The correct site structure is the key to the smooth operation of the resource. It affects the convenience of visitors, the speed of page loading and the optimization of switching/transitioning. It also affects the effectiveness of search engine promotion.
Statistics show that it is with the structure of the site that problems often arise. In 40-90% of cases the resource is organized with mistakes. In this case they are often made by novice webmasters. Avoid the mistakes will help a conscious approach and a clear understanding of the goals for the future.
The importance of the structure of the site
Creating a resource on the web, few people think about the technical nuances. We bet on the visual and content, forgetting about the navigation. And this is the first mistake. After all, the development of the portal should begin with the structure of the site. So you exclude problems in the future and do not lose time on reindexing your site.
The structure of the site is not only a convenient navigation for future customers. This is a more global tool, which includes the prospects for development and promotion of business in the network. Therefore, the structure should be formed prior to the creation of content and visuals. After all, it includes not only existing opportunities, but also points for the disclosure of the organization’s potential in the future.
It is much easier to form the structure of the site before filling it up. So he immediately indexed correctly. But it so happens that the problems are identified later, when the resource is indexed. This is not a reason to create a new site. Just need to urgently change its structure. Do not postpone this process until later. This will complicate reindexing in search engines.
The correct structure of the site: what knowledge is necessary for its construction
To form an online resource, you need to master certain information. First of all, it concerns the structure of the site. To make it correctly, you should first develop a plan of action. This will help you to quickly navigate and find the necessary data in a timely manner.
Developing a planogram, consider these aspects:
- determination of the structure of the site
- search engine requirements
- classification with schematic examples
- the concept of external and internal structure of the site
- the rules for changes or redesign
- check-list of changes after development and adjustment
Each point we will consider in more detail.
The structure of the site: a definition in detail
This term seems uncomplicated. After all, the structure of the site – a principle of the location of the resource pages, organized according to a developed scheme. When creating a logical chain of actions of the visitor is taken into account. This allows the scheme of the resource, taking into account the hierarchy of pages, distributing them to certain folders and directories. Therefore, the correct location contributes to the comfortable navigation.
Correctly created the structure of the site allows you to follow a logical chain of actions in this sequence:
- login page (the point where the client enters initially);
- transitions (major sections);
- interlinked categories and subcategories.
Important: Don’t forget to keep in mind the algorithm of the visitors’ actions. Where they go, what they want to find and what else they might be interested in.
In fact, the structure of the site can be called a user’s way to the target information. The more convenient it is, the more useful and noticeable your resource will be in the network. We can go into details of SEO optimization with the selection and arrangement of keys, anchors and linking, but not about that now. It is important to understand the correctness of the scheme. After all, the quality of its construction depends on the convenience of the customer and the effectiveness of the resource.
To start, consider the most common structure of the site on the example of online store:
As you can see, the location of primary and secondary units is quite simple. The user will easily navigate in the search for articles, goods and the block for order/delivery.
The requirements of search engines to the structure of the site
This is a special group of robots that evaluate each resource in a cross-section of significant parameters (usefulness). Among these checkpoints stands out the structure of the site. In its formation it is important to consider the convenience for visitors and requirements for robots.
The work of search engines is organized specifically. They do not take into account the structure of the URL. This is strange, because in the broad sense of the structure of the site and the scheme URL – one concept. But just in the spoken language is much more convenient to avoid acronyms such as URL.
The requirements of search engines to the structure of the site can be different. Therefore, consider the standards of Yandex and Google separately. Indeed, despite the similarity of goals, the principles of the search robots are different.
Yandex and the structure of the site
The search engine devoted a separate page to the requirements. Find a complete list of wishes can be in support of Yandex. We will tell only about the main parameters:
- Maintain a clear link structure for the site. Categorization is necessary. Simply put, each page should be assigned to a profile section/block/category. Do not forget about linking. It is important that each page led to at least 1 link from another section of your own site.
- Availability of xml sitemap. It is used to speed up indexation. In simple terms: resource will quickly become visible to users on the Web.
- File robots.txt. It restricts indexing of service information.
- Unique URL-address. It should be created for each page. In the correct site structure will lead to different blocks of different URLs. Each tab should be directed to its own separate URL.
- Text links to other pages of the resource. This simplifies the process of content analytics from Yandex, and excludes errors.
- The correctness of symlinks. If a user passes through tabs on the portal, the URLs are not added. For clarity, an example: example.ua/sasha/sasha/sasha/sasha/.
For Yandex the structure of the site and the resource itself – a single unit. Therefore, their official requirements apply to schemes, transitions and functioning of the portal.
Google and the structure of the site
This service is more simple and loyal. Therefore, the requirements of Google are laconic:
create a simple site structure;
add words and reduce identifiers;
Logical and understandable for the average user URL structure;
URL is short and simple;
use punctuation marks in URLs (hyphen “-” is optimal for Google).
To learn more about the current requirements for site structure from Google, click here. Here you’ll find a list of recommendations with examples, probable problems, and solutions.
Creating the correct site structure: classification with examples
I’m sure you’ve already reviewed a number of sites with a sea of obscure diagrams and terms. Where do they take these notations – it’s not clear. We decided to bring you the officially recognized and correct information. So, the structure of the site is of two types:
- Simple. It is also called the two-tier. It includes the main and many internal pages of the second level. For example: home.ru/page1, home.ru/page2, and so on.
- Complicated. She said tree or with 3 or more levels of nesting. For example, home.ru/category/page1, home.ru/blog/article and other things.
According to the official version, the site structure is only these 2 types. No linear, mixed, lattice and similar options. There are only simple (with two levels of nesting URLs) and complex.
In addition, there is a classification for the construction of the structure of the site:
- Correct. It is understandable to users, since the drafting of schemes observed logical connection.
- Incorrect. There is no logic, so the structure is chaos.
We won’t describe each type for long. It is better to show everything visually.
Simple site structure: examples and diagrams
Such solutions are optimal for small resources, which are devoted to a narrow niche. There is no need for complexity, because all pages are close in meaning. For example, pages of photographers, confectioners, etc. On their resources is sufficiently simple site structure: the main page, portfolio / gallery and checkout.
Important: just the main page and a couple of pages is not always enough. If you want to supplement the resource with 20 or more tabs, it is worth developing a more complex structure of the site. Distribute the pages by thematic groups, which will simplify navigation on the portal. This will increase the convenience and help promote the network.
The tree-like structure of the site: examples and diagrams
This solution is relevant for large resources, online stores and multidisciplinary portals. The tree-like structure of the site is considered the most common. This is the right organization scheme, which is liked by users and search engines.
An example of a tree-like structure of the site can be seen in the diagram:
In the image above, we have listed all the types. Their combination and forms the tree structure of the site. But to make the picture more understandable, let’s explain the main points:
- Visibility of the aggregate. It shows all levels of the tree structure of the site, it has no other names and can not be. There are 2 principles of formation: Main/categories/texts and Main/categories/subcategories/texts. If they start telling you about additional varieties, that’s cheating and a sign of low skill.
- The branches of the site’s tree structure. All branches can be at different nesting depths. For example: the 1st branch Home / About Company, 2nd branch Home / range of services / SEO analysis, 3rd branch Home / Blog / Basics of self-promotion / effective promotion methods. It is the totality of these 3 branches – this is an example of the correct structure of the site.
- What not to do. It is not recommended to place the material too deeply. If the structure of the site blocks fall below the 4th level, they will be difficult to detect both users and search robots. The exception can be considered a major platform, like Amazon. On such resources in-depth structure is necessary.
These rules should be taken as a basis for the formation of your resource.
The concept of internal structure of the site
Everything we talked about above is called the internal structure of the site. This concept also includes the URL structure, the rules and order of formation of the URL. All of these terms can be combined.
Important: think carefully about the scheme of the future resource, even before you start it. The correct site structure will exclude many problems. If you have made mistakes, you will have to remake the whole scheme of the portal. Make changes to the structure is difficult, and often have to involve professionals. Services of such masters are expensive.
The incorrect site structure affects the visibility of the portal and prevents its promotion in search engines. Making changes to the resource scheme can take more than one month. As proof, we will use an example. Thus, for a site with 170 pages, indexed, had to perform a series of actions:
- the addition of pages;
- bug fixing;
- adding content to rubrics and subheadings;
- redirect preparation;
- changing internal links;
- the creation of linking.
These works on the structure of the site took 1 month, without the involvement of specialized professionals. But if you hire an employee from outside, the cost of such a list of services would be impressive. In this case, not the fact that all processes could be performed faster.
The concept of external structure of the site
This is what web users see. From the external structure of the site depends on the convenience and usability of the portal, the style and other aspects. It would seem that everything is simple and you have complete freedom of action. But it was not there. After all, the formation of the external structure of the site it is important to remember: the network users are accustomed to the standard form of placement of blocks on the resource. Therefore, it is better not to violate it.
The standard placement of blocks can be seen in the image below:
Consider the standard elements of the structure of the site in more detail:
- The header, also called the header and header. This is the top part of the page site, where the logo, the main horizontal menu and additional elements. Auxiliary details specific to each particular site: banners, ad units, color palette, large images.
- Sidebar or side menu. It can be placed alone (on the left or right), one on each side or abandon this element. Sidebar becomes a source of additional information, it helps to direct the user to other pages on the site, keeps the resource. To increase the involvement is often used slogans and videos.
- The central block. This is a basic element of the external structure of the site. Here they place the target information or service which the visitor was looking for. The central block houses the main content. The text should be easy to read and fit into 1-2 blocks. Do not force the user to flip through the site depressingly, looking for the necessary information. After all, if he does not quickly get what he wants, he is more likely to leave the portal.
- Footer. This is the basement of your resource. This block in the structure of the site is designed to place contacts (organization name, actual phone numbers and address). Also the footer is often supplemented by a navigation menu and useful links.
This scheme is true for 99% of sites on the network. Do not try to be original. After all, this site structure is considered correct and most convenient. It is better not to shift blocks and do not change their places. After all, visitors are easily confused, if the main menu is at the bottom, and the sidebar in the footer. Practice shows that difficult to navigate portals are usually closed without reaching the target information.
Rules for changing or redesigning the structure of the site
It is not always possible to do everything correctly, avoiding mistakes. But this is not a problem. After all, the structure of the site can be redone. Following our recommendations, you will eliminate the previous mistakes, and increase the effectiveness of the resource.
So, perform the change in this sequence:
- Visualization of information. To do this, write out all the pages on a separate sheet. For convenience, you can use Excel. This way it will be easier for you to sort and build materials by headings. Do not forget to specify the current URL, which will increase the convenience of finding the edited page.
- Work out a plan for the new structure of the site. Scheme of how it should be, should be made in advance. Take into account not only the main pages, but also additional pages. Also prescribe the necessary keywords (if you plan to use them).
- Distribution. For the structure of the site was more clear, distribute all the pages in categories. You can do this by creating new tabs or separate files.
- Use of keys. They are needed to create planned additional pages.
- Development of URLs. For each page you should add a separate URL, writing it into the file.
- Content preparation. Texts or templates play an important role. They should be on every page.
- Preparation of redirects. They should be displayed in a separate file (notepad), indicating the old and new addresses of the rubrics.
- Adding. Placing new pages and text.
- Changes in CMS. The structure of links should be updated.
- Matching. It is important to assign each entry to one or another page/branch. So new URLs of the site structure will coincide with the planned ones, and you will exclude failures in your work.
- Introducing redirections from old to new addresses.
- Changing internal links and linking. This will ensure the correctness of the transition. After all, new links should lead to the appropriate URLs, rather than switch to redirects.
As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done. Even for simple changes need at least a week. If the resource is complex and multi-page, the edits require a month or more.
From the plan shows that the largest amount of work falls on items 1-7. They should be done accurately and with maximum attention. Having completed the initial stages, you can proceed to items 8-11. These changes to the structure of the site are implemented in a few hours. But it is possible to extend the work for 1-2 days. After all, the more attentive you are to edit, the less likely to have problems with indexation.
The final step will be item number 12. But do not assume that the finish will be fast. It will take about a month to implement. The work can safely stretch, because the last parameter is not so critical.
Checklist of changes after refinement and adjustment of the structure of the site
A brief scheme of changing the scheme of the resource is not always clear in words. Therefore, we will supplement the text with screenshots of the processes. So you get a clear example and templates for making changes.
Let’s begin with the first step: we visualize the old site map and put all the pages with URLs on a separate sheet.
Create additional pages/headings.
Allocate pages to categories, and put the future URLs.
Performing the change of old URLs to new URLs in our Excel spreadsheet.
Forming a sheet with redirects. To do this, we take the old and new URLs as the basis.
Planning further work. This stage we start once the previous processes are completely finished.
Now carefully carry out the remaining items of our plan. So you slowly and correctly implement the changes. It remains to wait for reindexing the resource and change the addresses of pages in the issuance of Google and Yandex. Usually indexing takes up to 2-3 weeks. But if you did everything well and place useful content, the process will accelerate.
As you can see, the structure of the site is important in the promotion and development of the resource. Therefore, once you learn about the errors in the layout of the portal, as soon as possible begin to make changes. After completing the implementation of changes, you will quickly notice an increase in attendance and response from users.
Can not change the structure of the site by yourself? Contact us. We will help you make and implement the changes.