Your website’s architecture has always been an important aspect of online success, but many Webmasters push this aside once new tactics or Google features are advertised. The truth, however, is that your site’s architecture is something you should be analyzing every so often not only as a way to keep things running smoothly for your visitors, but because it has a big affect on your SEO. It may not sound like the most exciting or pressing job, but understanding how your site’s architecture affects your SEO can help you succeed in the future.
Improving Your Website’s Architecture for Better SEO
The reason that so many companies and Webmasters don’t always take a second look at a site’s architecture is because once you get something that works, it’s easy to keep it that way. There are always new best practices coming out when it comes to SEO, but the importance of your site’s architecture hasn’t changed much over the years (hence why it isn’t often in the news). Nonetheless, the architecture of your site is something Google takes into consideration when evaluating that site. This leads to SEO connections and the need for constant analysis.
Below are a few elements of a website’s structure that will affect your SEO along with tips on what you can do to make changes:
The depth of your website refers to the number of clicks it takes a visitor to get to a certain page on your website. You want to stay organized with categories and subcategories, but you have to make sure you don’t go overboard. A good rule of thumb is to keep the number of clicks to four or five. If it takes more clicks than that, you run the risk of the Google bots being confused and therefore, you guessed it, hurting your SEO.
How to Improve: As discussed a little bit above, the key here is to keep your subcategories to a minimum. This is where most Webmasters slip up and think it improves navigation when in fact it can make it more complicated. I also recommend installing breadcrumbs to help you keep an eye on how many clicks it takes to get to a page. You can simply download and install a breadcrumb plugin to get started. Below is a screenshot of what a breadcrumb looks like:
Your site schema is all about the navigation and overall structure of your website and how it was created. This includes categories, landing pages, and other structured data markup on webpages. When it comes to SEO, this is going to be the most important thing to remember.
Extra: Schema can actually get a little bit complicated if you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of a website, so visit here to learn more.
This goes right along with controlling the depth of your website, but it deserves its own point. Although this may not refer to the structure as much as the navigation, internal linking can be a great option to improve your SEO. However, many Webmasters overdo internal linking and end up doing more harm than good. While internal links can help people navigate from one page of your website to another, too many internal links can seem like over-optimization, which is bad for your overall SEO.
How to Improve: The key to internal linking success is to make sure you’re only linking when it is completely relevant. Just as with external links, your links need to be natural. If you link to a page that is only somewhat related to the anchor text or your other content, you might be better off skipping that link in favor for others that are most relevant. In general, one internal link per 500 words is a good rule of thumb.
If you have the opposite problem and aren’t internally linking enough (which is also bad for your SEO), simply go back and add in a few relevant internal links. You can learn more about the specifics of internal linking here.
Your site’s architecture is huge when it comes to your SEO success, but it generally only needs to be re-analyzed once or twice per year. Once you understand the rules for depth, internal linking, and scheme, you will start to naturally build a solid architecture that caters to great SEO. Keep an eye on SEO news to make sure best practices haven’t changed, and you should be good to go. It’s that easy.
Have you changed your site’s architecture in the past and seen positive results? What did you do to see these improvements? Let us know about your experiences and your thoughts in the comment section below.