Optimal website structure

Following on from keyword research, you need to build your site architecture and navigation with your human visitors in mind. User experience and SEO have to go hand in hand;…

Following on from keyword research, you need to build your site architecture and navigation with your human visitors in mind. User experience and SEO have to go hand in hand; quite often, you will come across dilemmas where you need to make a compromise.

The compromise should always be in favour of your customers; you’ll find that by thinking outside the box you can nearly always accommodate the two. It’s important that you learn that particular balancing act because you need to find that fine line for all of your web presences. Having an optimal website structure is one of the foundation blocks for SEO.

It helps if you can work your keywords into the URL for your posts and pages. Just once for the main keyword that you are targeting on that post/page. An example of a keyword rich URL might be:


I wouldn’t suggest that you make the URL much longer or add more subcategory levels than that, but sometimes if you have a large inventory on an e-commerce site you have to. Just make sure that you think very carefully about how you devise your URL structure because it can be quite a painful process to change it further down the line.

URLs can cause duplicate content that you may not even know about!

You might think that you don’t have duplicate content on your website but are you really sure? The website in the video looks great to start with, not too many pages, well-organised information, keywords in the URL but not done in a spammy way, but when you look a little deeper the search engines would count each page as five pages because it can access the page by following a link to get to each page in five different ways:






This can be further compounded if you use https and http. This is known as canonicalisation and can be damaging to sites.

So, choose one format in which you are going to display your URLs and then stick with it. You’ll need to make sure you only use that URL format with your profiles and commenting around the web.

Then you need to fix the problem by redirecting each of the duplicate URLs (301 re-directs) to the main one.

If you use a CMS, you’ll likely find a plugin that will help you to easily manage your 301 redirects. If not then the changes may need to be done manually and probably get a professional involved if you are not sure what you are doing.

Here’s a video walking you through optimal website structures from a URL perspective.

It’s surprising how many websites fall afoul of this issue. Check your website and see if you need to make any changes.

If you have any questions about resolving the issues that you find, pop your questions in the comments section with a link to your site and I’ll take a look to see what I can do to help.

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