Search engine optimization continues to be one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site, but it doesn’t work if your site’s architecture won’t allow it to.
You might think that paid advertisement is the best way to get on search results, but users tend to ignore these results.
In fact, imForza reports that 70 percent of links clicked in search results are organic and not paid. Getting to the top of organic search engine results requires site architecture that lets SEO do its job, and here’s a look at why.
Site Architecture Supports Content
Site architecture is the skeleton on which your content is built, and it is the way that both users and search engines navigate your content.
Like users, search engines need to navigate your site to find the content to curate. Poor site structure will prohibit search engines from actually finding your content. For example, if your site has content that requires user inputs to access, search engines will be hard pressed to present it in their keyword results.
Oftentimes, bad site architecture can require a complete overhaul to optimize for SEO, so it is important that you put site architecture first.
Internal Linking Gets Clicks
Internal linking is what occurs when search engine results include an indented selection of links that lead to specific categories within your site. Internal linking results are created by what is known as “shallow” site architecture – sites whose design has few pages and/or subcategories for search engines to crawl. (More important is the usability of the site for easy navigation and structure drilldown.)
Many website builders feature templates that contain three or four major categories for this very reason. Sites with too many categories and subcategories are difficult for users to find desired content within and difficult for search engines to crawl.
Sites who have a selection of categories with one or two layers of subcategories produce much more “crawlable results” whereas sites with deep architecture, in which there are many layers of subcategories, fail to produce these results.
Site Hierarchy Determines Access
Producing internal links in search engines is a product of this shallow site hierarchy. To create these results, think of your site as a four-layer cake. (Note: This is a sample only. Each website needs a thorough review, analysis and strategy development before you implement & deploy.)
The first layer is your homepage, which is likely the page that will have the most prominent SEO content and “theme” keywords on it.
The second layer is those pages that are linked directly from the homepage and often can direct visitors to products, services, contact information and other very general information.
The third layer is the specific products level, where search engines will tend to land for users looking for a specific product by name.
The fourth level is your valuable content. This is where your blog posts, podcasts, videos and other marketing content are. For those users using long tail (3-5+ words) search phrases, this is the content that tends to pop up. These links are possible to be crawled for internal linking from search engines, and they are often the pages that users land on when they are looking for answers to questions.
Business2Community reports that companies that actively blog have 97 percent more inbound links. This fourth layer is where many users first engage with your brand and build an impression about your products and services. Site architecture designed around piling your marketing content on the top layer will meet with flat results in search engines, so it’s critical that your architecture serve your SEO content.
If you want to learn more, get some more SEO training.
Jon Rognerud and Chaosmap work with Fortune 500 companies, small business and entrepreneurs to create digital traffic strategies that scales up customers, leads and sales. Mr. Rognerud wrote a best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur). Connect directly here.