What is website architecture? Guide to building it for SEO
In order to keep your audience's interest, your website must be intuitive and simple to navigate. Therefore, if the website is not running smoothly, nearly ninety percent of users will leave your website due to a poor user experience, and search engines won't regard you favorably either. So how can you design your website in such a way that can improve essential aspects like retaining visitors and increasing conversion rates. In this article, let’s find out what website architecture is and how to improve your site structuring.
What is website architecture?
Website architecture acts as the framework for all the features and functions that make up a website. A well-planned website architecture guarantees that visitors can simply navigate through the site, find what they need, and carry out their desired actions, just as a well-designed spine supports the body’s mobility and balance.
The architecture of a website is important for its performance, ensuring that it loads quickly, is accessible to all users, and can change to meet user’s needs and technological advancements. Website architecture is essentially the unseen force that keeps a website up and running.
The hierarchy of your website’s pages and the connections between them are referred to as its architecture.
Below is an illustration of the structure of a website:
The importance of website architecture
It is impossible to overestimate the significance of website architecture because it serves as the basis for a website’s usability, performance, and user experience. A carefully thought-out website architecture guarantees that users can quickly browse the site, obtain the information they require, and complete their tasks without difficulty or aggravation.
Moreover, your search engine rankings will be higher if your user experience is pleasant. Users will stay on your website longer and link to your web pages more frequently, which are both strong indications that your company produces high-quality content.
For instance, all of the products on the Nike website are organized into categories (such as men, women, boys, girls, customize) by the website’s user-friendly navigation system. Customers can then quickly and easily find the things they’re looking for.
It also facilitates search engine optimization (SEO) with various benefits:
- Organizing content in a logical and meaningful way.
- Making it easier for search engines to crawl and index the site.
- Supporting the scalability and adaptability of a website and allowing it to evolve and adapt over time with changing user needs and emerging technologies.
- Distributing authority among your websites through internal links.
Google finds and ranks pages using internal links. Internal linkage between pages also helps to form the website’s architecture. This implies that when designing your website, it’s crucial that you keep your general internal linking strategy in mind to improve your SEO efforts.
Good website architecture, what will it look like?
Good website architecture is like the foundation of a well-built house. It provides a solid structure upon which all other elements can be built.
Following are some characteristics of good website architecture:
- Content that is topically related together
- Groups should be arranged logically.
- Draw attention to your most crucial pages.
The site’s navigation should be intuitive and easy to use, with clear calls-to-action guiding the user towards their desired outcome. A well-designed website architecture should also be optimized for search engines, with a clear hierarchy of content and well-defined URLs.
Beyond the functional aspects, a good website architecture will also consider the emotional needs of its users by creating an emotional connection with its audience and instilling a sense of trust and confidence. This can be achieved through the use of visually appealing design elements, including color schemes, fonts, and images, as well as thoughtful copywriting that speaks directly to the user’s needs and desires.
Ultimately, a good website architecture should be built with the user in mind. It should be engaging and easy for readers to use and find your content with just a few clicks. Here is a representation of a flat website architecture:
Achieving this level of website architecture requires a deep understanding of the intended audience and a thoughtful approach to design and development. With the right team and approach, it is possible to create a website architecture that is both functional and engaging, delivering a positive user experience that will keep visitors coming back time and time again.
How to create the best website architecture
Creating the best website architecture is an essential aspect of building a successful website. Website architecture refers to the organization and structure of the website’s content, pages, and functionality. To create the best website architecture, there are several key factors to consider.
Creating a simple and effective top-level navigation menu is an important aspect of website architecture. The top-level navigation menu is the primary means of guiding visitors to the main sections of a website, so it is essential that it is clear and easy to use.
To create a top-level navigation menu, start by identifying the main sections or categories of your website’s content.
These might include sections such as:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Other relevant categories
Once you have identified the main sections, create a simple menu bar that displays these categories prominently at the top of the website. It is important to keep the menu simple and easy to use, so visitors can quickly find what they are looking for.
Use clear, concise labels for each menu item, and consider using drop-down menus for subcategories or related pages. It is also important to ensure that the menu is consistent throughout the website, so visitors can easily navigate from page to page. With a simple and effective top-level navigation menu, you can improve the user experience of your website and help visitors find the information they need quickly and easily.
Keep your URLs simple and user-friendly
URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) are the web addresses that allow visitors to access specific pages on your website, and they are a significant aspect of website architecture. When creating URLs, it is vital to make them easy to read and remember, as this can improve the user experience and make it easier for visitors to navigate your website.
To keep your URLs simple and user-friendly, start by using descriptive words that accurately reflect the content of the page. Avoid using long, complicated URLs that are difficult to read and understand. Instead, use hyphens to separate words and keep the URL short and concise.
This will make it easier for visitors to remember the URL and share it with others. It is also important to use lowercase letters in the URL, as uppercase letters can create confusion and make the URL harder to read. Finally, use keywords in the URL to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). With simple and user-friendly URLs, you can improve the user experience of your website and make it easier for visitors to find and access the information they need.
Model your website architecture after the top players in your industry
Modeling your website architecture after the top players in your industry can be a smart strategy for creating an effective and successful website. By analyzing the website architecture of your competitors or other top players in your industry, you can gain insights into what works well and what doesn’t in terms of content organization, navigation, and user experience.
Look for common themes and features that appear on multiple websites, and consider how you can incorporate these elements into your own website architecture. However, it is also important to differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a unique website that stands out.
Be sure to incorporate your own brand identity and messaging into your website architecture, and consider what makes your products or services unique. By combining elements of successful website architectures with your own unique characteristics, you can create a website architecture that effectively communicates your value proposition and engages visitors.
Keep your website consistent
When it comes to website architecture, consistency is key. Consistent website architecture ensures that your website is easy to navigate and understand, making it a pleasant experience for your users. It is important to maintain consistency in the layout of your pages, the placement of navigation menus, and the overall design of your website. This not only helps users find what they are looking for quickly but also helps to establish your brand identity.
By keeping your website architecture consistent, you are ensuring that your users will have a positive experience every time they visit your site. Additionally, consistent website architecture can help with search engine optimization by making it easier for search engines to crawl your site and understand its structure. So, if you want to make a lasting impression on your users and improve your website’s functionality, it’s essential to maintain consistency of your website architecture.
The pillar-cluster internal linking model is a website architecture strategy that involves creating a hierarchy of content based on a few key “pillar” pages, each supported by a cluster of related subtopics. This approach helps to ensure that your website’s content is well-organized, easy to navigate, and provides a great user experience.
To implement this model, start by identifying your core “pillar” pages, which should be the main topics or themes that your website covers. From there, create “cluster” pages that delve deeper into each topic and link them back to the relevant pillar page. This creates a web of internal links that reinforces the hierarchy of your content and helps search engines understand the relationships between different pages.
By following the pillar-cluster model, you can help your website rank better in search results, improve user engagement, and ultimately achieve your goals more effectively.
Provide access to most of your website’s pages in 3-4 clicks
In website architecture, it’s essential to ensure that users can easily navigate through your website and find the information they need without any hassle. One way to achieve this is by providing access to most of your web pages in just 3-4 clicks. This means that users should be able to reach any page on your website with just a few clicks, without having to go through too many intermediary pages.
To achieve this, you need to create a clear and logical site structure that organizes your content in a way that makes sense for your users. Start by creating a main navigation menu that includes links to the most important sections of your website.
Then, use submenus or dropdown menus to provide access to more specific pages within each section. Additionally, consider using internal links within your content to guide users to related pages on your website. By making it easy for users to navigate your website, you can improve their experience and increase the chances of their return in the future.
Breadcrumbs are a useful navigational tool in website architecture that help users understand where they are on a website and how to get back to previous pages. They typically appear near the top of a web page and show the user’s current location on the website in a hierarchical format.
For example, if a user is on the “Product Details” page, the breadcrumb trail might show: Home > Products > Product Details. This helps users to understand how the current page fits into the larger structure of the website and provides an easy way to navigate back to previous pages.
Breadcrumbs are particularly useful for websites with deep navigation structures or for users who may have entered a website from a search engine or external link. Additionally, breadcrumbs can improve the overall user experience by reducing frustration and confusion when navigating a website. By including breadcrumbs in your website architecture, you can help users find their way around your website more easily and make their visit more enjoyable.
Create an HTML and XML sitemap
Creating both an HTML and XML sitemap is an essential part of website architecture that can improve search engine optimization and make it easier for users to navigate your site. An HTML sitemap is a page that lists all the pages on your website in a hierarchical format, usually organized by category or section. This provides users with an easy-to-read overview of your website’s content and can help them find what they’re looking for quickly. An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website in a format that search engines can read.
By submitting an XML sitemap to search engines, you allow them to crawl and index your website more effectively, which can lead to higher search rankings and more traffic. Creating both an HTML and XML sitemap can also help you identify any issues with your website’s navigation or content organization, which can be useful for future website maintenance and optimization. By including these sitemaps in your website architecture, you can improve both the user experience and search engine visibility of your website.
In conclusion, website architecture is a crucial aspect of web development that determines the structure and organization of a website. A well-designed architecture enables users to easily navigate through the website and find the information they are looking for, while also allowing search engines to crawl and index the site effectively.
On Digitals offer multiple web-related services that can help you build and optimize your website for the best results. Contact On Digitals and find out more about how we can help you improve your websites’ success.