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How a solid website structure can help your search engine rankings

The structure of a website is not a large factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, a solid website structure helps search engines to understand your website content and the relationships between the different pages of your website.

A well organised website helps your users to find what they are looking for, and it helps search engines to understand the purpose of your website.

Flat and deep website structures
The two most common website navigation structures are flat sites and deep sites. Flat websites are websites that try to make each web page available with very few clicks. Deep websites are websites that use long paths to access specific pages on the site.

A deep website structure enables you to create very exact and targeted topical pages on your website. The disadvantage of a deep website structure is that website visitors and search engine crawlers take longer to find the content they are looking for.

A flat website structure makes it easier for website visitors and search engines to find all pages of your website. The fewer pages your visitors have to go through before finding the content they are looking for, the better.

How to create a good website structure
If possible, all pages on your website should be accessible with a maximum of four clicks from the home page of your site. Of course, it is also important that the navigational elements on your website reflect the importance of the linked pages.

In general, it makes sense to create your website structure like this:
• Create an overview of all pages of your website.
• Break the content into core categories and create a top level navigation that hold the different content types of your site.
• Create logical sub categories.
• If necessary, create another sub category level.
• Link the targeted pages from the sub category pages.

If you plan to create a public sitemap of your website then your website navigation is not good enough. Although a sitemap can help search engines and website visitors to find pages on your site, the regular navigation of your website should be good enough so that visitors do not need a sitemap.

Easy is good
Make it easy for your website visitors to find the content they need. A website with clearly arranged content that can easily be understood by users and search engine crawlers will get better visibility than websites with a poor information structure. Of course, the actual content of your pages and the links that point to your pages are still very important.

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