Optimizing your website for SEO requires a lot of different steps. You have to perform keyword research, create content, and execute link-building campaigns in order to get the search engine results page (SERP) placement you desire. However, too often site architecture is neglected as an essential part of SEO.
In reality, site architecture is one of the most important tenets of SEO and can really separate your site from your competitors. If you are already using relevant SEO practices, a slight change to your site architecture can really help improve your rankings, site traffic, and conversions.
Of course, there is the chance that you’ve never heard of site architecture before. That’s ok! We’re going to break down everything you need to know about how to properly structure your site. As Webflow experts, the team at Responsival understands how to build sites that appeal to both site visitors and the Google search algorithm. We use Webflow as a development tool to intuitively create well-organized sites for our clients. We specialize in building responsive websites with a clearly defined architecture. Let’s get started by defining site architecture and discussing why it is so important.
Every website will have pages with different content. Whether that be something as simple as an “About Us” page or a whole backlog of blog content, these pages need to be structured in a way that makes sense. Your users shouldn’t be confused by your website or how to get the information they need.
There are a lot of different aspects of a website that contribute to site architecture. For example, the way that your URLs are structured depends heavily on the way your site is structured and how the content is organized. The navigation menus on your homepage need to make sense and point users in the right direction. You should try to eliminate any dead-end or orphan pages that might exist on your site.
We may be getting ahead of ourselves here—we’ll talk in-depth about how these considerations will help with SEO and your overall website experience in a later section. Next up, we’re going to get more in-depth about why site architecture is essential for proper optimization.
As you’re reading through this blog, you may already be thinking—“I’ve got such a small website, there’s no need to worry about my site architecture.” As Webflow experts, Responsival knows that site architecture matters no matter the size of your website. Whether a site we are building is just a few pages or has tens of pages of content, we rely on Webflow CMS collections to organize our client's content.
Even if you have a very simple website, there are still steps that you can take in order to ensure that your site is easy to understand, accessible, and SEO-optimized. We’ve taken the time to list out the top reasons why you should consider evaluating or reevaluating your site architecture as soon as possible.
Now that we’ve learned a bit about site architecture and gone over the major benefits, let’s find out how you can begin taking steps to optimize your own site.
We’ve discussed the importance of site architecture and why it is essential for an optimized website, but now it is time to take action. In this section, we’re going over the steps you can take to ensure that your site architecture is as clearly outlined and easily understood. Let’s go!
Keyword research is an excellent starting point when evaluating your site architecture. In fact, keyword research is an essential part of every SEO initiative. By conducting keyword research, you can begin discovering the type of content you should prioritize as your pillar content and the types of keywords you can integrate into URLs. Based on this research, you should begin integrating keywords into your site that will help you outperform your competitors on the SERP..
Once you have some keywords ready to go, you can start visually planning out your site’s architecture. Your site should resemble a family tree with your homepage at the top, your different pillar pages just underneath, and with your most specific content toward the bottom. This map will help you create an easy-to-understand site and get you started organizing your cluster content. When we plan out sites, we use our Webflow expertise to ensure that a site’s structure benefits our clients' goals.
Now that you have a general idea of how you intend your site to be structured, you can begin to optimize your URLs. You should think of your URLs as folders for your content.
In order to communicate your site architecture as clearly as possible, your URLs should reflect the structure exactly—otherwise, site crawlers will get confused. For example, your homepage will be www.mycompanywebsite.com. Your pillar page should be www.mycompanywebsite.com/pillar and your cluster content should be www.mycompanywebsite.com/pillar/content. This indicated to users and crawlers where they are in the site journey and how they got there. It also helps the crawlers better organize and rank the content on your site.
Your site navigation is another opportunity for you to push your best content to the front. The way your navigation is set up can direct users to the pages you want them to visit. Again, this pillar content could be any type of page—just as long as it helps guide users further down the sales funnel.
If you have a lot of industry-specific content on your website, it is easy to let it get lost in your site architecture. As a general rule, no page on your site should take more than 3 clicks to access.
It is also important at this stage to either integrate or remove any remaining “orphan” pages. Orphan pages are pages of your site that are not navigable or accessible through a link on your site. These pages are only accessible from a direct URL. If a page is orphaned, that is a good sign to either remove the content or do some reorganization.
Internal links help you further build your site architecture. When a page on your site links to another page—let’s just say a pillar page links to a cluster content page—it helps establish authority and gives users a clear journey through your site.
The last step you need to take in order to finalize your site architecture is to create an HTML sitemap. A sitemap is an organized list of all of the URLs that make up your site and reflects your site architecture. While your sitemap is visible to users, the sitemap is designed to help search engines crawl your site.
Designing and implementing an effective site architecture isn’t easy, but it is definitely a worthwhile process to optimize your site for the best possible performance. Luckily, Webflow makes it super easy to organize your site content in a way that makes sense to search engines and site visitors alike. At Responsival, we are a team of Webflow experts that understand site architecture inside and out. If you are in need of a site audit, a completely new site build, or enterprise SEO services, feel free to schedule a call with one of our team members. We love nothing more than to create fully optimized, high-performance, responsive websites.
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