Web popularity depends on a number of things—search engine results, brand awareness, and social media interactions to name a few. Among the three mentioned, search engine volume is still ranks first in the method of determining the popularity of a website. How high a site ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs) will give a user an idea on how popular that site is.
A website’s ranking in the top of the SERPs is not, however, solely determined by the amount of web traffic it generates. There are other factors involved, one of which is site architecture.
Site architecture, or the way a website is laid out plus the way its pages are interconnected with each other, is highly underrated yet very important for both the creators and end-users of a site. For instance website owners oftentimes are confused that despite the web traffic coming into the site, user engagement is not that high. While a lot of factors may contribute to this, one of the main reasons probably is poor website structure. Search engines, on the other hand, look at structure and how it plays a huge role on how a website performs in the SERPs. This has a lot to do with the “link juice” and links (both internal and external).
There are three criteria of site architecture; technical, aesthetic and functional. Each one should be considered in the planning stage of a website development.
Good technical structure helps in the flow of the link juice (site authority) awarded within the website. Once properly set up, the distribution of the link equity to the website and its inner pages will increase the authority given by search engines which in turn boost their rankings.
This criterion also involves the call-to-action button that will be programmed with modern web programming languages. It is a balancing act between the technical aspect of the site and design. One should not be compromised in favor of another.
No doubt, how a site looks like may also determine its popularity. Writers can write the best content for the blog and article sections but if the site looks like something pulled from 1996, rest assured that visitors would look for other places to find similar content. The aesthetic criterion involves visually appealing and engaging calls-to-action of the pages.
Take note of where the calls-to-action buttons lead to. In the perspective of SEO, it should be organized in a way that there would be no skipping in the “hops” of search engine bots from the level of the pages i.e., homepage to category pages or sub-category, to the inner pages. For visitors, clicking on the calls-to-action button should not be confusing. Do not make a visitor click on a button, redirect him to a different page, then click another button to go to the page where they should have gone in the first place.
Home > Category > Sub-category > Inner pages >
Normal “hop” of page levels
Plugins also play a huge role in the site’s aesthetics. Although this may be in the territory of site conversion, their contribution in the design aspect of the usability of a page is also considered in the overall structure. The impact of these calls-to-action plugins to the architecture is easy navigability from one page to another with a specific path already set.
Possibly the most important factor in a site structure, functionality refers to the ease of navigation of a website. A site’s navigability will spell the difference between its success and failure. Good functionality can lead to better engagement, time on page/site, lowered exit and bounce rates, and more pages per visit.
The function of each page and link should be carefully planned and organized in a way that they provide visitors the information that they need. It is important to set up your site’s architecture with your users in mind. Aside from usability, it can also boost your website traffic as web crawlers can also navigate the pages easily and the link juice can easily be distributed. It should also consider the path that they want their visitors to take in order to achieve the goals of the site, be it signing up for a newsletter, browse through the content, or purchasing a product.
The goals of the site, like newsletter sign-ups for example, are dependent on the organization of the pages. Visitors should have a clear path on what they would do in a page in order to realize the site’s goals. The improvement can be monitored using analytics and conversion rate optimization. It is important that the flow of the steps that should be taken to realize the goals should be organized. The importance of a proper site structure could be stressed enough in order for websites to gain and increase their exposure in search engines. The important takeaway is to set what the goals of the site are and plan the architecture based on those goals.