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November 10, 2017

Most Common Site Structure Mistakes

People often forget the importance of site structure when it comes to SEO, but the simple fact of the matter is that it is. The design of any website’s navigation is critical, having a bigger impact on search engine success than many other factors. Poor website structure makes it difficult for Google’s bots to crawl and index your site, and a confusing website navigation structure can also make user navigation harder. Remember, everything about your site, from the content to the individual page URLs is linked back to your website’s navigation!

While you may have fixed your XML sitemap since our previous blog, there are a number of site structure issues that you may still have to deal with. Here, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest site structure mistakes that websites have been making, to help you determine how you can improve your website to better your chances of ranking.

e-learning-1367416_960_720Generic Naming Or Confusing Naming Conventions

Your website navigation should be descriptive. Your navigation bar provides you with a huge opportunity to indicate your site’s relevance to particular search terms. Your audience isn’t going to specifically be searching for ‘products’, ‘what we do’ or ‘services’, so navigation labels shouldn’t consist of generic terms such as these.

However, finding the balance is equally as critical. Using jargon or acronyms isn’t going to be beneficial for visitors to your site who are not necessarily versed in your industry’s world. Long names and inconsistent labelling are also points that you should avoid – inconsistent naming can confuse visitors, and long, jargon filled navigation labelling will equally confuse the reader. Keep your naming conventions in your navigation free of jargon, but descriptive in a way that your visitors will understand. It could be frustrating to work out at first, but it’ll be worth it!

Listing Items In The Wrong Order

If you insist on drop down menus, or any other form of listed menu for that matter, you need to ensure that all of the links to your pages are in the right order. Put your most important services or products at the beginning of the list, your least important somewhere in the middle, and options like your ‘contact us’ page at the end. This is because psychological studies suggest that attention and retention are highest when it comes to items at the beginning and end of a list – whether that’s a sequence of numbers or a navigation bar.

Fun Fact: This is known as the ‘serial position effect’ based on the principles of primacy and recency.

Ensure the order of your navigation bar is right, and you’re almost certain to reap the traffic benefits.

buttons-1688111_960_720Using Buttons Instead Of Links

If you’ve been hiding under a rock or haven’t listened to any web design advice over the past 10 years, then this point is for you.

Using graphical navigation in the form of buttons used to be a popular trend, but this can actually wreak havoc for the success of your website. Buttons are not search engine friendly, as the text located within the image will be pretty much invisible to the crawler bots. In addition to this, you have to spend hours simply trying to update every button, every time you want to make a small change to your site – which simply isn’t practical when you have a business to run.

If you generate a large portion of your traffic from mobile, then you’ll find that button links instead of text links in your navigation actually leads to your website loading significantly slower – which will have the biggest impact on mobile users. According to research, nearly half of web users actually expect a website (on mobile and desktop) to load within 2 seconds, and will generally abandon the site they are trying to load if it doesn’t appear within 3 seconds. Using buttons instead of text links on your site is visually unappealing, and will result in a slow loading site – simply leading you to lose more visitors than what you are trying to gain.

Root Domain Canonicalisation

This usually becomes quite a large issue for people with their own websites, but it’s actually very easy to fix and thus will improve your SEO. Root domain canonicalisation occurs when there is more than one version of the root domain – the most common example being a root domain with the ‘www’ and one without. When you use an external link to connect to another site, online authority is passed down. If you have sites linking to numerous variations of a root domain, the authority is now being split.

You want to avoid this as much as possible, as a split authority will decrease your position on the search engine, whereas high authority will increase your SEO massively. To fix this issue, you need to permanently redirect one version of the root domain to the other, which is a simple fix for an issue that could prove to be detrimental to your site’s search engine positions.

If you are a culprit to one of these common site structure mistakes, our dedicated team of SEO specialists can help you! All you have to do is get in touch with us today.

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Author:

Evaldas Balcius

As our in-house PPC genius (and SEO technical expert), Evaldas knows everything there is to know about paid search. A Google AdWords and Google Analytics Qualified Professional, he has over seven years’ practical experience in the online marketing sector and also boasts a Master’s diploma degree in Business IT.

Having worked client side and for dedicated search agencies it’s safe to say he has an unrivalled understanding of expectations from both parties. Originally from Lithuania, Evaldas loves exploring England, especially places of historical interest, as well as spending time with his family.


Email e.balcius@absolutedigitalmedia.com

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