unifying principle

Google indexes pages, that’s what they do. I’ve already discussed with you the idea of page structure. You want to have clearly defined paragraphs that stay on topic with headings so that the reader can scan content and the search engine can properly understand and index your post or page. But for your entire website, organizing site structure involves using categories to give context to articles.

Use of Categories

As a page has structure so should the the site as a whole. Site structure means that you’ll create categories and pages or posts for those categories. There are 2 reasons for doing this. One reason is so that visitors can find what they’re looking for if they reach your homepage first. And the second is so the search engine can understand the relationships between various pages.

The larger your site the more you’re going to need organization by subdividing your content into categories and subcategories. You may also use hashtags, just make sure they are connecting articles with related topics, just don’t overuse them. Larger sites will probably be using categories and hashtags while smaller sites would probably use one or the other.

When using categories try to keep the number of posts in all categories roughly the same. Don’t let one category have more than twice the posts in the smallest category. If a category gets too big you should subdivide it into subcategories. These are the search engine’s rules of the road, as it were.

Those who find a page of yours because it was returned in search results may land on a page anywhere in your site. But what if they refer to your brand online and someone else tries to navigate your site to find that same page, will they be able to find it? Will your site structure lead them to where it resides? So you see clear site organization through category pages is important.

Categories and Keyword Phrases

Site structure also has everything to do with your keyword strategy. You get traffic to your site from a search result. As we discuss in our keyword strategy post, longer more specific keyword phrases have a better chance of being returned because they have less competition. The longer more specific your keyword phrase the less competition you’ll have for that phrase. One, two and three word phrases have much more competition.

The farther you go down in your site structure the more specific your targeted keyword phrases should be. A category is a generalization and members of that category are more specific instances of the category. SEO is all about being found in search results and the longer the keyword phrase the better you’ll do. As your specific long keyword pages get noticed they’ll gather SEO authority. And this adds authority to the category page just above it. This is the SEO strategy regarding site structure.

Link Up to the Category Page

So make sure you’re linking to the category page from it’s child pages so the search engine understands the relationship. This then will boost your category page as well.

Likewise as we discuss in our keyword post you don’t want to have duplicate content on your site. That would mean that more than one page is using the exact same keyword phrase, which is a violation of
hierarchy. Google will pick up on this and lessen the rank of both the pages.

Site structure, therefore, is very important to SEO strategy. It’s how we organized our site’s pages through categorization and hashtags, and also through linking to higher level pages. Site structure is an essential component of a successful SEO strategy.