An SEO Guide For Website Architecture – 2017

The student’s posts are entirely his or her own views and may not always reflect the views of Webgrowth.
How important is structure/architecture for the SEO of a website? This is a question that is important to take note of, for both a business as well as a digital marketer who is responsible for the online success of a website.
The short answer to this question is that; when considering the architecture of your website you need to ask yourself the same question an architect asks themselves when designing a house:

  1. Who am I designing the site for?
  2. What are their needs?
  3. Have you taken into consideration user experience (UX)?

Imagine we had to build a website for an amazing bakery that serves some of the best treats, lets go through answering the above question

1) Who am I designing the site for?

This is a picture of Jeff, besides having an interesting taste in fashion; he also has a taste for baked goods. How would we go about building a site that would appeal to him?
However for every business or organization, it is important to note that the two “people” that you will always have to develop and design your website for are your consumers (Jeff) and your other friend, Google. At the end of the day the distilled objective of every website is to be findable and to be useful… what is being useful, is what we discuss in the next point.
So remember, you have two consumers:

Fig 2: Targeting Jeff & Google = success


2) What are their needs?

It is important to be cognizant of the needs of both your website’s target market.  Websites that are constructed to meet most needs are built in the following way:
A well optimized homepage that links to a category level page, and category pages link to product pages. Sometimes, a child can link back to a parent via the breadcrumb.
A practical example of how you can achieve this is seen in the below illustration, of a website for our bakery.

Fig 3: Example of website architecture and internal linking.

However it is important that you don’t create a vertical silo in the process. It is important to keep link juice flowing down your site architecture as well across
A useful way to solve this problem is to devise methods to cross link your content, focusing on what users might find handy in their journey around your site.
There are several ideas you can use for  cross linking across your website:

Retail examples

  • Popular products in this category
  • Related (complimentary) products
  • Users who viewed this item eventually bought
  • Top rated / recently reviewed items
  • Frequently searched items / categories

Articles / blogs examples

  • Similar posts
  • Popular posts
  • Recent comments

Extra reading: Internal Links – SEO Best Practices

3) Have you taken into consideration user experience (UX)?

It is important to think of UX for both your users and not just Jeff, and remember that context going forward. 

Fig 4: Jeff and Google


4) Page individualization

Everyone is prone into making the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. However this doesn’t work in the real world, and this definitely doesn’t work for individual pages on your site. You cant build a page on the premise of “I’m going to put a bunch of different user intents all together on a single page because we can serve users best from that single page, single experience. “
It is import to realise that different kinds of queries have different intents behind them, and you need to serve those with separate pages, which is why page segmentation/individualisation is so important. So you it is advised to have an individual birthday cake or baby shower cake landing page and all these page pages fall under desserts section of the website.

5) Comprehensive Navigation


Fig 5: Screen shots of Woolworths taste navigation

When designing your navigation, you need to have more navigation. You need to insert footers, have more sidebar navigation. You may even need to make a little bit of a sacrifice for the purity of human experience for someone who’s not coming from search in order to link to more things with good internal anchor text. These links should also have good internal, descriptive anchor text.

6) Keywords in title tags, anchor text as well as url

You need to show Google and the searchers that your page is relevant to their query, that it is the answer to what they are looking for before they get to this page, because, remember, all they’re going to see in Google’s search results page is the title, the description, as well as the url
Remember, they’re not going to know, “Oh you know what, they probably provide a great experience, thats very visual and interactive and even though I can’t see it. I’ll click them anyway.” That is not how people search.
Extra reading: Creating Content Pillars from Keyword Research

7) Readable content

Search Engines have strong taste for text, especially keyword-rich text. They struggle to read images, flash animation, and PDF files.  This is an important point to remember going forward.  However we should also remember what Jeff likes. Humans tend to prefer visual elements, especially when surfing the internet, it would be a good idea to mix up rich text with good visuals. It also important to add tags to the images where possible, just to give the search engines a “sense” of what the images are about.
When creating the content for your website, it is important to remember that you need to be able to navigate between pages. You need separate URLs for each of these. Those URLs need to have good anchor text that’s pointing between them back and forth. You need to have keyword targeting in all of the facets of that navigation. You also need to figure out what all those keyword targets are, which requires keyword research.

May 7, 2018

3 responses on "An SEO Guide For Website Architecture - 2017"

  1. Hi Mojalefa
    Fantastic! I would give you a thumbs up for how you have explored Web architecture as one aspect of SEO but I am not happy about the fact that you left out other essentials such as affiliate site, network building (partner sites) and social media integration. You would have hyperlinked them for your reader to click if they wanted to know more. However, I believe that this platform is meant to allow constructive discussionso for us to share knowledge, and it’s a tools that equips us as Digital Marketers to thrive and innovate in this ever-changing world. I trust that you will broaden the scope of you blog next time you post. It is indeed an excellent and useful blog. Thank you

    • Hello Tebogo
      Really appreciate the feedback. You are correct that the mentioned factors do have an affect on the ranking of your site, and from a SEO perspective, they all have an interrelated effect on each other. However for this particular blog piece, I just wanted to focus on the website architecture, with the fear that if I mention all the other factors, it would either dilute the point I’m trying to make, or make the blog post a bit long winded.
      However I am planning on writing a follow up blog post on factors to consider when drawing up an SEO strategy doc, where I wanted to look at SEO from a 360 view. Please keep an eye out for the next one.

  2. Good point about cross linking and breaking down the silos of a website. It’s an art and science that every digital marketer needs to understand how to plan and execute effectively.

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