Website Structure: 4 Improvements You Can Implement Today

on under SEO Auditing, Tactic Tuesday.

Last week we talked about how to update your site architecture in line with your core keyword strategy. This week I'd like to dive a bit deeper into site architecture and a few changes you can make right now to better optimize it for SEO.

This borrows heavily from our site architecture audit checklist, so be sure to give that a look if you're interested.

1. Link Your Logo To Your Homepage

Most sites already have this in effect, but it's not uncommon to run into a site where this is not the case. If it's a case of featuring a logo without a hyperlink, you already know what to do. Update the image for your logo with a link to the homepage.

Here's some example HTML for an image link if you need it:

<img src="pic_mountain.jpg" alt="Mountain View" style="width:304px;height:228px;">

More on image links

If you're on WordPress, here's how to add a custom logo to your theme, which should already link to the homepage.

If your blog doesn't link to the homepage

A more common issue these days is to host a blog in a subfolder or subdomain (subfolders are prefered but not essential), but the logo on the blog links back to the home of the blog instead of the homepage for the site.

If this is a UX choice, and you want the blog to have a semi-independent brand, I won't fault you for it. However, you should absolutely update the primary menu navigation and footer with a logo or call to action that takes you to the homepage of the site.

If, on the other hand, you're on WordPress and aren't sure how to change the link so that it links to your homepage, instead of the homepage of the blog, here is how to add a custom link to your logo.

2. Check For URL Variables That Impact Content, And Remove Them

URL variables append a URL with instructions for the server, often used for sorting or filtering the content on a page. For example:

If Google is crawling your site and finding both versions of the page, they may end up indexing duplicate content which can dilute your keyword authority, prioritize poor UX pages in search, and in extreme circumstances, invite duplicate content penalties.

See what we wrote on query strings and SEO to search for and resolve these issues.

3. Consolidate Pages That Address Excessively Similar Topics

We call this "willow tree disease." There was a time in Google's history where creating pages to target endless variations on the same keyword was an effective strategy for SEO. That time is long passed.

This isn't to say that you can't publish dozens or even hundreds of blog posts that branch off of the same core keyword. Instead, it's to say that these blog posts should all target variations on the keyword that have different meanings.

Bad:

  • Best samsung galaxy review sites
  • Samsung galaxy review sites list
  • List of samsung galaxy review sites
  • Samsung galaxy review list

Good:

  • Samsung galaxy s3 reviews list
  • Samsung galaxy s4 reviews list
  • Samsung galaxy s5 reviews list

(Note, while the second list is "good," that doesn't mean you should use this much repetitive phrasing in any of your site navigation, only that it's good to target these as separate keywords.)

Run a Google query like this to search for all of the pages on your site that branch off of one of your keywords:

site:example.com core keyword here

Take a look at the pages to see if any of them could be combined.

If so, take a look in Google Analytics to see which page is getting the most search engine traffic, consolidate any extra information from the other page(s) to the highest performing page, redirect the extraneous pages to the consolidated one, and change any links on your site that point to the extraneous pages to link to the consolidated page.

To see how to update links to pages that you've set up redirects for, see this blog post.

4. Cut Out Your Archive And Tag Cloud Links

If these are still taking up space in your sidebar, remove them. Take a look at your Google Analytics data and you'll quickly discover that nobody is clicking these links. Archive and tag cloud links take up space, clutter your UX, and dilute PageRank. Archive links add no useful organizational data to your link structure: they just categorize it by date. Tag clouds may even invite keyword stuffing penalties.

Instead of archive and tag cloud links, keep everything organized in blog categories. Keep these very limited and focussed, as discussed in our post on developing content guidelines, when we discuss blog columns. In short: if you find yourself with over 15 blog categories, your categories are probably too narrow.

There you have it

Make these changes and you'll be well on your way toward a more optimized site architecture.

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