[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”17198824″]Developing an SEO website structure is like building a house. You need to know first what type of house you want to build. Then what building material you prefer. If your house will have an attic or basement you can use as living space. How the rooms should be set up, and so much more.
When you think about your website structure SEO, do the same as in the house example above.
- Is it a local site or do you want to gain nationwide or worldwide reach?
- Are you eager to be seen as an authority for a specific topic?
- Do you establish yourself as a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?
Read more about what makes an SEO friendly website structure and how-to build your perfect SEO site structure below.
What is an SEO Friendly Website Structure?
Perhaps you heard some people saying that building a website is easy. A 5-min thing. You get your domain name, set up your hosting, install a WordPress theme, and voila, you have a website. You build a homepage, an about page, a service page, a blog, and contact us page. Done! You are the proud owner of a website online. And for sure, the search engines and human searchers will find you.
Build A Website And They Will Come …?
It’s like building a mall in a rural area but not having the infrastructure set up around it.
- No exit from the highway, no roads going to your mall.
- You stay on your front door and look over your parking lot.
- No cars.
- You see the highway close by and the cars on it.
- But … no driver sees an exit not knows that you exist.
- And if there was an exit you still need roads that lead to your mall.
Can you see the issue here?
Just setting up a website doesn’t mean the website is set up SEO friendly.
It doesn’t mean automatically that the search engines find you. And if they find you, that they can access your site. Without proper SEO optimization it could be the search engines stay in front of the main door but it’s closed up. Perhaps they could get in but no inside the mall, there are no signs about the stores. Nobody knows where to find shoes, jewelry, cloth, pet supplies …
… I think you can see the bigger picture now.
Building an SEO friendly website structure means that the website is structured in a way for the search engines and the human searchers that it
- is functional
- easy to navigate
- can be tagged and categorized properly
- leads from one page to another and back
Flat Site Structure versus Deep Site Structure
There are flat site structures and deep site structures. Which ones you want to build is depending on your online goal. There is a huge difference if you build a local website, a training site, a lead generation site, or a website where you want to position yourself as an authority in a profitable niche.
If you want to position yourself in your perfect niche, having a
- deep site structure with
- main pages,
- sub pages, and
- blog posts
are key to gain high authority status and niche recognition.
Website Information Architecture – Hierarchical Website Structure – Website Tree Structure – Website Silo Structure, Do They All Do The Same?
Website information architecture, hierarchical website structure, website tree structure, or website silo structure, all these definitions refer to something similar, the building of an SEO friendly website structure. Each process approaches the topic from a different angle but the end result is the same: a website optimized for highest functionality, labeling and categorization by the search engines and easy to navigate for the human searchers.
Read more about the difference of each process below.
Website Information Architecture
Website information architecture is all about search engine and user experience (UX). Like the words say, it’s about using the information you want to provide and using it as an architect to structure your “house”. Source: Informational Architecture on Wikipedia
– what kind of content you want to showcase on your site.
– how you will structure the navigation bar
– which main pages should be on which navigation bar (main, top, side, footer)
– how will you name the navigation buttons
Many entrepreneurs who have a website use their common sense to create their navigation bar or put content on a site. And then they are surprised why nobody, not the search engines nor human searchers, find them. Like building a house, if you do it only once in a lifetime, you won’t get the best results, or perhaps interpret the results wrong due to not existing expertise.
The only way to help an existing website get better is to do an information architecture analysis as part of an SEO audit first to find out what weaknesses the existing content is dealing with to improve it.
Hierarchical Website Structure
Every website with more than a homepage only provides a structure. A hierarchy starts when there are more than one page on your site. By creating pages and posts, your content management system automatically creates a hierarchy with this content by the way your back end is set up.
To create the best possible website hierarchy, define in advance which content you want to use for main pages, sub pages or blog posts.
Have in mind that the homepage always will have the highest hierarchy, followed by the main pages. Blog posts are set up as linear feed and don’t have a hierarchy.
Website Tree Structure
A website tree structure follows the same concept as the hierarchical website structure but often times includes ALL pages, pages that have SEO relevance (main pages, sub pages, blog posts, vposts, etc) and general pages like about, contact, projects, opt in pages, landing pages, social media links, and so on. Compared to the hierarchical one that only focuses on SEO relevant content pages.
Because of this, the website tree structure does not only have a hierarchy going down but also a crown (all non relevant SEO pages) going up.
Website Silo Structure or SEO Website Silo Architecture
The website silo structure often differentiates from the website tree structure by adding blog posts as an additional “hierarchy”. It is also the website structure many people use when they set up pure blog websites or web stores. The website itself doesn’t have main or sub pages but blog categories and blog posts or product categories and products only.
Please note: Your blog is set up as a linear structure, not as a hierarchy. You can add them to a website’s hierarchical structure in theory. But depending on how you set up your content management system, it will display them as a tier 2 page, meaning the blog post’s name is displayed right after the domain name, after the published date, or after a blog category.
Tier 2 page: http://yourdomain.com//%postname%/
with Date: http://yourdomain.com/2015/12/sample-post/
with Blog Category: http://yourdomain.com/blogcategory/sample-post/
I think you can see by now, if you build your website with more than one page (your homepage) then automatically, your content management system assumes a website structure and hierarchy for you. To make sure you set up the best website information architecture ever,
- break down your website’s content
- label and categorize it
- decide on which content to use for main pages, sub pages, or posts
- build your blueprint and execute properly
Ready to build your “house” and grow your authority online but not sure how?
You have two options to work with us: Our SEO coaching program Build.Position.Grow guides students who want to position themselves as authority and learn how-to create a website structure that helps them grow or let us do the job for you by blooming with our Niche Positioner Formula SEO service.