Structuring Your Website Design for SEO

Paul Schetelich

Lead Designer

An effective way to increase your rankings in the search engines is to have good site structure. Every website has some type of structure, but whether it’s good or not is an entirely different story. You could have a website that has a neat and organized structure, or you could have one that is a complete mess.

Most webmasters don’t plan for a jumbled website, but things can get messy over time. Fortunately, being thoughtful with your structure will help you achieve a website that is fluid and ranks well in the search results. This way, users will enjoy using your site, and Google will have an easy time crawling through it.  

Let’s look at some of the most effective ways that you can create powerful site structure that provides a great user experience each and every time.

Start with a Hierarchy

If you’re planning a website from scratch, you have an easier project on your hands. You can start fresh, planning out the entire structure to complement your SEO efforts. Plan out your website using any tool you want, such as a word processor, spreadsheet or whiteboard. All you’re doing is organizing the information in a way that makes sense.

Create a URL Structure

The next step is develop your URL structure. This won’t be too hard once you’ve decided on your hierarchy, as your URLs will be organized according to it. Following your hierarchy, you will have URLs with real words and appropriate keywords rather than complicated ones with symbols.

Create Site Navigation in HTML or CSS

Simple coding is always best. HTML and CSS are your best options since Google is able to crawl through them and understand your website’s navigation and hierarchy. This coding typically leads to fast loading times across devices as well. Limit your use of JavaScript, Flash and Ajax.

Avoid Burying Important Pages

Your navigation will follow your hierarchy, so make sure that your pages aren’t buried too deep within the site. Shallow sites are better since users can find your pages more easily, and Google can crawl through them more efficiently.

Create a Header That Lists Your Navigation Pages

List out your main pages on your header. Again, don’t overthink this part and add too many pages. Keep things simple and include only your prime subcategories. Otherwise, you run the risk of making your page look cluttered and disorganized. Also duplicate the main links at the top of the page in the footer navigation menu.

Develop an Internal Linking Structure

Internal links are important for a few reasons: they help users navigate through a website, they establish information hierarchy and they create ranking power. This all matters when developing a solid site structure. Include at least two links on each page: one pointing to a source outside your site, and one pointing within.

Conclusion

Site structure involves careful planning and a proactive approach. The best time to develop a good site structure is before you create your website. If you are redesigning your site, you can still update the design and make choices that will improve your structure for SEO.

 

About the Author: Paul Schetelich

Since the days of sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Paul has been creatively crafting the art of design. With a B.A. in Graphic Design from Monmouth University and a Masters from the Califano School of Art - Paul quickly moved up the ranks at SEMGeeks from Junior Designer to the Lead Designer. With 4+ years of experience in web design Paul is ready to conquer the digital atmosphere.

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