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SEO 10 min read

Site Architecture 101: How to Build An SEO-Optimized Website

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Jigmit Gwari photo

Expert reviewed by Jigmit Gwari

SEO Product Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 23 Feb 2022

For an eye-catching skyscraper to reach into the clouds during construction without toppling over, it needs to be backed up by a sound architecture that clearly outlines the design and plan of the building. 

Similarly, a great-looking website that’s a breeze to use needs to be underpinned by an architecture that outlines how the site is structured. 

So, how do you structure your website to ensure it looks impressive while meeting your user’s needs and boosting your search engine optimization (SEO)?

Well, pull up a chair because the Galactic Fed website architecture 101 class is in session! In this article, the growth marketing folks here at Galactic Fed explain what exactly site architecture is, why it’s important, and how to structure a website, so it not only serves your user’s needs but also helps you achieve key business goals.

Website structuring is a fine art, but by following our five best practice tips, your firm will be well on its way to creating a site that helps you reach new customers and boost the growth of your business fast. Let’s get started with clarifying what website architecture is:

What is site architecture?  

Source: UXPin 

Site architecture refers to the plan and design of your website’s information architecture (IA) to create structure and make it usable. In other words, it’s how your website’s pages are structured and linked together. 

The gold standard when it comes to site architecture helps visitors navigate easily through your site visitors while also making it easy for search engine crawlers to find and index the content found through your website. 

Why hierarchical website structure is important 

There are several reasons why hierarchical website structure is important to your company’s site: 

  • It helps search engines crawl and index content on your site.
  • It increases conversions by making it easy for site visitors to find your products and services, along with lead-generating content. 
  • It lets you spread page authority more evenly so that no page is missed.
  • It boosts topic cluster authority thanks to a robust internal linking structure between related and similar topics, and 
  • It allows your site visitors to embark on desired user journeys and more in-depth site navigation by providing more layers of web pages to explore.

Search engines can crawl 

An optimized site architecture assists search engine spiders in finding and indexing all of the web pages on your site.

If your company has web pages on your site that take several clicks from your homepage to arrive at, Google Bots can have a difficult time finding and indexing those pages resulting in a knock to your SEO.

Increases conversions

That blog or landing page you created that goes into detail on how your product adds value to the site visitor is only helpful if people are able to locate it to read it.

Ensuring your site visitors can navigate to your products, services, and supporting content quickly and easily means they are more likely to request a demo or watch your testimonial video, leading to more conversions. 

Enhances your page authority 

Another key benefit of hierarchical site architecture is its impact on the authority of your web pages and website as a whole. 

By distributing ranking power more equitably through a hierarchical site architecture, you can ensure no page is left out while boosting your SEO in the process.

Want to learn more about spreading link equity across your site? Check out our guide for building a stellar internal linking strategy

Boosts topic cluster authority

Site architecture also gives your topic cluster authority - page authority’s not-so-distant cousin - a helping hand when it comes to where you end up on your targeted search engine results page (SERP.) 

When you create a topic cluster linking to and from high-priority, relevant pages, the more link authority, or PageRank, will flow to those web pages. This is a very good thing as it can improve your company’s ranking with Google. 

Allows for in-depth site navigation  

And last but not least, a well-structured site architecture tailored to your company’s business objectives goes hand-in-hand with a fantastic user experience. Implementing and maintaining a well-structured site ensures people can find what they need or do what they want to do on your site today and in years to come. 

Don’t forget; a great UX impacts your SEO for the better ever since Google’s Core Web Vitals update last year. 

Website structure best practices: five tips to consider 

We’ve convinced you of just how powerful the right site architecture is.  But now the big question is how to develop one for your own firm? 

We’ve pulled together our top five tips for ensuring your site architecture helps you crush those business goals while adding value to your site visitors through a slick, intuitive web presence. 

From reimaging your top navigation and keeping your URLs brief to using breadcrumbs, follow our best practice tips to build an SEO-optimized website that’s a pleasure to navigate. 

  1. Adopt a mega menu 

It’s a good idea to revisit your top navigation every once and a while and check to see if it still fits with your business goals, existing inventory, and current user behavior trends. Provide site visitors with as many top-level categories as necessary but as few as possible. Adding more top-level categories shrinks the number of clicks it takes to arrive on your conversion web pages. Just don’t add so many that it’s a hassle to read through all the options within the top navigation.

Source: Fenty Beauty

A mega menu is a common solution for websites with sizable product lines. This type of top navigation menu expands into an organized list of options so that site visitors can access information quickly and easily from the home page. Your company can set them off on their user journey, seamlessly navigating through several layers of subcategories without ever clicking away from your firm’s navigation menu.

  1. Write short and sweet URLs 

An inaccessible and barely readable URL isn’t popular with Google Bots or visitors trying to navigate your website. Focus on creating user-friendly URLs to ensure your company’s site is SEO-optimized. 

Several content management (CMS) systems, including WordPress, automatically create a user-friendly URL for you based on your web page’s title. It will usually read as follows:

While subdirectories help improve the UX of your website, they don’t necessarily need to reflect your site’s architecture to be useful. Internal linking matters more than URL structure. This means that you can structure your URLs as follows:

  • yourcompany.com/topic
  • yourcompany.com/subtopic
  • yourcompany.com/longtail-keyword-one
  • yourcompany.com/longtail-keyword-two

Connect each of the URL subcategories to each other and to the pillar content page using internal links to create a robust URL structure. 

  1. Add in some breadcrumbs 

After developing a strong internal linking strategy, breadcrumbs are the most powerful way to show your website’s architecture to site visitors and Google Bots alike.

Source: The Home Depot

These links display a web page’s parent pages linking all the way back to the home page. Breadcrumbs are commonly placed above the web page’s title and may feature arrows indicating the pathway to the current page the visitor is viewing. 

Talk to your web developer today about ensuring there are breadcrumbs throughout your site and they are up to date.

  1. Keep it consistent

Your company website’s design principles, navigation format, and link displays should follow a consistent pattern. 

Ensuring these key elements remain in line with each other keeps your visitors on your website longer because it’s easier for them to navigate to new pages and click on your links quickly.

  1. Provide content in under four clicks 

Even if your firm’s website is on the large side with over a million pages, your site architecture should allow visitors to begin at the homepage and end up on any webpage with fewer than four clicks of their mouse. 

To achieve this, design top-level navigation or use a mega menu that guides site visitors to your website’s main categories quickly and easily. Then, from each of your site’s main category pages, make sure your visitors can click through to all of your subcategory web pages available. 

Allowing your site visitors to gain access to content in under four clicks is quickly becoming the industry standard for providing an excellent user experience.

A helping hand with your firm’s website structuring 

If you know your company’s site architecture could benefit from an upgrade to ensure it’s SEO-optimized, but you are strapped for time and resources, reach out to us here at Galactic Fed. 

We’ve helped many firms improve their website structuring over the years, ensuring they are a joy to use while improving their search engine ranking to reach new customers. 

Our recent technical site audit for insurtech company, Hourly, achieved a 167.5% increase in the site’s organic traffic

We hope our best practice tips assist you on your way to designing a site architecture that smashes your business goals while making it easier for people to navigate your site.

Class dismissed!

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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