Website Structuring For SEO – The 4-Step Method
In the previous chapter – Understanding Structured Data In SEO – A Beginners Guide – you learned how to improve your search results click-through rate (CTR) through Structured Data Markup. In this chapter – Website Structuring For SEO – The 4-Step Method – you will learn the exact way to be followed to organize your home page and internal web pages that help both search engines and users understand your website better.
The key for higher search engine ranking apart from proper on-page SEO is – website structuring. In simple words, the manner in which website contents are organized plays a vital role in earning higher search engine rankings.
In order to take advantage of this chapter, you must first understand the meaning of the terms – siloing, website themes and link equity. Let’s get started.
Website Structuring For SEO
- What is website Theme, Siloing, and Link Equity
- The 4-Step Method For Website Structuring Process
A theme indicates an overall meaning of your website. In other words, a website theme reflects the identity of your website and improves customer experience. For example, if your business deals with services related to digital marketing, your website should reflect the theme – “digital marketing”.
A website can have multiple themes. Each theme can have sub-themes. For example, let us assume your business deals with services related to “digital marketing”. You provide two kinds of services – “digital marketing training services” and “digital marketing consulting services”. In this case, “digital marketing” is your main theme, whereas, “digital marketing training services” and “digital marketing consulting services” is your sub-theme.
Identifying and theming your website relevantly helps search engines understand your site better and rank higher. It also helps in improving the overall customer experience.
Siloing is the act of structuring your website’s content based on different themes (categories) and sub-themes (sub-categories). Siloing your website is the best SEO practice for improving user experience as well as ranking higher on search result pages.
A website that is well structured through siloing has greater chances of getting indexed appropriately and therefore helps rank higher in the search engines. By siloing your website, both search engines and users can get a clear picture of who and what is your business all about, thus, enhancing user experience.
In the eyes of any search engines, “link equity” (also referred as “link juice”) is the importance a particular page carries in terms of relevance, authority, trust etc. on a particular topic/subject. High link equity for a particular page is a sign of increased trustworthiness which is measured by Google’s search engine through a unit called Google PageRank.
When a page (say ‘A’) on a website with high link equity points to another page (say ‘B’) within the website, a small amount of link equity gets passed to the referred page (i.e. page ‘B’). As a result, page ‘B’ earns little trust and will be considered important in the eyes of search engines.
The concept of link equity is not restricted to pages within a website. The trust and authority of a whole website increase when another reputed website with high link equity refers to it.
It is the same way as in real life when your trustworthy friend introduces you to his friend and you start putting little trust in the new guy.
NOTE: If you wish to link one page to another, but don’t want to pass link equity to the referring page, then, use “rel=nofollow” attribute in the HTML code. It looks like shown below:
<a href=”http://somelink.com” rel=”nofollow”>Some Link</a>
For the ease of discussion, let us assume, you are a startup business owner starting to develop and market your website. Your business is into providing “digital marketing services” for two different kinds of customers.
- Students: Services provided – “Digital Marketing Training Services”
- Other Businesses: Services provided – “Digital Marketing Consulting Services”
Let us understand how to come up with a website structure that ranks well in search engines.
Step – 1: Identify your business’ main themes (main category)
The first step towards website development is identifying your main themes. Main themes are often a high-level identification of your business. As soon as a user lands on your website, he/she should be in a position to grasp a quick understanding of your overall business (that’s called your main theme).
Also, the main themes are the ones that you are trying to rank for in general.
In the fictional example given above, the main theme is – “digital marketing services”.
Let me explain to you with another simple example. If your business is about pets, say, ’cats’ and ‘dogs’, then, the main theme for your website will be ‘animals’. Hope this clarifies.
Step – 2: Identify your business’ sub-themes (sub-categories)
Sub-themes are the more specific version of the main themes. For example, in the above fictional example, “digital marketing training services” and “digital marketing consulting services” are the sub-themes.
Sub-themes can each have more specific versions of sub-themes beneath it as shown in the hierarchy below.
- Digital Marketing Services (Main Theme)
- Digital Marketing Training Services (Sub-theme)
- Social Media Training (More specific sub-theme)
- SEO Training (More specific sub-theme)
- Digital Marketing Consulting Services(Sub-theme)
- Pay Per Click Services (More specific sub-theme)
- Social Media Marketing Services (More specific sub-theme)
- Digital Marketing Training Services (Sub-theme)
Step – 3: Create landing pages for each theme
Landing pages specific to each theme need to be created. In the case of our fictional example, there will be seven landing pages for each theme. The landing page of the main theme (Digital Marketing Services) becomes the home page of the website.
Make sure, the content of each landing page to be specific to its theme. For example, the content of “SEO Training” landing page should emphasize more on SEO and not about social media. Similarly, the content of “Pay Per Click Services” landing page should only talk about pay per click and not about SEO training.
Search engines can better comprehend the meaning of a website when the topics are clear and distinct. This is the key to achieving a better ranking in the search engine result pages.
Thorough strategic keyword research is fundamental to creating landing page content. The chapters 6-Keyword Research Techniques and Keyword Selection Methods Through Elimination Technique will help you in keyword research.
Step – 4: Start siloing by linking (internal links) each page
As explained earlier, siloing is the act of structuring your website’s content based on different themes (categories) and sub-themes (sub-categories). Siloing of a website should always follow a pyramid structure. One page is linked to the other using website links.
The landing page related to the most generic theme will be on the top of the hierarchy, while the landing pages of specific themes will branch out from the top pages downwards to support the page on the top. In technical terms, the top page will have an internal link pointing to its sub-pages. The link equity gets passed to more specific pages. The below picture helps you understand much better.
The core idea of siloing is – to have a particular page on the top of the hierarchy – for which we are trying to rank higher on search engines.
As a thumb rule, each page that we are trying to rank for on the search engines needs to have a minimum of five supporting sub-pages beneath it in the hierarchy. The catch is to have sub-themes that are a more specific version of the main theme.
Beware of diluting the theme of the website by linking themes that are unrelated. For example, the landing page related to “social media training” should not link to “pay-per-click services” page. This is called cross-linking and results in theme dilution.
In simple words, if theme-dilution (cross-linking) happens, both users and search engines get confused about the website theme which results in poor search engine rankings. The below picture shows an example of theme-dilution, which should be avoided.
Only those pages that are theme related should be linked from generic to more specific in a pyramid structure.
When cross-linking happens, the hard-earned link equity gets passed on to non-related themes which result in poor search engine rankings.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For some uncompromising reason, if you have to cross-link between themes, then, use the attribute “rel=nofollow” to avoid passing link equity.
As a conclusion on siloing – understand the fact that – as the topmost page is most relevant to a particular subject, it receives the most support from its supporting pages. The way your site is set up with all the themes and sub-themes linked appropriately will give the search engine an idea about the entire website structure and its intention. Based on this structure, the search engine decides on which page to rank for a particular keyword.
Congratulations! You are done with the nineteenth chapter on “Website Structuring For SEO – The 4-Step Method”. Hope you enjoyed the reading.
All the best for your next chapter on “10 Things You Must Know About HTML Sitemap”. In the next chapter, you will learn all the things you need to know about HTML Sitemap and its importance in SEO.
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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.