The information architecture must be taken into account when designing and structuring a website. A badly defined architecture can cause a loss of optimization at SEO level, generate a bad user experience and produce a significant loss of positioning in Google.
The problem with most of the current websites that design their architecture based on SEO is that, instead of being useful websites for the user, they become websites with keyword stuffing in almost each of the elements that compose it.
Why is a good information architecture important in SEO?
The very structure of the web is one of the most important factors and yet it is something on which many client webs I have worked with tend to limp. Besides that this structure will make your web much more understandable and easy to maintain, it will also influence very important factors for both users and search engines.
A good architecture facilitates the indexing of your web
Surely more than once (and more than one hundred) you have found the following result when looking for information about a particular brand or website:
Page links are a huge improvement at SEO level. They improve the navigability of your page, show the most important information of your website, help to “monopolize” the search results and greatly increase the percentage of clicks of your search results.
These types of links don’t just appear on Google. They are shown because Google has easily understood the structure of your website and therefore can show the most relevant pages in the SERPs .
A good architecture improves the tracking in your web
As you already know, the Google bot has a limited time to crawl a web , therefore, if the structure of your web is simple and well optimized the bots will be able to discover more pages in the same period of time, which would be just the opposite of what would happen if your structure were a chaos.
Google has admitted that “some of the pages of many websites are not discovered in a normal crawling process” (hence the importance of sitemaps as well).
Good architecture improves user experience
What would SEO be without the user experience? If you remove images, colors and typographies from a website, only the structure of the information remains, which in the end is what is going to make the users who come to your website really find what they are looking for.
Getting your users not to get frustrated when they place an order for corduroy briefs (let’s say it’s your star product) and don’t go to Amazon to buy them is the result of good user experience and will mean that your information architecture is more than correct.
The information architecture of your website should lay the foundation for your entire SEO strategy, because it will make your entire positioning strategy much easier to carry out, which will get better results.
5 concepts to keep in mind when creating your information architecture
1. Use a more horizontal structure
If the structure of a website is too deep Google will find it more difficult to reach all pages, therefore it is recommended that the structure not have more than 3 levels of depth (not counting the home) because the Google robot has a limited time to crawl a website and the more levels you have to traverse the less time will be left to access the deeper pages. That’s why it’s always recommended to create a web structure in horizontal and not vertical:
As you can see, in the second diagram the information of the web is much better organized by categories and is much more accessible for the Google robot.
This point will be crucial for another important factor in SEO, URLs. A horizontal structure will make URLs shorter and with fewer levels, which will increase the importance of keywords in the URL itself and improve the readability of it by your users.
This would be an example of a URL optimized as a result of a good information architecture:
2. Creates a logical structure of internal links
The Google robot uses the links of a website to travel between pages and index them, what happens if a specific page of a website has no internal or external link pointing to it? Well, the Google robot will not be able to access it.
In addition to providing Google with access there are 3 other compelling reasons to look at the internal link:
- Helps users navigate through your site, so they don’t have to go back to Google.
- They help Google establish the logic of the structure of your website.
- The link juice will be transferred much better between the different pages of the web.
It is not about getting too complicated when planning the internal link, the important thing is that it is very easy to navigate between the categories and subcategories of your website , something simple to achieve thanks to a good navigation menu and bread crumbs.
The “complicated” here is to make it quick and easy for users to access not so essential sections of your website, such as ecommerce products or blog articles. There are relatively easy ways to tackle this:
- Adding links to related articles at the end of your articles.
- Cross-selling on an ecommerce “suggesting” other products that can complement what the user has decided to buy.
- If you don’t have the means to cross-sell you can insert internal links in your product descriptions.
- You can also insert internal links in your articles that lead to related articles.
A perfect example to see how internal linking works is Amazon, which uses several methods to encourage cross-selling and internal navigation being this the most used:
3. Create pages if your content is unique, if not combine them
It is very common belief in the SEO world that the more pages we make on our website the more chances we have to position ourselves, as we are attacking more keywords.
This is true to a certain extent, but we run the risk that the content is too similar and we have a problem of “cannibalization” of keywords and we do not position for any term.
Let’s take an example:
I have a blog in which I publish photo galleries of animals doing things in general and that is also “starting” on the internet. The category that best positions is that of cats wearing top hats and I have a lot of articles published about this. I have found a lot of material of cats wearing fedora hats. Would it be logical to create another category for it? Isn’t the user’s intention the same for both cases?
If you have very similar information you don’t have to worry about the number of pages indexed, worry more about how useful it will be for users to find all the information they are looking for on the same page instead of having to navigate through several.
4. Don’t bury important content
The most important content of your website should also be the one in which you make the greatest efforts to position a URL. Also should be the content that can be accessed more easily, even from the homepage, hence the importance of creating a horizontal content architecture that allows you to reach the important content in three clicks or less.
The closer the home page is to the content, the faster both search engines and users will arrive. If, due to the existing structure of the home page, it is impossible for you to bring the content closer to the root, the best solution will be to link the content from the rest of the important pages of the website.
5. Use an architecture in SILOS
The SILO structure is a way to define the architecture of your website to benefit the SEO, organizing the content in silos of keywords , in order to increase the relevance of these words in the eyes of search engines. This type of structure also helps the content to be organized in a semantic way, making it more comfortable for users.
A very easy way to explain this concept is to think of Sugus candies. If we only like the pineapple Sugus it will be much easier to find them if they are all well organized by colors. In the same way a search engine works: if we group the pages of a website by the similarity of their terms, Google will be much easier to find in a search these pages related to your website.
The main premise for this type of architecture is that the silos cannot be communicated with each other through internal links, but we will have to force the Google bot to crawl wherever we want.
And with this you would already have defined a good content architecture.
Defining correctly a web architecture to help find the relevant content of your website to search engines and users must be one of the first steps when creating or redesigning a website. In this way, an infinite number of problems derived from bad planning will be avoided.