Site structure is what remains after you remove the visual design colours, graphics, and pictures. A poor site structure doesn’t only send your visitors away, it also confuses the wits out of the spiders that crawl your website to index different pages. A sound structure, on the other hand, provides a pleasant user experience and makes it easy for the search engines to index and display your pages under the relevant keywords. Site structure also becomes an important aspect of the website when you do SEO website Audit.

Here are 5 of the most common site structure issues, how they impact your search ranking, and simple ways to avoid and fix them.

1. Duplicate Content and Canonical Pages

If you built your website without adequate planning, the crawlers may get confused to find similar content across many of your pages. As a result, the search engine doesn’t know which particular page to display for a particular search query. This will obviously affect your SEO ranking. The situation gets even worse if the same page appears under different URLs.

How to Fix It: Find out duplicate content with Screaming Frog or by clicking on HTML Improvements under Search Appearance in your Google Analytics. Use 301 redirects and canonical tags to get rid of multiple versions of the same page. Use robot.text file to block the crawlers from indexing unimportant or duplicate pages.

2. SEO Friendly URLs

Unless you’ve enabled SEO-friendly URLs, your URLs will have an unreadable syntax as their last part. Having your keywords in your URL has a positive effect on your search ranking as well as the user experience.

How to Fix It: In WordPress, the URLs can be made SEO friendly by selecting the mod_rewrite in the permalink structure. You can also edit the slug and include the most important keyword in the URL structure.

3. Crawlability Issues

JavaScript and Flash elements can make some pages impossible to crawl and hide important links, affecting SEO performance. The spiders crawl only a limited number of pages on your site each day. A Larger website may have a problem when their most important pages are crawled less often. Improving the crawl efficiency improves your SEO ranking.

How to Fix It: Plan an internal link structure that guides the spiders to crawl your most important pages. Use a robots.txt file to restrict the spiders’ access to the pages that you don’t want the search engine to index. Use XML and HTML

4. Page Loading Time

According to Kissmetrics, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Although Google says site speed impacts only 1% of search queries, a slow loading site is disastrous for the user experience. It increases the bounce-back rate and deteriorates your SEO performance.

How to Fix It: Avoid the use of heavy images and graphics, Flash, or other elements that may affect page-loading time. Simplify your design, use CSS, clean up your HTML, enable browser caching, and purchase a good hosting to reduce the server response time to less than 200 milliseconds (Source).

5. Link Structure

Many E-commerce site owners make the mistake of burying their most profitable pages too deep in the link hierarchy. As a result, those pages are crawled less often and are not indexed. Google prefers a flatter site structure to a deeper one. However, a deep structure often becomes inevitable for larger sites, which must have multiple levels of categories to list a large number of products.

How to Fix It: Your homepage should have links to your most important pages. All the key pages on your site should be interlinked so that the crawlers (And humans) can easily move from one page to the next.

Vacations-Abroad, a vacation rental company links all rental locations to its homepage.

Conclusion

Designing a structure that your users and search spiders love starts with your keyword research. Your most important keywords will constitute your most important pages. And your structure will make sure that your users and search engine crawlers can easily find those pages. Any web designer can create a stunning website, but only an experienced developer, SEO specialist, and UX expert can help you design a structure that bases your SEO on solid grounds.

Need help planning or designing your site structure? Contact us for a no-obligation meeting or call.