Are you redesigning your current site or building one for your new business from scratch? Want to know the secret recipe to make it more visible on search engines?
Build SEO into the web design at the planning stages instead of just adding it later. This piece of advice comes from the experts at Search Engine Land.
But that’s not the only ingredient.
If you want people on the web to stay longer on your website, and if you want Google to give your pages better rankings, you must also prioritize user experience (UX). Because no matter how visually beautiful your site is, it can lose conversions and optimization opportunities if the UX sucks.
The Secret Ingredient Is Website Navigation Done Right
Indeed, site navigation is the key to making your web pages SEO-friendly and user-friendly.
Also known as internal link architecture, website navigation are the links within your site that connect your pages (Search Engine Journal). It is like the table of contents of a book—a guide to make it easier for someone to find the information they need. Furthermore, it can be used to raise awareness of your helpful content and additional services.
Navigation is also what search engines use to crawl in order to discover and index new pages, as well as to understand the context, content, and relationship between pages.
What Is the Importance of Website Navigation?
When done right, the architecture of your website can give your users a good experience and make it easier for Google to crawl your site. As a result, you can end up with more conversions and improved search visibility. In fact, research done by the Nielson Norman Group indicates that design projects which were redesigned for usability received a return on investment of up to 83%.
In other words, if your website has SEO-friendly and user-friendly navigation, you can expect more people to use your site, stay on it longer, promote it, and even become customers.
In addition, the right navigation works well with the site structure. This further boosts the importance and ties in the functions of URLs, XML sitemaps, and other components.
How should you design your internal link architecture? Here are some tips to try.
What Are the Best Practices in Website Navigation?
- Think of users first. Think of how you can satisfy them and how you can make getting around your site easy. Once you’ve determined this, plan how you can incorporate SEO without hurting the UX.
- Practice Content Hierarchies. This is especially necessary for large websites that have a large number of pages (think online shops, accommodation listings, and so on).
You have to make sure you simplify the search process for web users by using content hierarchies. This means you have to break down your huge amount of content into broad categories, then further organize them into even more specific classifications. This way, your webpages are more organized for user and search engines.
To get a better visual, think of how a grocery store is arranged by aisle, and each one has a sign indicating a general section, such as ‘Dairy’. From there, you will see that the row has further been divided into smaller categories, like ‘cheese’, ‘yogurt’, ‘butter’, ‘milk’, and so on. And these sub-categories are arranged even more specifically according to brand, flavor, size, etc.
When dealing with huge websites (thousand and millions of pages), it’s best to create a team and delegate sections to each group to make the task more manageable and efficient.
- Make sure your logo is linked to your homepage. Most of your visitors are used to this click-saving functionality.
- Your menu should ideally be in the header section and the sections should be organized according to importance. One trick is to place the most vital items at the beginning and end of the list since people tend to remember the first and last thing listed more easily.
- Connect your blog pages to your product pages, and vice-versa. If you have blog posts containing high-quality and relevant content for your target audience, these can be helpful in converting visitors into customers. Add links naturally to your store or service pages to maximize your opportunity to influence someone’s product buying decision.
If you don’t have an in-house team, then make sure to work with a website design and development professional or company who knows how to create sites that incorporate SEO and UX. They should also be able to customize the site according to your vision, brand, and business needs and goals. For more optimization and digital marketing tips, go here.