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Structure Matters: How to Optimise Your Site’s Structure for Search Engines

The layout and structure of your website is a key factor in how Google, and other search engines, rank your site. Search engine rankings are determined after a search engine’s “spider” crawls your site, looking for keywords, links, activity and other elements. The easier your site is for a search engine to understand, the more likely it will be to earn high rankings.

There are lots of ways you can optimise your site’s structure for search engines, but here are a few pointers to get you started. Some of these tips can be accomplished easily with just a few tweaks while others are more in depth and may require a web programmer’s help.

Use a Language Search Engines Can Read

First, keep in mind that search engines can’t read Adobe Flash, images or JavaScript. Make sure your site is written in a language like CSS or XHTML. Initially, this may seem more difficult, but with a good web programmer’s help, you’ll have your site up and running in no time. And, most importantly, your site will be readable by search engines.

Use Proper Meta Descriptions and Title and Header Tags

Meta descriptions and title and header tags, parts of your site’s code, are used heavily by some search engines. Make sure your code includes keywords and that your descriptions tell readers what your site is all about, since meta descriptions often appear in search results. If you use a content management system like WordPress, you can install a plugin to help you easily enter this information.

Manage URL Structures

Including your keywords in your pages’ URLs can have enormous SEO benefits. Domain names and URLs that include keywords have high ranking power and also help search engines understand what your site is about, making it more likely that you’ll rank for relevant keywords.

Organize Your Navigation and Manage Site Depth

Create a navigation menu that is easy for your readers to understand, but that also makes sense for your keywords. One way you can do this is by grouping pages with the same keywords under the same menu title. It’s also a good idea to make sure your website isn’t too “deep,” meaning it takes several clicks to get to the last pages in your hierarchy. Keeping all your pages just a few clicks away from your homepage will also likely increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site, since they can quickly find what they need and won’t get frustrated and leave your site altogether.

Use Keywords in Section Titles

As you create your navigation use your target keywords where it makes sense. Using terms people are searching for will help your site rank for those keywords but will also help users recognize that they have found what they are looking for. If a reader can match the phrase they were searching for with a tab on your site, they are much more likely to stay on your site and see your business as a solution.

Link Between Pages

You know that link building is a big part of any solid SEO strategy. Carry that idea over to the optimisation of your site’s structure by linking between pages within your site. You can do this on regular site pages and blog posts. Not only do internal links make it easier for readers to find their way around your site, but they also offer a great opportunity to use your keywords and anchor text to link to your own pages. Internal linking can also decrease the depth of your site, another SEO benefit.

Optimising your site’s structure is one of the best things you can do for your rankings. If search engines can identify keywords and a logical structure within your site, you will likely earn higher rankings, making your site even easier for your target market to find.

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