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2021 Guide to Create User-Centric Website Structure

Developing a comprehensive website structure might seem forthright. But, that is not always the case and we will cover that in this article. Building a consistent website structure is to lay a concrete foundation for your online presence. If you plan accordingly, you will definitely achieve astounding results. There is a lot of content out there on these individual topics but we have tried to cover all the major points in a single post. 

You must be aware that almost all search engines are interested in how well our websites are planned. And if they are not meeting the desired standards, it will certainly not appeal to visitors and you will notice a high bounce rate. In this extensive guide, we will share tips on the dos and don’ts of content along with tweaks in your design strategy to improve your SEO and user experience. You can take help from a WordPress Development Services agency to create a user-centric website in 2021. 

How is website structure helpful for traffic improvement on the website?

We have worked with hundreds of clients in the last seven years and it is shocking to know how often website structure takes a back step. It is one of the most critical aspects of a website’s SEO performance and very few website owners realise the importance of having a proper website structure to improve their SEO. We will look at some of the major reasons why website structure is so important for SEO performance.

 – Better User Experience

When you remove the graphics, content, images etc, a great website design depends on having a great structure. Humans always look for a balance and feel great if they are able to put pieces together and search for things where they are looking. Hence, a great website structure is greatly satisfying for users. 

If your website is appealing to visitors then it is definitely appealing to the search engines and vice versa. This is because the Google algorithm utilises information from searchers to rank your website. If your website has sub-standard CTRs and low dwell time, it will definitely not perform well in the SERPs. A good website structure is crucial to decrease the bounce rate and enhance dwell time which will lead to better search rankings.

 – More Sitelinks

Sitelinks are a listing format in search engines that display your website’s main page along with various internal links below. 

Source

Sitelinks provide impeccable SEO benefits. They improve the navigation of your website, point users in the right direction, improve your brand reputation, enhance user trust, increase CTR and reduce the conversion funnel. 

Now, how to get sitelinks? You don’t just go to Google Search Console and fill out a few random fields. It is not possible to issue a sitelink request. But, the Google algorithm automatically rewards great websites with sitelinks. That is why it is imperative to have a good website structure. If the quality of your website structure is not good, you would definitely not receive any sitelinks from Google. And if that happens, it will cost you in terms of reduced traffic, less CTR and conversions.

 – Improved Crawling

Web crawlers crawl a website’s structure. The primary aim is to index the content in order to return it in search results. If you have a good website structure, it is convenient for the crawlers to access and index the content. Crawlers do not discover anything on your website by accident. Even Google has confirmed that there are pages on each website which their crawler might not be able to find and index. But, you can make their job easier by offering time sensitivity, crawling, indexing and sharing the pages of a website with a definite structure. 

 – Enhanced SEO

In the end, your website’s organization starts the way for SEO success. It is not wrong to say that without a good structure, you may never achieve good SEO results. Definite site structure provides your website with a great SEO foundation that will offer you loads of organic traffic. 

 – Set Clear Goals

If you plan your site structure then you must conduct research on competitors and keywords. It is one of the best ways to get a good foundation to plan your navigation and content strategy. By doing that, you get the idea of how much traffic you can expect on your website. If you are working on a new website then you must focus on the easiest keywords with the most search traffic. It largely depends on your language and area of expertise. If you are looking for a keyword in bigger markets like the US or Europe, then you must try to include keywords with more than 1000 monthly search volumes. 

However, you can settle for less if you are certain about the traffic you are expecting. When you are certain of the traffic estimation then you can shift your focus to conversions. Everything is interlinked, so you need to follow all the steps to achieve ultimate website success. 

An Ultimate Guide to creating a user-centric website structure:

Now we will discuss how to create a user-centric website structure.

1. Plan Your Hierarchy

If you are developing a website from scratch, it is the best position to plan your website structure for optimum SEO results. Before you begin creating pages in a CMS, plan your structure carefully. It is possible to do it on a whiteboard, a spreadsheet program, a word processor etc. 

A hierarchy is a simple way to organize your data in a way that makes sense for the users. It will also be your navigation and your URL structure so crucial things start from here. There are various important features of hierarchy that should be considered before you dive deeper into it.

  • Keep your hierarchy logical. Do not make the process too complicated for the users and for the search engines. It is important to have simplicity both for your users and for the crawlers. Each category should be unique and distinct. Moreover, the subcategories should relate to each main category.
  • Ensure the number of categories between 2 and 7. Unless you are an e-commerce giant, there should only be a few main categories. If you have more than seven categories then you must rethink your strategy for SEO purposes.
  • Try to keep the number of subcategories low in each category. It is best to keep it even. If one category has 3 subcategories and another has 11 then it will not be uniform.

A site hierarchy is the first place to start to have an outstanding website structure.  

2. Build a URL structure according to your navigation hierarchy

The second most important aspect to develop a strong site structure is your URL structure. It should be pretty straightforward if you have logically mapped out your hierarchy. Your URL structure should depend on the website hierarchy. It means that your URLs will have actual words and extensive keyword coverage. 

3. Website Navigation in HTML/CSS

When you build your navigation, make sure that your coding is not complex. To make that happen, HTML and CSS are your safest options. Development in JavaScript and Flash will limit the crawler’s ability to cover your website’s navigation and hierarchy. 

4. Use Shallow Depth Navigation Structure

Your navigation structure will obviously follow the website hierarchy. Make sure the pages, importantly if it is not buried too deep within the website. Shallow websites do work better from a usability point of view and the crawler part. A shallow website is far more preferable than a deep website. 

5. Build a Header that lists your primary navigation pages

Your top header should be one to be listed on your primary pages. All websites should follow a simple top navigation footer with a few subcategories each. This will make sure everything is achieved that you need. Adding multiple menu elements apart from your primary categories can be daunting and unnecessary. If you have designed a parallax website, make sure that you have a persistent header menu to display each scrolling phase.

The dropdown menus using CSS may offer a unique or intriguing user experience, they do not improve SEO. We do not recommend going for this. We also suggest you not to use an image-based navigation structure. Text links with proper anchors offer the strongest type of SEO. If you have a footer with menu links, make sure that you duplicate the main links of your top navigation menu in your footer navigation menu. Switching the order of links or including additional category listings will mess the user experience. 

6. Comprehensive Internal Linking Structure

Internal Linking enhances the logical site hierarchy and takes it to the next level. There are three main reasons why it is important:

  1. It enables the users to navigate through a website.
  2. It helps establish an information hierarchy for any website.
  3. The structure helps spread link juice through websites.

Each of these is definitely linked to building a tight-knit website structure. There is definitely no requirement to include complicated internal linking. The main idea is that every page on your website should have some link to and from another page on the website. Your navigation should accomplish internal linking to the main categories and subcategories pages but you should also ensure that leaf-level pages have internal linking too. Internal linking informs the search engines what pages are necessary and how to navigate there. It will only help you better if you have more internal links across all web pages on your site. 

Wrapping Up:

Good website structure is a byproduct of mindful thinking, intentional design and impeccable organization. The ideal time to build a strong website structure is before you build your website. But, if you are redesigning your website, you can work on the design elements and reorganize some navigation elements to enhance your structural SEO. There are various things you can do to optimize your website for search engines. Website structure is one of the most crucial but one of the most important neglected optimization methods. If you have a good website structure then you will see great results in your SEO. Do you have any such advice to improve website SEO? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Dhruvil is a marketer for Nimblechapps, an app development solutions company joining December 2014, based out of Sydney, Australia. He has worked briefly as a Branding and Digital Marketing Manager before moving to Australia. At Nimblechapps, he worked on Social Media Marketing, Branding, Email Marketing and Blogging. Dhruvil studies Business at University of Western Sydney, and also handles Operations for the company in Australia.