The site navigation structure is an important factor for ensuring SEO success of the website. A sought after site structure with all the essential SEO elements in it and as per the Google guidelines, is sure to help your website rank high on the search engine and perform well. However, a poor site structure and series of flaws in the navigation framework can cripple your SEO efforts.
So, what are some of the most essential site structure elements that are decisive for the success of your SEO efforts? The post throws light on exactly what and how your site structure should look and function like for the best performance on the search engines.
We all understand that search engines rapidly crawl websites, page after page, and index them. These web pages are made available to the users when they search for a particular piece of information on the search engines. Users search using keywords, phrases, sentences etc to search for information. The webpages that are indexed by the search engines, the most relevant information and highly ranked due to their SEO friendliness are easily found ahead of other websites.
Site crawlability is the ease with which a search engine can ‘crawl’ your website and thereby index it. If your website is not crawl-friendly or easy-to-crawl then there are chances that it will not get indexed, least ranked high on the search engines. This is exactly where the site structure steps in!
Robots.txt: If your robots.txt file is in poor shape, your website crawlability will go for a toss. With hundreds and thousands of times that we hear about how important this one factor, we seem to mess it up all the more. If you know and understand how bad even the smallest of error on the robots.txt file can be, your website is probably away from the reach of the web crawlers or web spiders as they are popularly called. One has to be very careful while updating, altering or doing anything with this file.
Internal link structures: Interlinking on the website also plays a great role in helping search engine spiders to crawl web pages easily. Proper interlinking and the use of relevant page links on a web page help in improving site crawlability to a great extent.
Sitemap: Both HTML as well as XML varieties are ideal for improving site crawlability.
URL rewriting: Your web page URLs need to have the least parameters as possible. Use an identifiable name in the URL that gives a gist or hints towards the subject of the web page. The length of the URL is also an important factor. Shorter URLs are better than longer URLs as users prefer to click on short URLs in the search engine results pages. Hence, they are good with respect to crawlability as well as clickability.
Duplicate Webpage or Canonicalization
Search engine pundits have been blowing horn against the excessive prevalence of canonical issues on a website. The search engine index may have a large number of versions for the same page, i.e. there are many web pages indexed that literally have the same content in them. This kind of canonical issue needs to be dealt with seriously.
If your website has more than one version of a web page or duplicate versions of web page, look into the matter seriously! A website that has www as well as non-www versions and no redirecting on either, it will have duplicate versions for its web pages.
Even if you have an ecommerce website, it is easier to maintain the large number of product page URLs with simple techniques such as correct implementation of 301 redirects, managing the URL length and other parameters, effective and accurate pagination and more.
Site Speed/ Loading Time
Google has recently added site speed as an important parameter for search engine ranking of a website. Speedy websites that load fast are considered better and ranked higher than their sluggish counterparts.
However, all the high speed websites are not at the top of the search engine ladder. If the website is quick it also needs to have a variety of other factors going in its favor. Speed is just one of the many factors deciding the fate of a website’s performance on search engines.
On the other side, if we work on improving the loading time of a website, it can actually help in capturing the attention of the visitors and making them stay back for long. Hence, a speedy load time is appreciated by both search engines as well as humans.
Descriptive URLs (Self explanatory)
Descriptive URLs go a long way in fetching good ranking for your website. If the URLs contain popular words being searched online, it is as beneficial as a good domain name. Even search engine crawlers prefer well written URLs over the ones that use numbers or similar URL naming.
If you are URLs are short (as discussed above) and descriptive, people find it easier to understand the context of the web page and find it useful. Hence, it is good both with respect to search engine friendliness as well as from a research perspective.
Hence, site navigation structure holds importance in determining the SEO success of a website. Keep the aforementioned points in mind for improving the site crawlability and ensuring quick indexing of your web pages.