It goes without much argument that your website navigation and structure is vital to having a positive viewer experience. And not surprisingly, a good and unambiguous website navigation helps with SEO.
Your website navigation is one of the most overlooked aspects of a site’s SEO performance. If your viewers cannot find what they’re looking for, they will look elsewhere – probably a competitor of yours. Every business and organization has competitors – including not-for-profits.
The cartoon on the right is from the website “How to Geek” (http://www.hottogeek.com) and should be a cautionary tale for you if you’re considering a new website.
If you take away all the fancies – colors, fonts, kerning, graphics, images & whitespace good website design is really about a great and appropriate structure.
The human mind is all about cognitive equilibrium — that is being able to put pieces logically together, finding things where they’re expected, and locating what they are seeking. So, a strong, logical site structure is cognitively satisfying to users.
Does it surprise you that the more appealing and attractive a website is to visitors, the more appealing it is to search engines? The lower the dwell times and higher the bounce rate, the lower your website will rank.
Good Site Navigation means better crawling
Web spiders such as Googlebot crawl a website’s structure. The spider’s reason for being is to determine a site’s content. The better the underlying structure, the easier it is to return search results. Google even admits “[there are] pages on your site we might not…discover,” and “URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.” While a good sitemap helps, spiders are not very smart – giving them every assistance means better search results.
Successful website navigation starts with a plan
If you were to build a new home, it is unlikely that you’d just start digging the foundations. You’d want your home to have a warm and welcoming feeling – or maybe be imposing and awe inspiring. In any case, it’s better to start with a plan. Website navigation and structure aids in:
- Indexing – helping spiders find all the juicy bits
- Linking – giving relevant results to search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Usability – helping users find what they want quickly (with as few clicks as possible)
Website Navigation – Flat vs Deep
One of the common mistakes that many site owners make is to bury important pages several clicks away from the home page. Google’s less likely to index these buried pages, and users are less likely to find them. If a particular page is popular, you’ll be better results by placing in a more visible location.
If you’d like to discuss how your website navigation might be improved, contact us!