Yext: Why Your Site Architecture Matters to Your User Experience

A convenient navigation menu and well-thought-out user interface design are paramount when it comes to positive user experiences.

Visitors to your website expect to be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible, and any wasted time will add to the frustration – likely leading them to turn to a competitor’s site instead.

Site architecture is what we call the planning of your site structure and the layout of your website content and information.

How you group your data, the categories you use to organize content, and how many you use are considered aspects of site architecture.

So how do we use this concept to create a good site structure and great user experience? And what else can be optimized by focusing on site architecture? Let’s talk.

What is Website Architecture?

Simply put, site architecture is how your web pages are structured. As with building architecture, you want a strong sense of organization and easy-to-understand navigation.

Well done, your website structure puts your most relevant and engaging content in front of users first, while the more esoteric your content becomes, the further away it is from the homepage.

That’s not to say that everything you have available on your site is hard to find, but some things will always be more accessible than others. Especially if your site has a large number of important pages or products, optimizing your site architecture can be a big help to your users when they are looking for something specific.

Best Practices for SEO Optimized Site Architecture

Obviously, search engine optimization is key to getting your content in front of potential customers, which is why site architecture is so important.

Search engines use spider programs called caterpillarswho visit your website and explore its content. They try to follow the organization of your pages to find relevant content and identify the priority of each page.

But without a successful site architecture, they can get confused and backfire. If there is no trackable layout or organization in your content, spiders will not be able to determine the relevance of your information.

A website’s own web pages are bad context signals

While page content may include information that informs crawlers about the product or data being presented, the navigation and architecture of the entire site gives context to each page.

Imagine you were looking for a particular pair of running shoes and went to a shoe store’s website. You know you want running shoes from a certain brand, but they don’t offer any navigation to find specific “running” shoes, let alone the brand you want.

So just click on all the shoes they have until you find what you want.

This is the same problem that crawlers encounter. Without these additional layers of context, they struggle to assess the page’s relevance to a user’s search query. It can also affect your bounce rate and your pagerank.

The interconnected pages of a website are crucial

Internal links to pages on your website can be very useful both for your users and for your SEO.

By providing regular and relevant anchor text and internal links, you increase the relevance of the category page, which is a measure of how many other pages link to it at once.

The crawlers will use the relevance of the page to determine the rating it gives your content when observing the index.

You also have the ability to link your users to content that might be similar or otherwise useful. If they’re still looking for running shoes, for example, you can keep them on your site by offering them an article on proper running form or an in-house review of the best running shoes available at the time.

A website must have a homepage and a sitemap

A landing page should include general information about your business, such as your core values, current sales, or featured products, as well as a call to action to engage your users as soon as they arrive on the site. of your company. Remember, though, that your homepage isn’t always the page your visitors will first land on.

Sitemaps are perhaps a little less well known but important for both your human visitors and your virtual crawlers. There are two versions of a sitemap: XML sitemaps and HTML sitemaps.

The XML format is more crucial for crawlers as they use it to effectively discover your content and ensure that they collect everything your site has to offer.

HTML sitemaps are for your non-digital users. It doesn’t have to be overly aesthetic, but it serves as a map of all the categories and sub-subcategories on your site.

Imagine the floor and plan of the store in a shopping mall; you don’t use it every time you go, but it certainly comes in handy when you need it.

Website navigation should guide visitors and Googlebots

A few navigation systems are essential for improving positive user experiences on your website.

The first is to have some form of categories available, either in your header or in a drop-down menu. If the user wants to click and browse your products or is not quite sure what name they are looking for, this option can be extremely useful for them.

Menu links for each category are like the identification signs hanging above every aisle in a store – if the user knows they want headphones but isn’t sure what brand or style they can use the drop-down menu to browse your site.

An optimized site architecture would allow you to organize these categories and subcategories into effective paths that make sense to help guide the customer towards their goal.

Another navigation tool increasingly expected by users is a Advanced search engine. A user’s time is extremely valuable, and if they already know exactly what they’re looking for, you want to provide them with the tools to access it directly.

While the browse option may seem more beneficial to you as a business, as it forces the user to view more content on their way to what they want, a user’s wasted time will impact negative about his experience.

If a customer is having trouble finding something specific, it won’t take them long to start their search again on a competitor’s website. You will want to make sure that a Googlebot and other search engine crawlers can crawl your site easily. You can do this by doing your keyword research and using those keywords on the relevant pages of the website. You’ll also want to analyze your internal site’s search information to improve the usability of your internal search for your visitors and ensure that your site helps you achieve your business goals.

Redesigning the architecture of your website

So how do we optimize your website architecture? There are a few key areas to focus on to move your user experience and Google SEO results, as well as your internal site search results, in a positive direction.

Deep vs. Flat architecture

Site architecture can generally be described in two ways: it is either deep or flat. What works best for users and SEO is a flat design, so that’s what you want to aim for when restructuring your site.

Flat architecture refers to the number of categories and subcategories you have. The more you divide your content into categories, the flatter your web page looks.

Indeed, if it is organized in this way, it will take fewer clicks to access specific content.

Imagine a page with fewer categories that would fall into the deep architecture style. A user would have to click through multiple pages of content rather than a menu of categories to get where they want to be.

The flat architecture works better because the user can preload the number of categories they are looking for to find their goal sooner.

Navigation

We mentioned the benefit of having multiple navigation systems. If your website does not currently use either of these, adding these to your layout will certainly improve the user experience and SEO results of your content.

Drop-down menus and internal search engines, including advanced options with natural language processing, will make a huge difference to your user experience.

Internal links

Internal links are quite easy to implement and boost the relevance of your page which is great for SEO. Not to mention that it redirects your users to other content you have on your page.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbsare a great way to provide back navigation to your customers. In the event the user ends up in a subcategory that doesn’t have what they were looking for, they can use breadcrumb links to easily jump back to a larger category and continue their search.

Conclusion

Optimizing site architecture is a great way to improve your users’ experience on your business page. By implementing logical navigation tools like menu links and site search functionality, you can help make their navigation more interesting and relevant, or if they have something specific in mind, they can find even faster.

Users online rarely (if ever) look beyond the first pageresults on their favorite search engine, so making sure you have content that is well organized and easy to explore.

Sources:

Comments are closed.