Whether you’re a seasoned industry professional or just taking your first steps into the world of SEO, you will have heard people emphasise the importance of good site structure to organic performance of your website and of course, the experience of users that visit it.
It is generally easier for ecommerce sites to create and maintain a logical site structure, as they follow a natural hierarchy. If you group your pages together in a logical way, it will make it easier for users to navigate your site. This is where website hierarchies and breadcrumbs come in.
Breadcrumbs are links usually used to support a site’s navigation, which provide a map to where pages sit in the site structure. For example:
So, besides creating a logical map of your website, what impact does optimising your site structure have on your organic rankings? Here are four ways it makes a significant difference.
Helps search engines read your site
The better structured your site is, the easier it will be for spiders (Googlebot, etc) to crawl it. This is because search engines depend on a logical structure to determine how important pages are. As a general rule of thumb, relevant pages should be easily accessible within your website’s structure. Pages that are buried deeper in your sites navigation will take longer for spiders to crawl and consequently might result in pages being crawled less frequently. This means that any changes made to these pages might go unnoticed for a significant amount of time.
Stops you competing with your own content
If your business offers niche products or services, then it’s likely that some of your pages will focus on the same thing. For example, you may use the same term across two categories. When Google reads these pages, it will struggle to tell which page is most important and which one it should be ranking, therefore you’ll find yourself competing against your own content. By implementing a logical, hierarchical structure and good internal linking, you can eliminate this problem.
Helps develop an internal link structure
Search engine spiders need to understand the relationship between pages to know which pages are important and which pages they allow to show up in search engines. Grouping relevant pages with internal links is an effective way of doing this. Utilising internal links not only helps you build a logical site structure, but helps pages buried deeper in the structure rank for related terms and increases the discoverability of a page. If a page isn’t linked to, it makes it hard for search engines to find and crawl it.
Reduce your site’s bounce rate
A high bounce rate can, among other things, suggest problems with your site structure or on-page content. It is used to indicate the level of engagement users have with your site and there is a proven correlation between bounce rate and visibility in search engines. If a user cannot find what they are looking for on your site, they will inevitably leave. So having a logical site structure will help to improve the usability of your site, translating into a reduced bounce rate and hopefully an increase in your search engine rankings.
If site structure still doesn’t sit quite right with you or if you’re worried about making changes at this level, contact the SEO and technical experts at Colewood.