A website's navigation is a crucial element of every site. If it’s properly optimized, it affects both user satisfaction and the position of the page in the search results. In today’s article you’ll learn a few tips that are worth following. Let’s get it started!
In other words, a website’s navigation is a kind of internal link structure. It means that the links between individual subpages of the website are intuitive and simple to use, both for users and for Google robots that "scan" the page.
The internal link structure consists of the following elements:
website architecture, meaning a transparent menu, division into categories and subcategories,
the appropriate content hierarchy,
linking from blog posts to products,
and many other elements that will be discussed later in the entry.
Why does website’s navigation matter and how does it affect SEO?
A well-designedwebsite’s navigation enables users to quickly and easily find on the site everything they need. That's why it's among the most important elements of technical SEO services.
Apart from making the Internet users’ lives easier, a site’s navigation allows Google robots to crawl the page much more efficiently. As you can see, a proper internal link structure affects users’ satisfaction level, improves your visibility and conversion rate. Consequently, a correct website’s navigation has an impact not only on UX but also on SEO activities.
Keep it in mind and check your site’s navigation. Is it clear and transparent for users who visit your site? Below you can find the most important elements that are characteristic of a well optimized website’s navigation.
How to make your website’s navigation better?
User-friendly page - UX
Think about potential users who will be visiting your site when you design its navigation.
Would you know what to do and where to search for particular information if you were just a user entering your website for the first time? The simpler and less complex menu, the better. Website’s navigation should be clear and transparent so design it intuitively. You can also ask your friends to try to find given products on your offer.
An objective person will certainly see the site from a different perspective and notice elements that are inconspicuous for you as an owner. This will give you specific tips on how to improve your website’s navigation to make it more intuitive for users. Implementing these guidelines will positively affect your UX and the site will be more user-friendly.
The take-home message is simple - creating a website that is convenient for users and your potential customers pays off. Only then you should take steps to adapt it to Google robots.
Proper website architecture
Proper website architecture is strongly interlinked with proper website’s navigation. When analyzing the site, Google robots take into account how individual subpages of a given site are interlinked.
The website menu, meaning a horizontal or a vertical bar with a list of the most important subpages, is the most crucial site’s element. Usually, the menu consists of elements such as home page, offer, price list, “about us” tab or blog.
Below you can see an exemplary simple website menu:
The individual categories should be divided into subcategories which should contain specific products. Let’s have the Delante website as an example - the category "Services" is subdivided into "SEO", "SEO Audit", "SEO Consultation", "SEO Copywriting", "PPC".
Furthermore, the “SEO” subcategory comprises specific services like e-commerce, long tail and international SEO or link building. This way, clients are navigated through the site and can easily reach information that is of interest to them.
As another example, we can use a clothing store from the e-commerce sector. The main categories there will include "Women's clothing", "Men's clothing", "Children's clothing". However, “Women’s clothing” will be further subdivided into "Dresses" and then into "Maxi dresses" or "Mini dresses" and only then users would see specific products.
Brand related keywords such as clothing store, or online clothing store should be linked to the homepage. Cognately, women’s clothing should be assigned to the “women’s clothing” subcategory. The “dresses” subcategory should be described by keywords related to women’s dresses. However, more detailed long-tail keywords need to match individual products.
You can use the three-click rule when you design your website. It simply assumes that users should be able to access the necessary information on the site with maximally three clicks. Of course, as always there are exceptions to this rule and you shouldn’t try to follow it blindly. Although it can be helpful, you shouldn’t perceive your website only through the prism of the number of clicks. Instead, focus on designing an intuitive and transparent site’s navigation and menu.
Breadcrumbs are another element directly related to your website’s navigation. Breadcrumb navigation allows users to keep track of their current location on the site, moreover, it makes it easier for them to comprehend the website’s layout. Thanks to it, the page becomes more user-friendly and people can navigate it more efficiently.
Besides, breadcrumbs are one of the Google ranking factors.
The relevance of content hierarchy
Categorizing products and linking to other categories or subcategories improves your visibility in Google. Therefore, it’s worth making sure that you increase the visibility of both the homepage and other subpages.
So for example, if you do SEO for the “dresses” subcategory, it’ll affect not only the visibility of this specific subpage but also the visibility of the entire "women's clothing" category.
Linking products on the blog
Running a blog is a perfect method to increase the amount of content on the site. But how does it affect website’s navigation? You can use blog posts to link to specific products or categories. Thanks to it, the website value will also be passed on other subpages.
Similar activities can be performed on product subpages - you can place there a link to a blog post related to a given product. Use phrases like "Check out which accessories match summer dresses best" and provide links to your blog entries.
URL tracking parameters
Monitoring user behavior on your site may involve using URL tracking parameters. This leads to duplicate content due to the occurrence of various URLs with exactly the same content. However, the issue can be solved in numerous ways.
It’s also a good idea to use canonical reference links that allow to avoid many problems caused by duplicate content.
Responsive web design
Responsive web design is the last, however, equally important aspect that you need to focus on. An increasing number of people use mobile devices to browse the net, therefore, you need to ensure that all the discussed elements work well on both desktop and mobile devices. The visibility and conversion rate of your website will improve only if you adjust the site’s navigation to these two types of devices.
To sum up - how to improve website’s navigation?
As you can see, tweaking your website’s navigation isn’t as complicated as it seemed at the very beginning of this article. Just follow a few basic principles that will allow you to create a correct internal link structure. Although the task can be rather time-consuming, especially in the case of large websites, the game is certainly worth the candle.
If you’re afraid that you won’t be able to improve your website’s navigation on your own, take advantage of the support and services offered by specialists!
Proper site’s navigation helps to decrease bounce rate, moreover, it also improves the visibility of the page and its conversion rate. But more importantly, a transparent menu makes it easier for users to navigate the website. Therefore, when designing a page, make sure that it’s as intuitive and customer-friendly as possible.
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