Big Gun Digital’s 6 Month Guide to SEO: Month 2 – URL Structure and Site Navigation
Big Gun Digital’s 6 month guide to SEO is aimed at providing the reader with a good understanding of SEO and the importance it has to increase a website’s visibility on the internet. Every month Big Gun Digital will release a fresh article containing information about certain aspects of SEO Marketing.
This month Big Gun Digital will explain the importance of URLs, site navigation, sitemaps and 404 pages.
It is important that your site has a simple and well structured URL for various reasons.
• A well structured URL with descriptive filenames and categories allows crawlers to crawl and document your site easier.
• A simple URL structure is important if a visitor wants to navigate through the website and decide to cut off various parts of the URL to be directed to a certain page, for example, www.biggundigital.co.uk/seo-tips/structuredurls.html might be cut down by the visitor to www.biggundigital.co.uk/seo-tips.html to go back a page but if the URL contained excessive cryptic code (biggundigital.co.uk/pp1221/set-tips223341.html) then the visitor will have difficulty and maybe leave off part of the code resulting in a broken link.
• A simple URL will allow other website owners to link to the site using anchor text easily as it will be easy to remember which can help with organic SEO, leading to higher rankings in results pages.
• As the search engine results show the URL under the title (explained in last month’s tips). People who are searching for a topic will see that the URL contains relevant words therefore prompt them to visit.
Figure 1. URL shown in the search results
The next BIG Gun Digital Tip this month is how to make your site easier to navigate for visitors.
Website navigation helps people find content on the site easily and also helps Google (and other search engines) distinguish important content. It is a good idea to plan navigation form the homepage (root page) as it is normally the most frequently visited page and the starting point for visitors. Things to consider when creating a good navigation structure are:
• How to categorise the products on your site
• How visitors will find other pages from the homepage
• Are the topics of your site detailed enough to have subcategories of their own
• Does each ‘product’ need another page describing it’s features in further detail (homepage -> product listing -> specific product -> product spec)
It may be a good idea, if the website is complex, to create a Breadcrumb. This is a formation of internal links placed on each page that the visitor can use to navigate back to the previous page/pages. Breadcrumbs usually consist of the root page (home page) being at the top left and the more specific pages mapped out to the right as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2. Example of a website navigation structure
Importance of Sitemaps
A sitemap is a simple page on a website that consists of an orderly hierarchical list of pages on the site. Visitors may use the sitemap if they are having trouble navigating to the pages they want. This is mainly for human use although crawlers may visit the page to gather information of the site. However crawlers usually use the XML Sitemaps which have to be submitted separately. Sitemaps are important for boosting page rankings and there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration when creating / submitting sitemaps so if you are new to the world of web development we strongly advise it is left to the experts!
The last topic for this month is 404 pages
404 pages appear when a user clicks on a broken link of a website or doesn’t type the URL properly. It is strongly advised that the 404 page is customised to help the person back to the website by providing links on the page to the site.
Well that’s it for this month folks, be sure to check back for next month’s tips when we will be talking about optimising content!
If you would like help with implementing any of the above tips on your own company website, then do not hesitate to contact us.