What Is Website Structure? (With Tips for Improvement)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 11, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When designing a website, it's important to focus on its structure. A good website structure can enhance user experience (UX) and contribute to search engine optimization (SEO). Knowing that you can make certain changes, such as decluttering or categorizing your website's content, can help you improve the structure of your website and boost its overall quality. In this article, we answer "What is website structure?", discuss the importance of website structure, and provide some tips for improving it.
What is website structure?
The answer to "What is website structure?" is that it's the layout and information architecture of a website. The home page, menu categories, and other pages are some of the most important components of website structure. Here are four key types of website structures:
Hierarchical: The hierarchical model is a common structure for websites with abundant material. In this structure, the home page includes categories, each of which contains pages and subcategories.
Sequential: The sequential structure is helpful for guiding consumers through a series of steps.
Database: In the database structure, users primarily use search queries to discover material inside a content database.
Matrix: The matrix model consists of many categorized links that allow visitors to go to their desired subject.
Selecting a website structure is often the first step when creating a website. To identify the optimal structure for your website, consider your primary user types and their demands and the type of material the website contains.
Why is website structure important?
Website structure is significant because it helps keep a website well-organized and clean. This makes it simpler for visitors to discover their desired material and substantially enhances their experience. Additionally, website structure usually appears in a company's SEO plan, as it can influence a website's position in search engine results. The arrangement of the content indicates to search engines which portions of a website are the most significant, helping you to attract more visitors to specific pages. Here are other benefits of website structure:
Provides a great UX
Consider a website as a large structure that users explore. A clear layout and logical design are helpful and make it easy to locate the desired space, so visitors to your website are always aware of their location within the site's hierarchy. Search engine algorithms also consider the UX, so if they discover that people are leaving a site, they might downgrade its ranking. This implies the site may not often appear on search engine results pages (SERPs), and when it does, it may not be in a prominent position.
Enables search engines to crawl a website more efficiently
A good structure increases the ability of search engines to obtain data from your site. Search engine bots crawl a site by following the URL and internal link structure to quickly study its content. This information then remains in a massive keyword-based database index.
When a user searches for some information, the search engine scans the index for relevant sites to display in the results. A search engine typically has a certain amount of time to crawl each website. If the structure is difficult to crawl, the engine may not index it properly, which can lead to the website not appearing on SERPs, regardless of how relevant and valuable the information it contains is.
Allows internal links to distribute authority throughout the website
Internal linking is a key aspect of website structure. It serves to enhance the primary navigation and may also help spread quality links to sites without backlinks. Internal linking helps guide attention to important material on a website, in addition to content that you may find deeper in the site's structure. By clicking on a helpful link within a blog article, for instance, a user might go to another page on the site that can enhance their knowledge of what they're reading.
Provides site links in the SERP
Site links are an organized presentation of a website's homepage and internal links on the SERP. They're important, as they improve usability, click-through rate, and credibility, all of which have several benefits. Site links serve as shortcuts to relevant sites and indicate that the website's structure is well-organized for both users and search engines. Although the path of receiving site links from a search engine is indirect, a decent website structure is important. The search engine can better find the most relevant pages for the user and display them if the site's structure is clear.
Tips for improving website structure
Here are tips you can use to improve the structure of your website:
Sketch a design for your structure
If you want to redesign a website structure or construct a new one, sketching it might be an excellent starting point. You can create a rough draft using paper and pencil or experiment with UX design tools. You could also research websites you like to determine which structural components to imitate. In your sketch, include pages, categories, and other features you want to have on your website and experiment with various methods to arrange them. By sketching your design in advance, you can establish a plan to adhere to while you make modifications to your real website.
Declutter your website's content
An easy technique to enhance the structure of your website is to eliminate outdated or no longer valuable material. For instance, if the company you work at owns an e-commerce website, you could delete the product pages for items it no longer sells. You can also create an archive if you don't want to permanently erase material.
Group content into categories
Grouping material into categories helps you enhance the structure of a website, as it can make it easier for users to locate relevant information. If your website has a substantial volume of material, you can arrange it further by adding subcategories. This contributes to a seamless experience for visitors.
Add tags to content
Tags are another way of arranging content. You can establish tags for material so that when a user clicks a tag in one section of the site, relative content appears. This enhances the UX by facilitating the exploration of information pertaining to various themes. For instance, if you have a website about cooking with an article on simple dishes, you could include the tag "easy". Then, when a visitor clicks on the tag, they can see all articles with that label, enabling them to explore the website further.
Develop a navigation system
A navigation system is another key component of a well-structured website. Websites often use navigation bars or menus. You can put all your website's primary content categories into the navigation bar to assist viewers in locating material. To prevent cluttering the primary menu bar, some websites offer several navigation bars. In addition, navigation bar categories often have several subcategories.
Evaluate your website's linking structure
You can also evaluate your website's internal linking structure to see where to improve your website structure. A website's internal links direct a user to another area of the site, usually from one page to another. The internal linking structure is important to the SEO strategy, as it guides search engines to find and index your website's pages. A good internal linking structure can also make it easier for users to navigate through different pages.
Maintain your website structure
After you've improved your website structure, be sure to maintain it over time. You could periodically archive old content and keep your website up to date. As the content of your website grows, you can also add new tags and categories to better organize the material. Maintaining the structure can help you ensure that users continue to have a smooth and enjoyable experience on your website.
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