Site structure is a vital aspect of your SEO strategy. The structure of your website shows Google which pages of your site are most important.
Why is site structure important for Google – and users?
There are three reasons why site structure is important for Google and, therefore, for your chance of ranking in the search engines.
Structure is a guide for Google
The way your site is structured will give Google clues about where to find the most essential content. Your site’s structure determines whether a search engine can understand what your site is about and what you’re selling.
Google crawls websites by following links, internal and external, using a bot called Googlebot. And by following those links, Google determines the relationship between the various pages. The structure of your site is a guide to Google and therefore very crucial.
Not competing with your content
The second reason why site structure is essential for Google is because, without a decent structure, you’ll be competing with yourself for a high ranking in the search engines. You probably have blog posts or articles on your site that are on the same topic. At Yoast, for example, we write a lot about SEO. We have multiple posts about site structure, each covering a different aspect. But Google won’t know which of these is most important unless we ‘tell’ Google.
Importance should order your content. Think about Alice’s cluttered desk. Alice could clean up by making piles of her sheets of papers. She could order her stories by topic: stories about bumble bees, stories about flowers, stories about fairies. But, if Alice were to make piles of paper, without ordering them, without putting the most beautiful stories on the top of the pile, no one would ever know which story is the most important to her.
If you don’t tell Google which posts are most important, all of your posts will be competing for attention. You’d be competing with your pages for a high ranking in Google. The solution is rather simple: you let Google know which page you consider most important. You tell Google which story you want on top of your pile. To do this, you need a good internal linking structure.
Site structure is important for UX
So a decent site structure will help your site to rank high in Google. But don’t forget, site structure is important for the User Experience (UX) too. The structure of your website should be reflected in the navigation of your website. If this structure is clear, your audience will easily find their way on your site. A good UX will increase your chances for people to convert: buy your products; subscribe to your newsletter or return for another visit. And Google likes sites that perform well too!