Why Site Structure and Internal Linking Is Important
Well, it doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie or an expert in the SEO field—you must know the importance of site structure concerning organic search performance. If you haven’t put more emphasis on this, it the time that you started to prioritize it in all of your projects.
So, What’s A Site Structure?
The simplest definition of this is the process of organizing a site.
The objective of organizing a website is to make it easier for users to navigate the website, while also allowing search engines to crawl the website flawlessly at the same time.
There is one thing everyone in SEO should learn when being introduced to the field—on-page optimization. This relies heavily on the use of h-tags or heading tags, which are H1, H2, and H3, among others.
The structure of a website is a simplified or generalized version of this organization.
For instance, you can think of a site like your home. The best and most suitable home should have the right number of rooms, which can be accessed easily.
From that example, we can think of the web pages as the rooms. For your home to be livable, it must have entrances, without which, you would be forced to access each room from the outside windows.
Keywords vs. Topics
The greatest emphasis when it comes to creating the best site structure is how you organize the web pages into “topic silos.” Although keyword research is considered to be a topic, it’s critical to think of the pages less from the perspective of keywords, and more as topics.
When you focus on topics, you will find that it’s easier to have a holistic approach to your web page targeting. This, however, happens when you create content that will answer all the questions in every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Also, you shouldn’t forget that keyword research remains an essential element when creating content for a page that you want to rank better. But there’s a big difference here—a change in the way that you think.
Today, keywords are not the only thing that’s needed for pages to rank for certain queries once you build several links. You should note that things have become a bit complicated. Search engines are becoming smarter every day, which makes them process content in a better way.
Because of this, you must shift your mentality for you to decide what topics you need to cover on a certain page or a group of pages. Now, when you do this correctly, your content creation method can lead to the following:
- Expansion of your keyword inventory
- Improved rankings
- Improved user engagement
Site Information Architecture (IA) Structure
You will need to create a site IA structure. This should happen once you complete your research and come up with your primary topics that your website should focus on.
Do you remember the example we used above of a website functioning as your home, with the web pages representing the rooms in your home? Now, the IA of your website will be represented by the hallways that connect the rooms in your home. You should always keep this example in mind when creating the IA of your website.
When creating the information architecture of your home, the homepage must be at the top of the structure. Note that the homepage will have more visitors than any other page on the website. The homepage should then link to the main topic silos of the website.
The silos, on the other hand, act as groups around the topics that your website focuses on. There’s one major benefit that comes with this kind of structure—when search engines review these topic groups, they will easily understand what your site is about.
When you place content in logical topic silos, you will notice that the content of the website is structured in a manner that assists in supporting the general topic. This, in turn, will build authority for the topic(s) that you are creating content around.
Now, this is where the famous E-A-T by Google comes into play.
If your website can establish itself as an authority for a certain subject in a better way, the better and more opportunities it will have to rank for relevant search queries in SERPs. Just like search engines, if your website has useful and relevant content that answers user search queries and resonates with them, there is a high chance for the users to build recognition of the website around that topic.
If the user has more needs or queries around that topic, there’s a higher chance that they will come back to your site before visiting another site.
Use Internal Links
Internal linking is one of the most essential things when it comes to building a logical site IA. You can easily do this via both internal links in the body content and navigational items.
What makes internal linking important?
- From the perspective of a user and search engine, internal links assist with the discoverability of a web page. When a page is not linked to, it becomes a challenge for users to find it, and it’s also less crawled—if it is at all.
- Internal linking assists the flow of equity that a page builds up. As a result, web pages deeper within a website can have a better ranking for related search terms.
Don’t Move the Pages When Updating a Website
If you are not working on a new build website, you should be careful when updating the structure of the site. There’s one thing that most people like to do—changing the physical URL of the pages and then moving the location of the pages within the website.
However, this is very dangerous and can have detrimental effects on SEO. Even though this issue can be solved with a redirect, it’s not the best way to create a good site structure.
Redirects affect the efficiency of equity flow from both internal and external links. Although this can be easier to implement, cleaning up of these kinks when updating the new URL can be time-consuming.
The best way to transfer something in-between topic silos is to ensure that you implement the breadcrumbs on a web page. Once you enable breadcrumbs and then have the relevant markup attached, you will only need to change the relevant silo point where you need the page to be related.
Although you are not changing the page’s physical location within the structure, this method allows search engines to note the change when they crawl the page again. Also, this method eliminates the possibility of crawlers seeing the page as a new page, and this allows the page to retain its already established equity.
Lastly, users are also able to navigate easily within the website.
Never Reinvent the Wheel
Like all other SEO activities, your competition remains to be an amazing resource. Check to see what topics your competition is performing better for. If they have a better way to do things, you should determine how they have structured their website, and this should give you valuable insights on the things that search engines favor.
Moreover, you will have the chance to find broader and better topics that you can cover with your site structure.
The architecture/structure of a website is a very important piece of SEO puzzle. When you establish a well-planned IA for your website early in advance, you will be establishing a better and stronger foundation to build your site upon.
Without a strong website structure, all your SEO efforts will have less impact on your general success.