Good website architecture is exactly what sets industry veterans apart from all the new kids on the block (my favorite 90s band ????). It requires a significant amount of planning, content, and expertise to make it all work together. Here’s how to elevate your website for better search engine rankings and customer experience.
Why You Need Good Website Architecture
Search Engine Crawling
The search engine’s responsibility is to provide the best possible results based on the query. To do this, they crawl websites analyzing the content, structure, keywords, page load time, etc., to catalog what’s available. A better format makes it easier for the bots to find what they need, and they’re more likely to promote a well-designed website.
Keeps Viewers on Your Site Longer
An easy-to-navigate site full of top-quality content is more attractive to visitors than something that is messy and misaligned. A good website structure keeps viewers reading and clicking for longer. It’s important to keep in mind that increased hours of attention are key.
Increases Topical Authority
By creating a premium quality site with high-value content, you’re better positioned as the authority in your niche. You become the go-to source for relevant industry information rather than just another competitor in your space.
This is where the money is. A disorganized and shady website isn’t going to inspire the trust and confidence consumers and prospects need to make a buying decision. A well-structured website shows an investment in time, money, and attention to detail that your market will value.
What Goes into Creating Website Architecture
Despite what Wix would have you believe, creating a high-performing, top-quality website is no small task. There’s a reason this is a specialized skillset that takes plenty of hours of time and effort.
Structure and Mapping
Before you start designing anything, you must start with the site structure. What pages do you need? What will they link to? How will the pages be organized? This must all be planned out before anything else.
Once traffic lands on your website, they need to find what they went looking for. Your messaging should confirm they’re in the right place and that you have the resources they need. It should match your brand tone and style and speak directly to your target audience.
Creating a visually appealing website is often the first thing people think about when creating a website from scratch. In reality, it’s the last element of the whole process. Web design is built on the framework of good web development. Web development starts with detail-oriented website architecture.
SEO Optimization and Website Architecture
There are three general elements of SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. A well-structured website is the foundation of technical SEO. This is what the AI bots and search engines are crawling as they search for query-matching content.
Other technical SEO elements include page load speed, site navigation menus, and URL structure. On the framework that technical SEO provides, the on-page and off-page elements of SEO are built. This includes keywords, video content, backlinks, and optimized traffic sources like social media and PR.
How To Build Out Good Website Architecture
Before you begin planning the structure, nail down the purpose of your website. Is it primarily for education? Sales? Conversions? Starting from this framework will be helpful in planning the structure and framework of your website.
Plan From the Top Down
Navigating your website should be easy, and that starts with the customer journey. Where should they go first? Where do you want them to end up? Think through their experience, click by click, and create a logical site flow that matches.
It’s very helpful to visualize a framework. You can create a sitemap for free in Canva or Figma from templates that already exist. This will help you understand and plan for what pages you need, what content you need, and how they will all work together.
There is a contradictory school of thought that you can build out a website from the bottom up, creating the pages you need as you go. While this is possible, it’s not recommended. Using common sense, a strong understanding of your niche, and web design industry expertise, you can create a site that adapts to your needs long-term.
Connect Everything Together with Telescoping Topics
Let’s use an example of a Home Builder looking for a new website.
What are your clientele’s first questions when they come to your website? Where do they go first? Create web pages that connect topically within your content buckets, or think of them as extensions of a telescope, with one page leading to another.
Prospects looking for information on remodeling their home need clear directions for where to go from the homepage of your site. A page specifically curated for remodeling services is the next logical step.
From here, this page would be connected to several more extensions of the telescope that stem from the main remodeling page.
- Whole House Remodel
- Kitchen Remodel
- Bathroom Remodel
- Basement Remodel
- Home Remodels Before and After
This structure provides a logical flow of thought that is easy to navigate, helping the prospect get increasingly closer to targeted information with every click.
Scale With Recurring Content
A website is never truly “finished.” Regular updates and optimizations must be done to enhance and supplement your primary website content. In most cases, this is a blog or newsletter, but it could also include a video or podcast library.
New content tells the search engine algorithms that you’re creating fresh content, updating your website, and continuing to develop resources. It’s important to leverage keyword research and speak to your target audience with every piece of content.
Use Analytics to Drive Website Changes
Once your site is built, or if you have one up already, what does the data tell you about user behavior? How long do they stay on each page? What’s the most popular page? What is their navigation journey? Use heat maps and Google Analytics to learn more about the performance of your website.
SEO Best Practices and Website Architecture
Search engine optimization refers to the art and science of adapting your website to speak the language of the algorithm. The stronger and more clearly you communicate with the algorithm, the more likely you are to be promoted in search results. Here are a few SEO best practices to leverage with your website.
Common Sense Interlinking
Pages that make references to related content should all have a direct connection. Back to the home builder example, a page that talks about remodeling a kitchen should link to a page that talks about adding a kitchen to the basement, and vice versa.
This navigation style clearly shows how the viewer got to the page they’re currently on or where that page lies in the overall structure. This is a small menu near the top of the page that makes it easy to go backward and would look something like this in our example above:
Home > Remodeling > Kitchen Remodel > Adding A Kitchen To The Basement
SEO Page Titles and URL Names
The name of your webpage isn’t only the title. It also serves as the inspiration for the URL. The search engine bots will look at both. It’s important for crawling and indexing purposes that the URL matches the page and is influenced by SEO keywords.
Plan and Create Good Website Architecture
How does your current website stack up? What will you change first? Contact the Full Circle SEM team today for expert guidance or done-for-you services!