Where does the site begin? Looking for a good constructor, in which all popular resource formats have already been disassembled into ready-made versions, and a structure has been created for each of them? But no.
The site begins with the collection of a semantic core, according to which, after breaking down key phrases into thematic blocks, a structure will be drawn up. Yes, by hand on a piece of paper. And so that it is simple, logical and allows the user in 2-3, maximum 4 clicks from the main page to find any information of interest to him.
Only when the structure is ready can you work with the designer or built-in CMS templates. Why is it important?
What does the structure of the site affect?
First, because the rare novice developer really does a good job on the structure. And then he complains that no amount of injections into advertising or optimization actions help in promotion to the top of the search results.
In fact, the prospects for this promotion (its very fact and speed) are laid precisely at the stage of building the so-called structural tree of the site. Which should be, if not unique, then very well thought out.
Secondly, and this follows from the first condition, the site navigation algorithm (which is the structure) determines three important success factors at once.
- Indexing speed. The more logically the site is organized, the faster the scanner will “read” it and the resource will “go” to the selection upon request. And the shorter the path from the main page to any subcategory starting from level 3 and below, the higher the site will be in the search results.
- Behavioral factors. Everything is simple here: if a visitor understands where to go for answers, and the choice of materials or categories does not raise questions from him, he will spend more time on the resource pages. For a search engine spider, this is a good reason to raise your site in the SERP. For the visitor – to come back here for new purchases or information.
- The ranking depends on the intelligibility of the category names. Again, if everything is logical, the scanner will give the resource a high rating and quickly raise it in the search results.
How you should and shouldn’t structure your website
The most correct way to create a structure is step by step. That is, you first need to collect and group keywords. Then distribute them among the pages, which must be in the structure (this is the only point where the frequency of phrases matters: everything that people search on a topic often should get its own category or subcategory).
In the third step, you need to identify the pages to which the most traffic should go (they will become the first level categories immediately after the main page). Their set is determined by the goals of launching a web project.
Step four – choosing the type of structure (classic alphabetical, thematic, associative, hybrid, etc.). The penultimate stage is actually drawing a transition diagram with the names of sections and subsections (briefly, without spam and synonyms). The last stage is to check the convenience of the resulting scheme (for this there are a lot of tools – paid and free).
Another way is by analogy with competitors
There is another option – to repeat the structure of competitors. This is much easier, especially if there are strong brands in the niche that are already at the top of search engines and are popular with readers / buyers.
How it works:
- looking for 5-10 sites of competitors;
- we get their structure (manually or using specialized software);
- using programs that analyze page traffic (the same keys.so will do) determines the most relevant sections among users;
- on the basis of the obtained schemes, we form a new structure, the most effective and complete.
On the one hand, you still have to work analytically, of course. On the other hand, it will take much less time to create a unique partition tree. True, this method only works if several conditions are met.
Firstly, you must have strong enough competitors with experience (you may have to look for them in a neighboring region if the niche is not very developed locally). Trying to replicate newbies is pointless – there is no guarantee that they have a good structure. Secondly, you need to take into account the important nuances of the behavior of the target audience (the patterns of buyers may differ even in neighboring areas, it all depends on the same development of the niche).
Top 3 structure mistakes
What shouldn’t be in a good structure:
- Logic violations. The most common example: when stores use the product nomenclature (phones, laptops, PCs, cases) as the main factor for breaking down categories, but add a page with the most popular brand (phones, laptops,…, iPhone). This may be convenient for the user, but with a high degree of probability the search robot will not like it.
- Creative category names. Examples: hits, gifts, surprises, stuff, miscellaneous and the like. If it is not clear from the name of the section what is in it, then the name is incorrect. And you will have to pay for it both by the place in the search engine’s sample and by the behavioral factors.
- Duplicate URL. Yes, the same product may be suitable for different categories. The same children’s clothing can be simultaneously found in the sections “for the little ones”, “baby products”, “discount products”. But each specific position must have one URL, no matter how many directories it appears. Duplicates (separate urls for the same product) are a technical error that will lead to a decrease in the site’s rank.
These are the three most common flaws. There are others, such as leaving technical pages in the index, using a minimum number of filters (the more choice a visitor has, the faster he will find what he is looking for, the more likely the site will receive a high search engine score, and the visitor will convert into a buyer). Or abandoning “breadcrumbs” and other tools that require customization (developer time), but simplify the practice of navigating the site.
All these points need to be worked out even before the site is launched into the index. That’s what testing is for.