Site Architecture For SEO
A well-planned, clear site architecture can offer numerous benefits for both users and search engines, which in turn can promote the success of your real estate website in the long run.
A strong information architecture should be the foundation from which you build a new real estate website, and if you design your site right, your information architecture should never be in conflict with your SEO goals.
What Is Site Architecture In SEO?
Site architecture, also known as website architecture or information architecture, refers to the way a website's pages are structured and organized. In SEO, site architecture plays an important role in how search engines crawl and index a website, as well as how users navigate and interact with the site.
A well-designed site architecture should have a clear and logical hierarchy of pages, with each page easily accessible from the homepage and other relevant pages. It should also be easy to navigate, with clear and descriptive navigation menus and links, and a consistent layout and design across all pages.
From an SEO perspective, a good site architecture can help search engines understand the content and purpose of each page, making it easier for them to rank the site's pages for relevant search queries. It can also help distribute link equity and PageRank throughout the site, improving the overall authority and visibility of the site in search results.
Why A Clear Site Architecture Is Important
The way a site is structured affects multiple aspects of your website: usability, rankings, and conversions.
Information architecture should be designed to help visitors to your site accomplish their goals quickly and effortlessly, and should make it easy for search engines to crawl your site.
On any one page, search engines must be able to access the content to index the pages, and they also need to have access to links to crawl to be able to find other pages throughout the site.
Here's a summary of how good site architecture can benefit your SEO strategy:
- Helps search engines understand your website, improving search ranking.
- Increases the likelihood of rich search results, further improving visibility and click through rates.
- Helps motivated users find what they're looking for, improving engagement and conversion rates.
As mentioned, one of the most important benefits of a clear site structure is improving search visibility. For example, you can improve the chance that your website will get organic sitelinks in search results.
Often we see websites that hide main navigation pages, or have a complicated site architecture that makes finding pages difficult. Not only does this hinder search engines from crawling your entire site, but it can also be frustrating to your users, who may choose to leave and visit a different site.
Strong content, good use of keywords, and marketing techniques only go so far if search engines are unable to access those pages to begin with.
Site Architecture: How To
Internal links are links that go from one page on a website to a different page on the same website, assisting search engines in crawling, and therefore, indexing. They are most commonly used in main and side navigations and help establish an information hierarchy for the website, creating a clear site architecture.
Within a site, pages with more inbound internal links are considered to be of higher importance than those with fewer internal links—within reason. This isn't to say that you want to go link-crazy and add dozens of internal links pointing to pages you consider to be of high importance. Rather, this should occur naturally as you build out your information architecture.
Broad To Narrow Organization
When developing an information architecture, we want to organize the site from the top level down, starting with broad pages and narrowing down to specific pages.
Within this organization, it also helps to link from the parent page to the child page, and vice versa. A parent page is any webpage that has a sub-page, and a child page is a sub-page of a parent page.
This kind of site architecture is sometimes called "flat" and "shallow".
A "flat, shallow" hierarchy refers to a website structure that has a minimal number of levels, with each level having a relatively equal number of pages. In this structure, the website's pages are organized in a way that is easy to navigate, and users can find what they are looking for quickly.
For example, a real estate website with a flat, shallow hierarchy might have the following structure:
- Single-Family Homes For Sale
- Homes In City 1
- Neighborhood 1
- Neighborhood 2
- Homes In City 2
- Neighborhood 3
- Neighborhood 4
- Homes In City 1
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Single-Family Homes For Sale
Remember: How you see your real estate niche may not be how users think about it. Adopt the mindset of a potential client and think about their thought-process as they look for the property or real estate services that they want.
It's also important that when you're narrowing down your pages, you don't end up getting granular to the point of irrelevancy. You should only make sub-pages if the intent of the page is unique.
If there are two pages that cover the same idea, combine those pages into one or use advanced meta tags to indicate which one should be taken as primary.
Top & Side Navigations
Your top and side navigations will have a backlink from every page on your site, therefore these navigation links should point to the highest level, most important pages. Start with priority links to the top pages on your website, but make sure to provide users with other links so they can easily access the pages they are looking for.
A good information architecture will ensure that it takes as few clicks as possible to get to any given page, and that there is a logical flow of links from the home page to parent pages to child pages. Try to have 100 or fewer links per page, to prevent overwhelming users and crawlers. This may seem like a high number, but remember that everything in your top and side navigations is a link on every page of your site. When we take that into consideration, the links per page can quickly add up.
Breadcrumbs are a type of navigational aid used on websites to show users the page's location within the site's hierarchy. They typically appear as a line of clickable links near the top of a webpage, above the main content area.
Breadcrumbs allow users to quickly understand where they are on a website and how to get to previous pages or categories. Breadcrumbs also help search engines understand the hierarchy of a website and the relationship between different pages. Breadcrumbs are a simple yet effective way to improve your site architecture and overall user experience.
Pillar Pages & Topic Clusters
Topic pillars and clusters are a content organization strategy used in SEO to improve website ranking and search visibility.
A topic pillar is a comprehensive and broad piece of content that covers a central topic, while clusters are subtopics related to the main topic that provide more detailed information.
The goal is to create a hierarchy of content that signals to search engines the relevance and depth of a website's content on a particular topic.
By linking topic clusters to the main pillar page, search engines can understand the context and relationship of the content, and rank the website higher for relevant search queries.
This approach also helps to improve user experience by providing comprehensive and organized content that is easy to navigate.
Site Structure For Real Estate Websites
Real estate SEO has some interesting quirks and challenges all of its own. So, when it comes to site architecture for a real estate website, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
Firstly, a clear and logical hierarchy of pages makes it easier for users to browse properties based on their location, type, price range, and other relevant criteria. So, depending on your niche, you might arrange your site structure based on property type, location, price, listing date, or some other feature. This is about matching your website to the kind of user intent that suits your business.
Internal linking is another important aspect of site architecture for a real estate website. By linking related pages together, you can help users find properties that match their preferences and interests. For example, users might be focused on a specific property type and want to navigate to find similar properties in nearby areas. Alternatively, they might be focused on one general area, and are looking for a property that suits them.
It's also important to have a user-friendly and intuitive navigation structure that allows users to easily find the information they need. There are many components to the real estate business and sites can become overloaded with features and search options. Keeping these different aspects clear and simple is best for both users and search engines.
If you want a new real estate website without the hassle, Real Estate Webmasters offers beautiful and functional real estate websites right out of the box.
Creating an SEO-Friendly Site Structure
Below is a checklist to help you get started on creating an SEO-friendly information architecture that will benefit both users and search engines:
- Begin by planning your site. Start broad then narrow down based on your business niche and goals, while also keeping user intent in mind.
- Organize your navigational structure, ensuring that your high-priority links are immediately clickable.
- When starting to create your site and pages, don't create all the pages at once. Start only with the highest priority pages, and make sure they're filled out with content before adding the next pages.
- Link parent pages to child pages, and link child pages back to parent pages.
- As you continue to add pages to your site, make sure that they still make sense within your information architecture, and that every new page is accessible.
- Remember to balance optimizing your links for search engines with optimizing for visitors and user experience.
- Use features like breadcrumbs or advanced meta tags to supplement information about your site structure.
Site Architecture FAQ
What is the difference between site structure and site architecture?
While the terms "site structure" and "site architecture" are often used interchangeably, site structure typically refers to the way your website's content is organized, while site architecture refers to the hierarchical structure of your website's pages.
In other words, site structure deals with how your website's content is grouped, linked, and presented to visitors, while site architecture focuses more on the relationships between different pages and how they are linked together.
What is information architecture?
Information architecture (IA) is the process of organizing and structuring content on a website in a way that makes it easy to understand and navigate. It involves categorizing, labeling, and arranging information to improve usability and user experience.