Part 2: Improving Site Structure
Improve URL Structures
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the location of your page on the web. It is displayed on the address bar of the browser, in the search results and is used when someone links to your page within their website.
The image below is an example of a URL:
It is important to optimize your site’s URL to increase click-through rates. As what you have seen on the image above, it can be hard to memorize. Users may believe that some portion of the URL is unnecessary and might cut it, breaking the link. So keep it short. Shorter URLs lead to more clicks if it is clear to the user where he/she might end up.
Just like the title and snippet, URL links can also be seen as part of a search result in Google, below the title of the webpage and snippet. Take a look at the image below.
1. Use relevant words It is important that users will find the relevance of the topic and the website’s URL. This will make your URL easy to remember.
2. Keep a simple directory A complicated URL will make it harder for you to maintain. Keep your web page file name short, 3-5 words will do. If you decide to sort your web pages into folders, try to keep the URL structure no more than 3 folders deep and don’t forget to create an index for the folder.
3. Provide one version of URL to reach a document If you have two or three URLs that have similar content, consider normalizing it using either 301 redirect or rel=”canonical”. Duplicate content can cause a split of ranking signals that can harm your search traffic potential
Make your Site Easier to Navigate
Strong site navigation makes it easier for users to quickly find the information that they are looking for. Also, it helps search engines to index important information efficiently. If your website has poor navigation, it will confuse users and they will leave your site. Plan out your navigation based on your homepage since this is the most frequently visited page in a site. You should think of how the users will go from the home page to other pages containing more specific content.
The breadcrumb navigation gives users an alternative method. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. It can be seen across the top portion of a Web page.
Some users don’t like using longer URLs, so allow the possibility of being able to shorten it. For example, aside from using breadcrumb links, the user might cut off a part of the URL in the hopes of finding a more general content. Your website should be prepared for this.
Sitemaps can be useful as well. Not just one but two sitemaps! One for users and one for search engines. These are simple pages on a website that show the structure of the website or it could show the lists of pages on a site typically organized in a hierarchical manner.
1. Keep a consistent navigation This promotes ease of use and increases your visitors’ ability to find relevant information fast. If navigation is changing from page to page, there is a possibility that users will lose interest and just leave your site.
2. Divide categories clearly Define categories or sub-categories clearly. Category headings must be separated visually from the sub-categories.
3. Have a useful 404 page It is unavoidable that users might encounter broken links or typing in the wrong URL. Provide a custom 404 page that directs users back to a working page on your website.
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