Improve Website Navigation

This article will help you Improve Website Navigation. We will give you a step by step illustration to help you better understand the topic. The website structure is the first thing to be considered for a successful web development project. To construct a beautiful website structure for your website, you should be well aware of the psyche, age group, gender and location etc of your visitors. Google Analytics gives you complete statistics of your website visitors. Visitors, when arrive on your site, decide in seconds whether the stuff is for them or not. You should, therefore, be specific to what you aim for. What message do you want to convey should be conveyed within that time span otherwise the visitor will bounce off. The featured image in a post or the background image of the page conveys the theme of the whole story. You should aid visual stuff for conveying your message as it has a great effect than words.

Introduction

Website navigation and website structure are used interchangeably. It is the process of referring website traffic from one chunk of information to the other. But the information referred to must be useful for readers in order to be considered the best navigation. This is achieved via header navigation and internal linking of the contents. Internal link architecture will help your users easily navigate your website. It is also important from the search engine point of view as it will crawl the information easily.

Basic Website Navigation Structure

Does Website Navigation Affects Bounce Rate?

Yes, good website navigation will surely improve the bounce rate of the website. The bounce rate is the ratio of visitors visiting only one page to the total number of visitors. If a visitor reads only one page, we call it a bounced session. Lower bounce rate is a metric of good SEO Practices. Hence improving website navigation will help you achieve better ranking in search engines. Beside the bounce rate, it hugely affects conversions and sales, etc too. Better website navigation is, therefore, the requirement of each type of website.

How is Website Structure Related to User Experience?

User experience is the feeling of your visitor about your website. Now a site with good link structure will surely provide a good user experience. Google is giving more importance to user experience day by day. In fact, every SEO practice revolves around good user experience. Besides font, design and colors website navigation is very important for good user experience.

Think of a user referred to a “blank page” or “page not found”, what he will feel about this navigation? A good initial step to improve user navigation is to look at the website of your competitors or the people who have already ranked in your niche. You will get a solid idea from there.

How to achieve Improved website Navigation Structure?

You should keep the following steps in mind in order to improve the Website Navigation Structure. A step can be forth and back but all of them are equally important.

Limit Number of Categories or Sections

It is a very good idea to limit the number of categories or sections on your website. You should even think about your categories before starting the website. Categories are just like table of contents of a book. Many experts advise to limit this number to 7 or 8; however, the number up to 22 is allowed. Don’t use categories beyond that. The best practice is to keep the number of categories as minimum as possible.

Sub Categories Should be Equal in Number

This is recommended by many SEO experts that subcategories for each category should be equal in number. It means that if a category has three subcategories, all other categories should also have three subcategories. This solely depends on the requirement of a site and is not mandatory. You should not add extra subsections to a category in order to make them equal in number. This will be good if they can naturally be equal.

URL Should Also Reflect Structure

Suppose we have the following hierarchy for an organization.

Hierarchy of website structure in URL

This is also an important factor to show the structure in the URL. The URL Structure for SEO should be “Organization/Services/SEO” or for Canada should be like “Organization/location/Canada”. This is highly recommended to avoid numbers in URL Structure. Many people insert numbers like 2019, 10 or 20, etc which is a bad practice and is discouraged by all SEO experts. This should also be taken into account that the URL hierarchy should use the targeted keywords. This helps in optimizing content with respect to short-tail and long-tail keywords. For example, if we have a structure like “SEO/Technical SEO”, it means that we optimize it for short term keyword “SEO” and long term keyword “technical SEO”.

Breadcrumbs (Improved Website Navigation)

Look at the following example of breadcrumb.

Proper Use of Breadcrumb

The use of breadcrumbs is important for better user experience. The user better understands from breadcrumb where he is now. He can also navigate easily to other site locations if he wants. In the above example, the user can navigate to the “WordPress” section to see other articles. This must be ensured that breadcrumb is bold enough to be seen by users. Many sites use breadcrumb but they are so small in the font that they cannot be seen easily by users.

Use Accurate Navigation Titles

The navigation titles should be accurate so that the user can understand what they click on. This applies to both main header navigation as well as internal links navigation. Use appropriate text to describe the link to users. If you don’t provide the main theme of the page in navigation title, the user will click but he will not read. With time that navigation will be considered spam by search engines.

Put Your main Sections in Header Menu

This is also very important from both the crawler and user perspective. Your users can guess about your main categories at a glance. For example, I write about WordPress, SEO, and Facebook most often and they are my main categories. They are present in my header navigation. You can easily guess what you expect from this website in one glance. This is also important from a crawler point of view. The whole structure is easily defined to search engines.

Don’t add any element other than your main categories in the header menu. Many people put just one article in the header section which is not a good practice.

The header menu should also be persistent across the whole site. We don’t recommend to offer one header menu on certain posts and completely different on other posts.

Internal Linking should be formatted user-friendly

Internal linking provides juice to the hierarchy of sitestructure to make it healthy enough to compete for search engine ranking. It istherefore known as link juice among many SEO experts.

You should keep the linking structure clean, neat, and comprehensive for users. The more internal linking to a page, the more is its importance to crawlers. It instructs the crawler what pages are important and how to reach there.

Don’t go too Deep in the hierarchy

You should not go too deep in the hierarchy.  Crawlers go up to the 4th hierarchy level and ignore anything beyond that. You should, therefore, use a shallow depth navigation structure. They are better both from the user and search engine perspective. Users will feel bad if they go too deep in the hierarchy and cannot follow your structure easily.

Conclusion

You should formulate the website navigational structure carefully. Improved website navigation is an indicator of good user experience and hence good SEO factor. This improves the bounce rate and increases the time spent on your site by visitors. If your site lacks the Navigation structure, I will highly recommend restructuring it following these guidelines. This is called structural SEO and will surely improve your ranking in search engines.

There are many factors contributing to good SEO result but the site structure is one of the most important factors. It plays a vital role in giving good SEO results.