Companies big and small are seeing the necessity of getting more of their content in front of search engine users and securing more traffic from search engines. One of the things many companies overlook is that of website structure.
Many websites you visit have information strewn about in a confusing way and visitors don’t know whether they’re coming or going. If your website structure is lacking, it’s hurting your site’s user experience and it’s likely having more of an impact on your SEO than you know.
Continue reading this article and we will help you get a clear understanding of how to structure a website to give the best user experience and to enhance SEO results.
What Is SEO & What Goes Into It?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the practice of getting Google and other search engines to notice that your content is the best option for its search engine users.
You are basically trying to get elected as the top result in the search engines. There are a lot of things that go into it but we’re going to focus on website structure today.
Here are some of the things that go into SEO outside of the website structure.
- Keyword usage
- Relevant links to your website
- Social signals
- Alt text for images
And more. The subject is very complex but your company’s website structure is a good place to start improving your SEO efforts.
Why Is SEO Important?
You’ve got sales quotas to hit, employees to train and a million other things to do, why should you work on SEO?
Is SEO really that important that it should warrant time on your schedule and money from your marketing budget? Simple answer — yes.
Builds Trust With Website Visitors
People trust search engines like Google and Bing and when they see that your website shows up there, you get some of that trust from them. The more you show up when they search around your industry, the more they will start to see you as a trustworthy source.
Helps New People Discover Your Site
Many people don’t even know that your company is out there. Google and other search engines can help you get discovered by people that could be your next raving fans.
Helps You Create a Clear Structure for Your Content
There are certain steps you need to take when you’re making your content and site are SEO friendly. Since you are taking those steps with each piece of content and keeping it in mind throughout the creation of your site, SEO helps you create a clear structure for your content.
Allows Past Users to Rediscover Your Website
If people haven’t opted into your email list, you might not have access to their information or have a way to get in touch with them. Being at the top of the search engines is a great way for people to find you again and have the opportunity to opt-in.
Structuring Your Site
Structuring your site might not seem like a very sexy task but it is an important one. Once you start to see how much it affects how well people are able to navigate your website and how your site starts to rank, it’s likely to look much sexier.
Creating categories in your site allows people to find related content easily. People that are searching for something in that category are likely going to be interested in similar content.
When search engines see that you have a good amount of content on that topic, they are more likely to see your content as a good solution for the visitor. The reason they’ll see your site as a good solution to the visitor is that you’ll have information that will allow the searcher to go deeper and find more helpful information on the topic.
Pages & Posts
If you’re using WordPress as your CMS then you’ve got the option of using pages and posts. Pages are meant for your more static pages like your homepage, about page and service pages. Posts are meant to fill your blog and in most cases, people are able to post comments on posts.
Breadcrumbs are a good way to help users find their way back to the main page or post on a given topic. Let’s say they visited your page about marketing and then clicked through to digital marketing. Your breadcrumb might appear like this — home>>marketing>>digital marketing.
If they want to go back to marketing or the homepage, all they have to do is click which one they want. This makes it easy for your users but it also allows Google and other search engines to see how each of the pages relates to the other one.
When you’re thinking about your site structure, being able to easily navigate it and understand the system is important for both Google and your visitors.
Another extremely important piece of site navigation are links you build within your site. Let’s say you write a new article about social media marketing and you have a post about an old social media network that no one uses anymore.
You can talk about why the old site isn’t doing well and how you can make sure you’re using the best practices today. When you’re talking about the old social media site, you can link it to the past post. People often find it interesting to see what was working last year and in the years before.
Interlinking helps people get to more relevant content that might not necessarily be new. When you’re creating new posts, don’t forget to link to still relevant and helpful older content.
Linking from one article to another also helps with SEO and can give one page a boost from another page. When one page boosts another page that is known as “passing link juice” and is an easy way to help a new page get some credibility.
How to Create Content That Makes an Impact
When you’re creating content, this is one of the most important parts of your site structure. Without content, your site is just bare bones and it isn’t going to help anyone.
Learning how to create content that is strategic and well laid out is essential when you want to rank in the search engines.
Write a compelling article header and make sure to add your main keyword in the header. Your header should be able to show up fully in the search engines so when you write the SEO title tag, it should only be 55 characters.
You can make your title is longer within your website but make sure the SEO title is within those 55 characters.
Let’s Get Visual, Visual
The photos and videos you include in your website are just as important as the text that you use. Keep in mind that search engines don’t know what is being said in the videos and they can’t see what the photo is, so these things are more geared toward your visitors.
Remember Those Alt Tags?
When you do put photos on your site, you should add an alt tag that lets search engines and screen readers know what the image is about. Make sure to include your primary keyword in the alt tag to give the search engines a hint that your post or page is about that topic.
Backup Your Stuff
When you make claims, you need to have a way to back it up. How do you know this is true?
When you back up your claims with a reputable source, this helps with your SEO results. Make sure you make the link open in a new window in case people click on the link. You don’t want them to navigate away from your site for good.
Don’t Forget Your Keyword
Your main keyword should be within the first 100 words in your content. When your main keyword is in the first 100 words in your content, this makes it easy for people and search engines to know what your content is about.
Related Keywords are a Must
Related keywords within your content also help search engines and people understand what your content is about. If you keep using the same keyword over and over again, this looks like you’re trying to keyword stuff.
When you use keywords that are related to your primary keyword, this is much more natural.
Get That Loading Speed Down
Your website should be built in a way that is conducive to speed. If you have too many complicated elements on your site, it might lag your website’s loading time. Make sure you don’t add elements to your content if they aren’t necessary and helpful.
Make Sharing Easy
When you make your content easy to share, people are more likely to do so. If they have to search for share buttons, they aren’t going to go out of their way to tweet your content or share it on Facebook.
When you make it easy for people to share your content, you’ll be able to get more social signals which helps with your SEO efforts.
Writing long-form, in-depth content is helpful for SEO because search engines love content that gives a comprehensive answer to questions. Writing content that is one thousand, two thousand and even more words can help give you brownie points with the search engines.
Your design also needs to be responsive for the best results. Without a responsive design, many of your mobile users will navigate away from your site.
Should You Take Care of Your Own SEO?
If thinking about taking care of your own SEO is giving you a headache, you might consider working with companies like SEOExplode — but should you?
Why not hire your own in-house SEO team and let them take care of things for you. While hiring in-house is an option, most of the reason we don’t want to take care of SEO ourselves is that we don’t know a lot about it.
If you don’t know a great deal about SEO, it is difficult to know you’re hiring someone that knows what they are doing. When you work with a company, you’re able to get references and see who they have helped with their SEO efforts in the past.
When you’re finding it hard to take care of your own SEO efforts, you might decide that you want to work with a professional. As long as you hire a good company, this is a good option that can help you keep your sanity.
What to Look for When Hiring an SEO Agency
When you want to hire an SEO agency to help you, the number one thing to look for is previous results. If they can’t point you toward other companies like yours that they’ve helped — pass!
You don’t want help from people that can’t get results which is why you need to demand transparency. Before you sign a contract, you should know how they plan on helping you get ranked in the search engines. SEO is a pretty straightforward process and they shouldn’t hide their methods from you.
Making the Most Out of Your Website Structure
Now you know more about creating a website structure that is going to help your SEO. You’ve got enough information here to help you get started with on-site improvement, but why not keep learning?
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