Every website has a structure, but not all are created equally. Some are rigorous and carefully thought out from start to finish, while others are a mess of random pages that lack actual composition. Believe it or not, the structure of our website doesn't just direct our visitors to the right content. The right structure can impact traffic, sales, branding, reliability, etc.
If we work strategically and carefully to build our site (or makeover our site if it already exists), we can increase overall visibility. However, I understand that the structure of our website may not be what we thought about improving SEO. But if we understand this correctly, it can be a real game-changer.
Let's take a quick look at some of why site structure is so important from a technical SEO perspective and some of the reasons why implementing best practices early is a good idea.
Website Structure for User Experience
First of all, we want our website to be easy to use and enjoyable for our audience. Otherwise, they will leave our website as fast as they land on it! But what did we get by removing colors, photos, headlines, and funky fonts? It should be good as we are left with the site's basic structure. As humans, our brains like logic. There's a lot of psychology behind web design, and one of the most important things that has become clear is that people like to create categories in their minds. But if we’re already doing this for them, they don't have to.
Dividing our web pages using categories and guiding our user journey will make our visitors cognitively happy. That way, they will be happier, stay longer, and are more likely to return to our website in the future. As we can see, the structure is essential for improving the user experience.
Website Structure for achieving Site Links
Site links are hyperlinks to various websites that appear below Google's entries. We’ve probably seen them millions of times, even if we didn't notice them. These help users navigate our website, increase our brand's reputation, increase our CTR, and improve our SEO.
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For example, if site links
However, these do not look simple and cannot be filled in by the website operator himself. These site links are assigned by Google's algorithms based on keywords and page structure. Without a good structure, our website may never get the benefits of these site links and the great SEO they bring.
We can set out the initial structure of our website by using our navigation and by splitting our content into pages and categories – but this isn’t all we need to do. By developing a comprehensive internal link structure, we can help users navigate our site, direct our visitors to other helpful content, and improve our SEO.
Website Structure for Better Crawling
Web crawlers help us index the content of our web pages to find relevant search terms. Web pages are not ranked very high in SERPs (if any) if the content is difficult for crawlers to find and access.
The good structure makes it easier for these crawlers to access and index content. Optimize our web pages with crawlers in mind to improve our ranking and SEO efforts, but when designing or optimizing our website, we should always prioritize real human users. In summary, a good page structure paves the way for SEO success.
The designer's role is to ensure accessibility and create a website with a great UX that is easy to use. A good website structure improves the usability of our website by making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. To create the structure of our website, we need to decide how to organize our web site's content (home page, category, single page, blog post).
The Basic Terminology for website page structure is listed below:
The top of the website doesn't change when we move to another page. Headers typically display a navigation bar that can include elements such as logos / names, social media icons, phone numbers, and search bars.
The Sticky Header: The Sticky Header (also known as the Fixed Header) is a fixed website navigation bar that doesn't disappear when the user/viewer scrolls down the page. This is useful so that we can access it from anywhere on our site without navigating back to the top of the page.
Navigation elements that appear on our website. This primarily refers to the "menu bar" at the top or both sides of the website, but we can also include text links in the breadcrumb trail at the bottom of the page, at the top of the page content, or in the sidebar. The Utilities menu/navigation may include account logins, shopping cart links, and more for large websites.
Drop-down Menu: A drop-down menu is a navigation menu with submenus or categories below it. When we hover over or click on it, the submenu "collapses" is displayed to the user.
Hamburger Menu: The Toggle navigation menu is primarily used for mobile versions of website navigation because it compresses the navigation and opens / toggles when clicked.
This is the central part of a website where users can see all the required information.
A repeating page section of some or all web pages within a website. The sidebar displays information that we need to access from all or specific pages of our website, such as The business Subscription form for mailing lists, special navigation, or listings of recent blog entries. With the advent of responsive design, the width of the mobile screen can no longer accommodate two columns, so the sidebar is used less frequently as more people visit the website on mobile devices that move the sidebar content to the bottom of the page.
The footer is at the bottom of the website and doesn't change when we click another page. We can see some items here like Business Contact information, social media feeds, or subscription forms.
There are four main types of website structure. A correct understanding of the structure of a website makes it easy for designers to create meaningful website information architectures. We’ll go through them one by one.
Hierarchical models are one of the most common types of site architecture. Hierarchical models are commonly used in web applications that contain large amounts of data. The hierarchical model is similar to a tree in that it has trunks (such as the home page) that branch into categories and pages. Sites like CNN.com and BBC.co.uk are good examples of hierarchical models.
Sequential models are often used to explain a sequence that guides the user step by step, such as onboarding or creating a new account. UX designers can use this model to create process flows. The individual pages on wikiHow.com are powerful examples of pages designed with the order.
The matrix model is one of the oldest page structure types on the Internet. This model has a unique and unconventional behavior. The matrix-like structure allows the user to choose where to go next. These types of sites are best navigated using searches or internal links. Wikipedia is an excellent example of a matrix model.
A database model is a dynamic approach to website structure. To create such a website structure, designers should consider page metadata, adhere to strong information architectures and classification best practices, and consider a bottom-up approach. Medium.com and its posts and pages are excellent examples of database models.
The architecture type of a database website is a dynamic model. Integrate database and search functionality. However, there is a lot of caution when building a website using this model. Therefore, we need to think from scratch based on architectural principles and tag our content metadata. The database model builds a website for visitors to create their own experiences when done correctly. It's based on what they're looking for.
If our web page contains too many DOM nodes or HTML tags or those nodes or tags are nested too deeply, the DOM size will be large. This can cause problems with website performance due to Jerky scrolling and slow page load times. On the other hand, Optimized DOM size provides a better user experience and leads to higher conversions. Website owners, especially e-commerce store owners, will almost certainly use the DOM size as a ranking metric, so they need to prepare their website for changes in the Google page experience.
Why is HTML DOM important?
The browser can handle larger DOM trees but is optimized for a maximum depth of 32 elements. Large DOM trees can affect page performance in several ways.
Network efficiency and read performance: If our server provides a large DOM tree, we may send many unwanted bytes. This can also slow down page load times as the browser may parse many nodes that aren't visible in "positions we can't see without scrolling."
Runtime performance: When users and scripts interact with the page, the browser must always recalculate the location and layout of the nodes. Large DOM trees combined with complex style rules can significantly slow down rendering.
Memory performance: Using common query selectors such as document.querySelectorAll ('li') can unknowingly store references to many nodes that can overwhelm our device.
Lighthouse triggered the issue for internal URLs with a maximum DOM depth of more than 32 elements. Notifications are triggered for URLs with elements in the DOM deeper than 32, as in the following example.
How do we resolve this issue?
Optimal DOM tree: Less than 1500 nodes in total. The maximum depth is 32 nodes. No parent node has more than 60 child nodes. In general, look for ways to create DOM nodes only when needed and destroy them when they are no longer needed.
If our server contains a large DOM tree, try loading the page and manually checking the nodes displayed. We can probably remove the invisible node from the loaded document and create the node only after the user gesture. For example - scroll or click the button.
The general structure of a business website has to be clean, simple, and logical. In website design and development, the structure is a fundamental process. By following the good practices above, we can be sure that we are thinking about all the key factors that make our website development applicable to our business goals and audience. A good site structure helps both users and Google to explore the site. It facilitates the execution of change and prevents conflict with its entity. Therefore, use the tips and hints in this manual to review and further develop our page structure.