Updated: May 17
Does your website feel like a virtual maze, with users getting lost in a labyrinth of pages?
Your website structure can be the culprit.
Did you know that 46.1% of people said a website's design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company?
But it is not just about the users, your website structure should in fact be playing a huge role when it comes to enhancing SEO and boosting your ranking.
Did we just make you type the URL of your website in the search box?
Well, in that case, scroll now to the section about website structure and how you can make it SEO-proof.
What Is Website Structure?
Think of your website structure as the foundation of your online presence. It's like the blueprint that determines how your website is organized and how your content is presented to your visitors. A well-structured website is like a well-organized home that makes it easy for guests to find what they're looking for. It provides a seamless user experience that helps visitors quickly and easily find the information they need. Not only that, but search engines also love a well-structured website because it makes it easier for them to crawl and index your pages, which can lead to higher rankings and more organic traffic.
Why Is Your Website Structure Important?
A good website structure is essential for both the user experience and search engine optimization (SEO).
For users, a clear and easy-to-use website structure makes it simple to find what they’re looking for and to navigate through your site. This can increase engagement and reduce bounce rates, leading to improved conversion rates.
For search engines, a well-structured website makes it easier for crawlers to find and index your pages. This can help your site rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more organic traffic to your site.
Top-Down Vs. Bottom-Up Website Structures
There are two main approaches to website structure: top-down and bottom-up.
Top-down website structures start with the homepage and work downward, with each section and page being a subcategory of the homepage. This approach is best for sites with a small number of pages and a clear hierarchy of information.
Bottom-up website structures, on the other hand, start with individual pages and work upward, grouping pages together based on their content and creating categories as needed. This approach is best for larger sites with a wide range of content.
The 4 Types of Website Structure
1. Hierarchical Website structure
The hierarchical website structure is the most common and easiest to understand. It is a top-down approach where pages are organized in a tree-like structure with a clear hierarchy. This structure makes it easy for users to navigate and understand the content on your site. It also helps search engines crawl and index your pages efficiently.
For example, an eCommerce website may have a hierarchical structure with the homepage at the top, followed by category pages, subcategory pages, and finally individual product pages.
A great example of a brand that uses a hierarchical website structure is Nike. Nike's website is structured with clear categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories for products, collections, and sports. The main navigation menu allows users to easily browse through the different sections, and the drop-down menus provide a clear path for users to follow to find the information they need.
2. Sequential Website Structure
The sequential website structure is a bottom-up approach where pages are organized based on the user’s journey. This structure is best for sites with a clear conversion goal, such as lead generation or sales. It guides the user through the site, presenting content in a logical sequence to encourage them to take action.
For example, a D2C website selling a product may have a sequential structure that starts with a landing page, is followed by product features, benefits, and testimonials, and ends with a call-to-action (CTA) to purchase the product.
A sequential website structure is commonly used in e-commerce websites to guide users through a purchasing process. A good example of a brand that uses a sequential website structure is Sephora. Sephora's website guides users through a step-by-step process for making a purchase, with clear buttons to proceed to the next step or go back to the previous step.
3. Matrix Website structure
The matrix website structure is a hybrid of hierarchical and sequential structures. It organizes pages based on both categories and the user journey. This structure is best for sites with a lot of content that needs to be organized in a logical and user-friendly way.
For example, a news website may have a matrix structure that categorizes content by topic and presents it in sequential order within each category.
Matrix website structure is commonly used by companies that offer a wide range of products or services. A good example of a brand that uses a matrix website structure is Amazon. Amazon's website features multiple product categories that are grouped by brand and type, allowing users to search for products in a matrix-like manner.
4. Flat Website structure
The flat website structure is a top-down approach where all pages are linked directly from the homepage. This structure is best for sites with a small number of pages that do not require a clear hierarchy.
For example, a personal blog may have a flat structure, with the homepage linking directly to individual blog posts.
A flat website structure is commonly used by brands that have a limited number of products or services, and want to present them all on one page. A good example of a brand that uses a flat website structure is Slack. Slack's website features a single page that presents all of their products and services in a simple, easy-to-understand format. Users can scroll down the page to see all of the offerings, and can click on different sections to learn more about each product or service.
Which Type of Website Structure Is Right for Your Website?
Here are some tips to help you pick the right type of structure for your site:
Understand Your Content
Before choosing a website structure, it’s important to understand the type and amount of content you have on your site. If you have a large number of pages and a lot of content, a hierarchical or matrix structure may work best. If you have a smaller site with limited content, a flat or sequential structure may be more appropriate.
Consider User Journey
Think about the user journey on your site. How do users navigate through your site, and what actions do you want them to take? A sequential structure may work well if you have a clear conversion goal, such as lead generation or sales. On the other hand, if your site is informational, a hierarchical or matrix structure may be more suitable.
Evaluate Your Goals
Consider your goals for your website. Are you looking to drive traffic, generate leads, or make sales? Your website structure should align with your goals and help you achieve them. For example, a sequential structure may be best for a site focused on sales, while a hierarchical structure may be best for a site focused on information.
Seek Advice from a Website Optimization Expert
If you’re unsure which website structure is right for your site, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a website optimization expert. They can evaluate your site and help you determine the best structure while aligning the best search engine optimization techniques to meet your goals.
Tips to design and develop your website structure
Care for People:
When designing your website, it's important to prioritize user experience over search engine optimization. According to a survey by HubSpot, 76% of users say that the most important factor in a website's design is its ease of use. By creating a website that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provides valuable content to your audience, you can improve your user engagement and ultimately boost your SEO.
For example, the website of Airbnb is designed to be visually appealing, with large, high-quality images of their properties that make users want to book a stay. The website is also easy to navigate, with clear calls to action and a search bar that makes it easy to find the right property for your needs.
Keep Only Limited Number Links
When it comes to linking, quality over quantity is key. This is because having too many links on a single page can dilute the page's authority and make it more difficult for search engines to understand its relevance.
Use Heading Tags
Using heading tags is an important part of website structure and can greatly improve your SEO. By using heading tags to organize your content and create a hierarchy, you can improve your user engagement and make it easier for search engines to understand the relevance and importance of your content.
Make the Navigation Paths Short
When it comes to website navigation, simplicity is key. By keeping your website's navigation shallow and easy to use, you can improve user engagement and ultimately boost your SEO.
A great example of a website with simple navigation is Apple's website. Their main navigation is limited to just a few key categories, making it easy for users to find what they're looking for with just a few clicks.
Breadcrumbs are a type of navigational aid that can greatly improve your website's structure and user experience. By providing additional context to users and search engines about your website's hierarchy, you can improve your user engagement and ultimately boost your SEO.
Amp Up Keyword Research
Keyword research is an important part of SEO, as it helps you understand the words and phrases that your target audience is using to find your products or services. By using this information to optimize your website's content and structure, you can improve your search engine visibility and ultimately boost your rankings.
Implement Schema Markup
Schema Markup is a type of structured data that can greatly improve your website's SEO. By adding schema markup to your website's code, you can provide additional context to search engines about your website's content and structure, making it easier for them to understand and rank your website.
Creating a website structure that enhances SEO is an essential part of UI UX design website. A well-structured website not only helps users navigate through your site easily but also helps search engines understand the content of your site. By choosing the right website structure for your site, you can improve user engagement, reduce bounce rates, and drive more organic traffic to your site.
Remember to consider your content, user journey, and goals when selecting a website structure. But how can you really escape this? Getting the right UI UX design website is the answer and our website optimization experts can do it perfectly for you.
At Design Process, we specialize in creating custom website designs that not only look great but also enhance your SEO and drive growth for your business.
Till then, happy optimizing.
Further Reading: Where Is Search Engine Optimization Going In 2023 – Key Trends