TECHNICAL SEO | CHAPTER 3.5
The complete guide to creating an SEO optimised website architecture in 2023Share page
PART 1 OF 6
What is website architecture?
Site architecture is the organisation and hierarchy of the pages on your website. This is important to both users navigating through your site and search engine bots who need to be able to discover all relevant pages.
Well-designed websites have a structure that provides users a clear path through pages, leading them on what is known as a user journey. This lends itself to SEO as an optimised website makes crawling pages more efficient and will help search engines register changes faster.
PART 2 OF 6
How does website architecture impact SEO?
Search engine crawlers have a limited amount of resources which determines how frequently they will visit your site. Assuming search engine bots will enter your site from a top-level page, it’s important to create a clear hierarchy with the most important pages being linked to frequently.
An SEO optimised website will consider both the journey from one page to another, as well as the literal structure of the URLs. With these in mind, it is also important to ensure each page has a clear definable purpose with a logical entry point from search. This means avoiding unnecessary pages, known as gateway pages, or duplicating content across different URLs.
In addition to helping search engines crawl and discover pages, the structure of your site will help determine the perceived authority of pages. The more internal links a page has the higher the link authority will be to that page. This means sites more frequently linked to such as in main navigation menus will benefit more.
PART 3 OF 6
Important factors to consider when reviewing a website’s architecture
Individual Pages or Posts
PART 4 OF 6
Once you have a clear page structure laid out, it’s important to make that structure both clear and accessible to users. The most common way to do this is by using a main navigation or menu. This is a consistent series of links that sit at the top of each page allowing users to navigate to other sections of your site. Ideally, the menu should reflect your overall site structure with category pages being the top level of a navigation and having drop-down menus for both sub-categories and individual pages.
However, it’s important not to clutter the main navigation to keep it clear and concise. Therefore, unless a site is very small, it is not recommended to make the navigation a comprehensive list but rather a shortcut to the most important pages such as top category pages filtering down to the most sub-categories.
PART 5 OF 6
Many pages on your site will contain snippets of information that can be expanded upon in more depth by another page on the site. Contextual links contained within the copy of your page are the best way to reference other content on your site helping you keep your pages concise while still ensuring users get the full value.
Google uses these contextual links to help it understand the information on each page, most prominently using the anchor text — the actual text the link sits on, but also considering the content around it. Google is becoming more sophisticated and better at understanding intent, so it’s always important to ensure that contextual links are used logically for the benefit of the user and not purely to help search engines.
PART 6 OF 6
Tips for a solid website architecture
Review your top competitor’s structures
Don’t over optimise
Keep journeys short and seamless
Make sure URL structure follows a hierarchy
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