By making sure you are planning your website structure well, you will create a website which will achieve a higher ranking in the search engines.
Very often when planning a website the site structure gets overlooked and web designer create beautiful websites which don't see much traffic. To avoid for your website to be a beautiful lonely place, you need to make sure you are creating an optimised and SEO friendly site structure.
Why is the website structure so important?
- a good site structure will give your website the SEO foundation which will improve the organic searches
- a good site structure will help the search engine crawler to index your pages which again will help with the search results
- a good site structure will give your website sitelinks which are the internal links indented below your site's main page
- a good site structure also means a good user experience as your user will easily find what they are looking for
Here are my 5 tips for creating a good website structure
- Keyword research - during the planning process and before you even start with the design of your website you will need to do a thorough keyword research which will tell you what your target group is interested in. These keyword results will suggest a site structure.
- Page hierarchy - with the keywords in mind, think about the pages you will need. Create a hierarchy on a spreadsheet or whiteboard which will also be part of your navigation and URL structure later.
- URL structure - create your URL structure based on your hierarchy. Your URLs will need real words using the relevant keywords for each page.
- Navigation - your navigation will need to follow your site hierarchy. Make sure to create a logical and easy to follow navigation, allowing your visitors to reach their desired page or content as quickly as possible.
- Internal links - these internal links will help your users to navigate around your website. They also establish an information hierarchy around the website and will tell the search engines which pages are important.
Examples of necessary pages:
Every web site has a home page. It is the first page most visitors will see and is also the most important page for gaining good search engine rankings. This is because the search engines give more kudos to your home page content than the content on any other page. Your home page should give a clear summary of what your site is about, what your products or services are, and should have clear instructions on how your visitors should utilise the facilities on your site. It should also provide links to every page on the site wherever possible and every page should link back to the Home Page.
As the web is generally quite impersonal, it is important to make your visitors feel comfortable and if they can see how you can easily be contacted via an email address or telephone number, they will be more inclined to get in touch with you than if they end up feeling frustrated every time they click to try and find your details. If people travel to visit you at your office or premises it is important to also include directions, maps, and relevant helpful information as to whether or not you provide car-parking on site.
Sign Up or Enquiry Form
You really should ensure that your site includes an online form at the top level of your navigation system. This makes it easy for visitors to ask questions, request quotations or sales literature or even give you feedback on your site, service or product.
Products & Services
Your product or services pages should describe as concisely and accurately as possible, exactly what you have to offer. Keep in mind that you need to make it easy for your visitors to choose what is right for them and, if your site is an ecommerce-enabled site, for them to click to purchase your products. If you don't provide online ordering, make it easy for them to express their interest by being able to contact you.
You Information Pages are where you can ensure your content contains keyword-rich phrases to encourage the search engines to return and crawl your site. These information pages should typically include links to the following :
- About: Company Profile: company history, mission statement, key personnel, position in the market place, memberships of trade or professional bodies.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's): If you publish these on your site it is a good way to underline your expertise in your particular area of expertise.
- Testimonials: Testimonials are used to establish your credibility. For example, people are more likely to spend money with you if they have read a bit about your background and like what others have said about you. I can't stress enough that testimonials are really very powerful and should always be included in a prominent place on your website.
- Case Studies: Include examples of how you have helped your clients to get what they started out searching for.
- Newsletters: Don't forget to include links to your newsletters. You will have given them a lot of thought and time, so you don't want to restrict their readership.
A clear and logical site structure will help you to gain new prospects and clients for your business by ensuring your visitors get to the information they want with a minimum of effort.
Please do get in touch, if you need any help with your website planning and site structure.