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Sitestructure of a website is crucial for SEO

Sitestructure of a website is crucial for SEO

SEO, sitestructure

The sitestructure is one of the key parts of your optimisation. If you get this part right, you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble in the future.

Website performance

Firstly, an important step is to ensure that your website performs well with all the major search engines. By using the clearly defined structure of our overall website, as well as in the individual pages that make up the website, we are providing effective signposts to both visitors and search engines. HTML has long had semantic tags that help to define what type of content is being presented <h1>, <p>, <u1>, <li> and <img> are all semantic elements that should, in theory tell us what type of content to expect within them.

Visual first approach

Sometimes though web designers use tags purely for their inherent visual attributes. For example an <h1> tag might simply be emploed to make a piece of text big and bold, rather than because the content within the tag is actually the main heading for the page. Another way is what may visualu appear to be a heading might actually be just standard paragraph text that has had a <strong> tag wrapped around it.

Good sitestructure serves many purposes

The visual first approach however misses all the benefits of a semantic structure where the content is defined by structure. As a result search engines will have a hard time understanding how to break down the content on your website. Therefore we recommended you always carefully the structure of your page. The most important pieces of content on a page should be marked up with <H1> tag, the second most important with an <H2> and so on.

SEO tip

Use one <H1> per page and not more than four <H2> tags per page.

The three click rule

When it comes to planning site architecture, content organization and a building a sitemap of your website, you want to make sure that no piece of content is ever more than three clicks away from the homepage.

Breadcrumb trail

A breadcrumb trail is a series of text links moving from left to right that shows visitors where in the website they are, and gives them a fast and easy way of navigating back to any of the previous pages.

Breadcrumbs are a vital part of the design of your website as they will help with the websites overall usability and search engine optimisation (SEO). the reason breadcrumb trails are so valuable from a search engine optimisation standpoint is that you are able to use your keywords in the anchortext and link those through to the most valuable page. This increases the value of your chosen keywords within your internal linking profile, which in turn helps to indicate the relevance of your website to the search engines.

SEO tip

When using the breadcrumbs remember to:

  • use keywords in the breadcrumb links
  • sturcture it with the homepage on the left
  • ensure all your links go the right place

The Homepage

You have approximately two or three seconds to capture your visitors attention, no matter what page they land on. As the front door of your website, the homepage must achieve the following in that time.

  • Let visitors know they have to come to the right place
  • Include data for search engines
  • engage visitors
  • Promote clicks to other pages or other action steps

When a visitor leaves quickly time on site is reduced. When a visitor leaves without clicking on any other page, this affect the bounce result. This also assessed by Google’s algorithm when ranking your website in search engine results.

Every page is a homepage

Every page is a potential landing page. Visitors will not always enter your website by way of the homepage. They could arrive on any page of the website depending on the results of how a search or how social media referral is made.

Time is not on your side: take care of an excellent sitestructure

Time is valuable. You must reward website visitors for visiting your website. If you do not provide the information, solution, or answer they are seeking in a timely fashion they will move on to another website; most likely that of your competitors! And statistics show that they will not return. Most consumers expect a web page to load in two to three seconds.

Images that work

Web pages without any pictures look bland, but that ’s no excuse for covering your webpage with decorative effects. The number and size of pictures on a website directly affects how long it takes to download a particular website. So you need to be selective in what you use, and make sure those images maximises the value for the visitor.While it is oke to use some decorative images, the best pictures are those that inform or entertain and they help you to tell your story, for example:

  • Your logo
  • Pictures of the products you are selling or writing about
  • Photo’s of your company’s shops or places you are providing information about it.
  • Photo’s of yourself, the people of your team
  • Illustrations that help explain a tutorial
  • Cartoon strips
  • Artistics photos, if you built the site to share them

SEO tip

How big do you need the picture to be? You can easily shrink digital pictures but can not enlarge them without losing quality. So start with the highest quality image you can find. Don’t forgetpictures are protected by copyright

Internal linking

One of the most important optimisation opportunities you have is to develop a simple and direct internal linking strategy. How you link from one page to another is very important. Many sites significantly improve their rankings based on a strong internal linking strategy.

SEO tip

Most internal links will have ‘click here’ as the anchor text but this is pointless and adds no relevance to your website whatsever. Instead of using ‘click here’ as the anchor text you should be using the relevant keywords for that page, as this will add relevance and help Google to see what the page is about. Internal linking provides direct access to your webpages in order of importance.

  • Include links to all of your main category pages from your homepage by placing links in a navigation menu.
  • This menu should be available on each page of your website. You can place links to the pages in your website footer or by creating an extra large footer.
  • Include the keywords in the links where possible. This tells Google what content can be found on the other site of the link and reinforces your internal linking strategy.

Internal links are very important because they allow for easy access to your content by search engine spiders and can transfer Google PR between pages.

SEO internal linking

Internal linking not only helps the search engine spiders index your page, but is also helps visitors find other related content within your site. Extremely important links are those within the body of your articles. This type of internal links helps to increase indexing of your website as well as the rankings of individual pages.

Design and lay out

The design and lay out of a website makes the all important first impression about the site. There are sites which are too fancy and regular surfers will just reach on those sites and then will exit them very quickly without even making a single stick.

Search engines are very smart, but after all they are only software and not human beings who can read the intent behind their interests. If you make your site too complicated then the search engine will not be able to analyse the content of your site properly and finally, indexing, would not be efficient and this will result in a low ranking.

SEO tip

  • More text content than html elements
  • No frames
  • No Javascript internal
  • No unnecessary directories
  • No flash unless absolutely necessary

Sitestructure: Formatting

Make sure that Google and other major search engines are reading the text of your page prior to reading other page elements such as navigational items. Using frames makes your site noticeably slower to load and taking users more to navigate: it also makes it more difficult for crawlers and spiders to access the information contained within the frames.

Sitemaps

If you want to help yourself and at the same time help Google, then you must include a Google sitemap. A sitemap is a single page on your website that provides access to all the other pages on your site, at least the most important ones. Sitemaps serve two purposes. First they make it easy for visitors to assess the content on your site, and second, they enable search engines to spider your site much quicker.

Spiderman eh Spiders

When the spider arrives at your website, it will read the first page of your website and then start looking at your navigation links, which should include a link to your sitemap. When the search engine spider reaches your sitemap, it begins visiting and indexing each link contained on your map. It is a good idea to have more than an index on your sitemap. Try to include short paragraphs of descriptive text for each link. Which of course should contain your keywords.

Some search engines require an xml based sitemap. Creating an xml based sitemap is not difficult at all.

Having Google sitemaps will offer you these benefits for your sitestructure

  • Understanding Google’s view of your site
  • Diagnosing potential problems with your website
  • Seeing how Google crawls and indexes your website
  • learning what search phrases bring traffic to your website
  • Monitoring the performance of your website.

Sitestructure: Page and file names

One of the simplest methods to improve your search engine optimisation is to look at the way you name your files and pages. Page names are the names of the specific pages on your website. A page name identifies and separates that page from others on your website.

Page names should be properly optimized so that they can assisst Google in deciding what your pages are about and determining their relevance. This will help Google to decide the relevance of each page both in terms of your website theme and whether it should show the page in its results.

To optimize your page and file names you simply need to know what keywords you are trying to target for each page and try to use them in the page and file names where relevant. It is important to remember that you should not just stuff keywords in, your purpose is to add relevance, not to mislead.

SEO tip

  • Filesnames should preferably be short and descriptive
  • Do not use more than 3-4 words in file names and seperate them with hyphens rather than underlining
  • Keep the filesize fewer than 101K though, because Google chops off almost everything greater than that.

Sitestructure: Redirects

Redirects are important in updating or changing a website and so must be used correctly. There are a few different types of redirects but we will only be concentrating on one type the 301 redirect. The 301 redirect is the most search engine friendly way to redirect traffic from one page to another. We recommended using a 301 redirect if you want to:

  • Change a page filename
  • Move a page to another location on your website
  • Move your whole website to another server

Read more blogs about SEO & Content Marketing

SEO specialist Den Haag inhuren

Herman Geertsema is the owner of SEO bureau Connect your World from The Hague. He is an experienced SEO specialist & Content Marketing expert. Connect your World execute assignments in the region of The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam en Breda. Do you have a question or do you want me to hire as a SEO specialist? Surf to my contactpage and call or e-mail me. Look at my Facebook account & Twitter account to collect more information about SEO & Content Marketing.

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