There are a lot of different aspects of search engine optimization and Internet marketing which are difficult. However, one which often strikes marketers as exceedingly challenging is refining site navigation and structure. While this is the case, many of us SEO experts relish the opportunity, viewing the task as a rubix’s cube like assignment with a drastically visible impact on a websites bottom-line, in a variety of different ways.
Example of Optimized Website Navigation
Here is an example of a navigation in its most basic form. Hub level 1 filters into hub level 2. Hub level 2 filters into hub level 3. Each of the lower levels support the higher levels from a linking perspective. The lines are indicative of potential cross linking relationships, the implementation of which would be assessed on a site by site basis.
SEO Benefits of Optimized Site Navigation
By creating clear paths to access internal pages of a website we are benefiting the site in the following ways:
- Making the site easier for users to navigate
- Making the site easier for search engines to navigate
- Bringing exposure to deeper pages within the site
- Helping rankings
This task is absolutely vital, especially in the case of large websites. Perhaps Steve Krug put it best in his book Don’t Make me Think, an excellent introductory book on website usability, when he pointed out that a user can be on your website and have no idea how large the site is. This is much different than in the physical world where, many times, you know how large a store is before you step in the door. With good navigational linking a user and a search engine will breeze through department after department of your website without a thought on the site’s size or complexities. The goal here is to the make the experience effortless. Almost as if you are gliding from page to page with clear signs at every turn pointing you in the direction of your goal. Or on a content based site, simply allowing you to loose track of time and enjoy the entertainment.
As search engine optimization and usability experts, we often find that a website’s navigation can be simplified. By doing this, and creating a hierarchy of content supporting specific sections, we are improving navigation. But we are also creating a relationship which supports the sites linking, an absolutely critical component of SEO.
Ultimately, refinement of your navigation benefits the amount of pages Google and other search engines can locate on your site, allows you to increase your rankings, enhances your sites usability and improves your bottom-line. When you are creating your navigation, or refining an old one, make sure to take your time. In addition, consider the main keywords you are targeting to determine traffic and hub value. Following that, think to yourself, what path makes the most sense to find this information. In addition, consider what common themes run through your site. This will allow you to accurately determine the correct paths and which links you would like to promote at the top of your navigation hierarchy.
Links pointing internally from the home page and globally on your website play a large role in your SEO success. Make sure your site makes sense from a usability and keyword traffic perspective and you will be a step ahead of many websites online.
Have a question or comment about search engine optimization and/or navigation? Add it below or contact SEO Inc.