audit
This should be a comprehensive list, for ease in the form of a spreadsheet, which details and analyses content on your website, as well as a list of all URLs on your site. To add further detail and depth to your audit, there are tools which you can use to scan for broken links and evaluate your site’s current SEO health.
With the site map, which looks at each URL on your site, look into how users get from your home or key landing pages to the different kinds of information or product pages they may be looking for. Map out any different routes that users may take and how they would get back to their initial page again. Could these journeys be shortened or simplified in any way? Could users save time in their journey if unnecessary pages were removed from their journey?
Identify Any Overlapping Categories or Sections
If you have any main category pages which say the same or similar things, then you may wish to consider merging the pages. This is the same for any product or service pages as this can help reduce clutter within the main navigation and streamline the user journey.
Remember That Users Will Be Used To A Standard Site Structure
Almost all websites use the same kind of navigation menu, structure and navigation. There’s a simple reason behind this – users can spend just seconds on a website, so if the menu, structure or navigation is even slightly different or unusual, they will leave. If you are considering making big changes to your website, then this may be something you take into consideration.
Keep It As Simple As Possible
Users will likely appreciate a simple and low-complexity website. Whilst you don’t want your site to appear too simple, in that it looks as though you have little to showcase to users, you want to avoid displaying every single product, category or service within your menu.
Get Rid Of Any Non-Essentials On Your Site
Unless you can demonstrate that they generate conversions or revenue, get rid of things such as ads, distractions and any other pop ups from your site. Consider removing features from your site such as these if they aren’t used, and be careful with implementing so called navigation trends, such as sticky menus, which cause clutter within the main navigation display.
Breadcrumb navigation is a navigation path which is made up of the link journey. This shows users where they are within your site structure and breadcrumbs also communicate how your website is structured to search engines. When users click through your website, they won’t always navigate straight to the product which they will eventually buy, or the service they wish to enquire about, so breadcrumbs help to show their navigation path. For further organic optimisation, you could look to add breadcrumb structured data markups to display within the SERPs.
Having a simplified and organised website structure is vital to the success of your website, from both an organic and user perspective. It can be daunting to review and rectify your website navigation, so if you aren’t confident in doing this yourself, consider seeking the services of an agency offering SEO in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham or elsewhere for their expertise.