When individuals want to learn more about search engine optimization or SEO, most of the information they find is related to either on-page or off-site SEO. However, the structure of your website is actually very important in terms of how well it performs in the search results, and influences its overall authority. There are several elements of a website’s structure which can affect how “friendly” it is when it comes to search engines; when well-structured, you will realize more targeted traffic as well.
Here are examples of the most important elements in building a website that is well-structured for SEO purposes.
Internal linking – Internal and external backlinks are important for good SEO to all of the internal pages of your website, so that the home page is not the only page that ranks highly. Internal backlinks should be included in your site’s structure, linking between individual pages. External backlinks are simply links which come into your website pages from an outside source, meaning a different website and not your own. Internal links not only make your site easier to navigate for users, but offer opportunities to use anchor text that is keyword rich to link to pages, improving its SEO value. Link building (both internal and external) is an essential component of effective search engine optimization.
When you build a “shallow” website (that is, one in which the pages are not buried so deep that users get frustrated trying to find the information they’re in search of), users are more apt to remain on your site for a longer period of time, and your bounce rate may decrease. Both of these are factors which are taken into consideration by search engines to determine ranking.
URL structure – The structure of your URL is vital to good search engine ranking for various pages of your website, and depend on whether yours is a CMS or HTML website. Keywords should be used in URLs, including your domain name when possible. When adding a page to an HTML website, the URL will usually appear as: http://www.mydomain.com/name-of-page.html. So, if your new page is an article about Great Dane dog training, your page URL would be: http://www.mydomain.com/great-dane-training.html. Always use dashes instead of an underscore for search engine readability, and keywords in your file titles.
CMS websites (for example those built on Word Press) – make creating SEO optimized URLs a simple matter. All you really need to do is go into the dashboard and select “post name” within the Permalinks option, so that your URLs are your post titles rather than numbers and codes which are default settings used by Word Press unless you change the setting.
Over the past year the Google Panda updates have affected the success of many websites, causing them to drop off the charts in terms of search engine ranking. We’ve learned that fresh, informative content that isn’t over-optimized with keywords is essential – but the structure of your website can have a huge impact on SEO and ranking as well. Make sure your website is well-structured, and the battle for better rankings will be half won!