Website Structuring 101: What It Is, Why it Matters, and Best Practices

Web design isn’t just about making beautiful websites; it’s also about making a website that’s easy to use and navigate.

According to a survey done by Top Design Firms, 42% of website visitors are likely to leave a website with poor functionality.

The ultimate goal in website design is striking a balance between an aesthetically pleasing website for customers and a website optimized for search engines.

The aesthetic part of web design is easy to pin down, but website structuring, which is essential for search engine optimization (SEO), is not as easy to understand.

To that end, we’re going to tell you what you need to know to ensure your website structuring is top-notch.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Website Structure Is

How Website Structuring Affects SEO

Website Structure Diagram

How To Setup Your Website Structure

Final Thoughts: Does Proper Website Structuring Boost SEO?

What Website Structure Is

Website structuring (also known as website architecture) describes how websites are organized and the way webpages are linked. Your website’s structure should help users find information quickly and help search engine crawlers understand the relationship between pages.

By doing so, you provide a great user experience to your website visitors, which positively affects SEO.

Website structure is critical for large websites and is a must when you’re about to launch a new website or restructure an existing website.

How Website Structuring Affects SEO

Website structuring matters because it affects SEO. Following web structure best practices strengthen your user experience.

Specifically, the structure of your website affects the following:

1. Website Crawlability

Website crawlability describes the ease for search engines to crawl or access your website content without running into a broken link or dead end.

Search engine spiders are the robots that crawl your website to determine what it is about. The goal of these bots is to learn what every page on the Internet is about and index them for retrieval later on.

You should arrange your website’s pages in a way wherein they are related to each other to make it easy for the search engine spiders to crawl your website.

2. Navigation

A user-friendly website has always been good for SEO. Search engines like Google emphasize this by rolling out updates such as Page Experience, which prioritizes user experience.

One of the easiest ways to leave a positive user experience for your website visitors is making it easy for them to find the information and products they need from your website, which is done through proper website structuring and website navigation.

3. Internal Linking and Sitelinks

An internal linking structure benefits users and SEO.

It influences PageRank (PR), an algorithm used to measure a webpage’s authority based on internal and external links. Internal linking to relevant pages helps users and search engines discover a page and provides flow between pieces of content.

Website structuring influences sitelinks

Internal linking also influences sitelinks or your website’s most visible pages, shown on the search engine result pages (SERPs). You cannot control what Google decides to display on the SERPs, but these are based on internal linking and website structure.

4. Content Planning

Website structuring helps with content planning and vice versa. Knowing how your website is structured can clue you into new pages or sections that your website lacks and prevent duplicate content.

5. Website Scaling

Each time you create a webpage, you place them in the most relevant parts of your website. However, the content may change over time — you may update and remove pages and implement redirects.

Website structuring future-proofs your website by helping you determine where each piece of content goes.

Website Structure Diagram

Website structure best practices involve creating a website structure diagram

A website structure diagram is used to plan how you want your website to be organized. It is also used to experiment with new website layouts, plan new navigation paths, and reorganize existing structures.

A good website structure looks like the one pictured above. Under the homepage, you have categories, subcategories, and individual pages and posts.

How To Setup Your Website Structure

If you’re starting to build your website, you have the advantage of planning out your website structure to maximize SEO.

Here is what you should do to set up your website structure from scratch:

1. Create a Website Structure Diagram.

Create a website structure diagram to visualize your navigation and URL structure. You can do this manually or use computer programs and applications.

Tips To Create a Website Structure Diagram:

  • Make your hierarchy logical. Simplify and don’t overcomplicate. Each main category should be unique.
  • Keep main categories at a maximum of seven. It keeps things simple. Creating links for too many categories can reduce the value of the link.
  • Try to balance the number of subcategories.

2. Check the Way Your Competitors’ Websites Are Structured.

Depending on the size, planning your site structure from scratch can be difficult. Take inspiration from the way top websites in your niche are structured — that may be the industry standard. It could also help give website visitors some sense of familiarity.

We recommend using Ahrefs to check the top sections of your competitors’ pages and take inspiration from how those pages are structured.

3. Optimize Navigation.

Bluehost’s homepage

One of the goals and results of good website structuring is easy website navigation. The easier it is for a visitor to look for content, the better for SEO.

The homepage is often the first thing visitors see when they visit your website. It should point to all important pages and vice versa. By doing so, your visitors are more likely to end up on the pages you want them to, thus showing Google these pages are important.

For example, Bluehost’s homepage points to its hosting page, which appears as a sitelink on Google’s SERPs. That indicates that the hosting page is one of the most essential pages on the Bluehost website.

Tips to Optimize Navigation:

  • Add a search bar to help users find content.
  • Add a link to the sitemap at the bottom of the page.
  • Design your website using the three-click rule as a guideline. Users must be able to find their desired information in three clicks or less. You can use breadcrumbs on webpages to help users find their way back to the homepage. Yoast’s breadcrumbs block can help you do that.
Nike follows web structure best practices by using breadcrumbs
Image Source

4. Don’t Forget About the Menu.

Several aspects make up website navigation, but your menu should be one of the top considerations because it is the first thing visitors will interact with once they visit your website.

The main pages should be on your menu. For websites with multiple pages and categories, you can create a secondary menu.

The two most commonly-used menu types are the navigation menu and hamburger menu:

  • The navigation menu is often located on your homepage. Websites with multiple categories can benefit by having a dropdown menu to save space.
  • The hamburger menu is often used on mobile websites. It is a square with three horizontal lines that expands to show full menu options and is usually displayed at the top left or top right side of a page.

Tips for Optimizing the Menu:

  • Don’t add too many links to the menu. More links mean less value for both users and search engines. Keep menu items at a maximum of seven.
  • Use descriptive menu titles. Creating menu titles with keywords in mind helps users find items more quickly and contribute to SEO.
  • Position matters. Put the most important pages in front of your website so they’re easily accessible.

5. Create an Internal Linking Structure.

Website structuring is about grouping and linking content on your website. Neil Patel has likened the internal linking structure to putting meat on the bones of a strong website hierarchy.

Not only does adding internal links establish information hierarchy in a website, but it also distributes ranking power in a website. It increases crawlability and tells search engines that the website puts out related and relevant content.

Tips for Creating an Internal Linking Structure:

  • Create a pillar page. Having a content pillar page – the main topic which branches out to related subtopics – also helps you build internal links.
  • Link to your taxonomies. Taxonomies refer to a group of similar content. In WordPress, default taxonomies are Categories and Tags. Adding links to tags and category pages helps Google understand the structure of your website and allows visitors to navigate to related posts.
  • Add links to popular or recent posts.
  • Link to related posts. Several plugins allow you to add related posts at the end of your blog post. You can also opt to create anchor text.

Final Thoughts: Does Proper Website Structuring Boost SEO?

In short, yes, it does.

Website structuring affects many on-page SEO aspects such as navigation, internal linking, and content. Therefore, following web structure best practices ensure your website is pleasing to both users and search engines.

Although website structuring is game-changing, you should back up your efforts with reliable hosting to ensure the best results possible. After all, hosting plays a significant role in improving user experience.

Check out Bluehost’s hosting plans and start reaping the benefits of website optimization today.

Devin Sears
Devin Sears | Field Marketing Manager

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