Many people who are new to IT get confused about “What is a Site Structure”. In this article I have tried to explain “The site structure” in a simple and easy way.
Every website has a structure website, structure means how you have arranged pages, how visitors will navigate through your site and how easily they will find the page they are looking for. Site structure is important for good user experience as well as for good SEO ranking. An ideal site structure will enhance the SEO ranking of a website.
Benefits of a good (ideal) site structure
1. Site Structure Guides Google
our website structure guides Google . Site structure shows Google what our site is about and which pages of our website are most important. The way we structure our website will determine whether the Google will understand what our site is about or not.
With a good site structure Google will be able to find important content easily on our site and it will improve our SEO ranking. With a bad site structure Google will not be able to find important content easily and it will decrease our SEO ranking.
2. Better Site Structure Better User Experience
Your site structure is not only for better SEO. It is also important for better user experience. So before creating site structure think about your audience. Think why they are at your site? If site navigation is done properly, it will guide users or visitors that where to go next and they will find their way on our site. In this way they will stay on our site for longer and if they can’t find easily what they are looking for, they will not visit again. With a good site structure we can gain trust of our audience and with a good user experience they will definitely visit again on our site.
Steps to create Site structure
1. Planning site structure or hierarchy
Before creating site structure determine how large your website is and how many layers it can have. According to that make a hierarchy.
An Ideal Site Structure Looks like:
For Small websites
For Large websites
(Divide categories in subcategories)
Homepage is the first layer of any website. It is the main page or landing page for any website where users can find link to other pages. Homepage should include all the major sections and important information of website. Homepage is the first thing that you think about when you create a site structure.
Decide main categories and subcategories
After homepage Decide main categories for your site. Under the main categories are your pages. But if your website is large, you can divide main categories in subcategories. But make sure each category must relate to the main category in which it is located.
Keep balance between categories and subcategories
Always try to make a balance between categories and subcategories. For ex: If one category has 20 categories in it and other category has only one category. It looks unbalanced.
After deciding categories and sub categories of your website think about menu of your website. Always Place menu in header. You can also place menu in sidebar but it is a good practice to create menu in header. Your menu should have all your main categories. Always make a menu with 2 to 7 categories but if your website has lots of categories then you can create 2 menus. One menu in the top bar and other is main menu or primary menu.
Use Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumb is a best way to show users where they are in a website. Breadcrumb is a horizontal navigational bar consists of links Separated by (>) symbol. We can make a clear structure by using breadcrumbs in our website. But always remember to only add breadcrumb when it is needed and do not make too large breadcrumb navigation bar. If breadcrumb navigation is done in a right way, it improves both user experience as well as SEO ranking of website.
Keep your site simple
Always try to make website simple and easy to navigate . Don’t make your website too deep. Main categories and sub Categories are enough. If you make a very complex site then users and visitors will not show their interest in your site and complex sites take more time to load. It makes harder for users to navigate your site. But still if there is a need to make a deep website then use internal linking for that purpose.
Internal linking is important for creating SEO friendly site structure. Internal Linking shows Google which pages are most important and a good internal linking will help users to navigate through your site and you can land visitors to desired pages.
Bad internal linking can misguide visitors and they will leave your site. So relevant internal linking is important and link pages that are closely related.
When we talk about websites, URL is the first thing that your Users and Google will see. So it is important to create a good and SEO friendly site structure. Creating SEO friendly URL is not an easy task. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind before creating URL structure.
- Try to create a URL that follows your site navigation hierarchy because it will help users and search engines to know what your site is about.
- Always keep URL simple and short because lengthy URL takes more time to load and can confuse users to understand what our site is about.
- Never use words like and, but, the etc in URL. Use hyphens or slash to separate words in URL because it will make URL easy to read and user friendly.
Written by Monika
Web Development Trainee@NSPL RTC