Before we dive into how our Professional Services Website is organized, we are going to start off with a conversation about the importance of good Site Organization in general.
Good SEO Starts with Site Organization
Good Search Engine Optimization begins with good site organization and it’s not difficult to organize your site well or to make a rational site organization plan.
There isn’t, however, necessarily a right answer on how to do it because there are many different ways to organize your site. But it is important that whatever site organization you use, it is consistent and rational. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here.
Google SEO Starter Guide
Let’s start off by looking at the Search Engine Optimization starter guide. You can see that right here in the table of contents, “Improving Site Structure” is one of the main things they suggest that you do. That’s what we’re going to be talking about when we talk about site organization, we’re talking about site structure.
Where to Find the Guide
You can find this guide on the bottom of the main lesson page or you can always just google it “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide”. Either way, you’ll find a link to download it as well.
Part two of this is Improving the Site Structure. And starts off by improving the structure of your URLs. If you don’t know what I mean by URL, I’m referring to this right here. This is the URL of this page- byobtutorial.com, finished projects, west seattle, view home or you could read it instead Rick Anderson Architects.com finished projects, West Seattle View Home.
When you see that URL you have a reasonable expectation that this would be an example project designed by Rick Anderson, Architect. You wouldn’t have to know anything else about the page beyond what what shown in the URL. If you knew that, you could assume you know what the page was about.
Good URLs Convey Content Information
Good URLs convey content information. That’s what we’re talking about here. A good URL will read kind of like a sentence, right? If the site is in English, it’s an english sentence. If it’s a French site then it’s a french sentence. So it will read kind of like a sentence, not necessarily grammatically correct, but nevertheless a sentence that conveys meaning. You may hear the term “semantic URLs” bandied about. It’s a term I use all the time. That’s what we mean by semantic URL – it’s a URL that has meaning, that tells you something.
Here’s an example of a URL that does not tell you anything. Right here. This URL tells you nothing. It’s just a combination of the site name, numbers and symbols. And it is the kind of URL that we don’t want to implement. This is the opposite of what we’re trying to implement here.
And one thing to bear in mind, of course, is that URLs are displayed in search results as you’ll see in just a second. So the first important thing about the site structure is that it will give structure to your URLs. Your URLs will then convey information especially when they are displayed in search results. But they also make your site easier to navigate.
For your prospective customer good URLs help them find what they are looking for and that same URL helps Google understand your site better. So where can you see these site structures in action?
Example: Site Structure in URLs and Breadcrumbs
Well you can see it in two places: You can see it in URLs and you can see it in Breadcrumbs. I’ll show you an example, let’s do a search right now for “WordPress 4.7 course”. You can see that right now, byobwebsite is here on the front page. We have two courses, well there’s two results when you search for WordPress 4.7 course. The first result is the course page and the second result was the advertised event.
When you look at the course url you can see it says “BYOBWebsite.com seminars WordPress WordPress 4.7 crash course”. Well, by reading that, you pretty much know it’s a WordPress seminar on WordPress 4.7. Right?
The same thing is true with the event URL. It has “byobwebsite.com slash event WordPress 4.7 crash course”. Again, we have a clear indication of what this page is about. This page is about the event of the class.
I couldn’t find an example of my website where Google is returning Breadcrumbs and maybe it’s because my structure is a little bit too deep. But the other place you can see it is in a breadcrumb trail. Sometimes Google will display breadcrumbs in a search result.
You can also see that here on the top of my web page, Build your own business website, start building your website here, build a professional website using WordPress and Thesis 2. That is a breadcrumb trail. You can compare that breadcrumb trail to the URL courses, how to build a website, thesis 2.2. Again, that conveys meaning. Those are the two places you publicly see the site organization.
How to Organize a Professional Services Site
So, how should your site be organized? We’re assuming at the moment that it’s a professional services site, not something like BYOBWebsite. BYOBWebsite has a much more complex organization. We have four thousand pages or something like that on the site so it’s a whole different beast.
Develop a Simple Page Hierarchy
But in this case, what we want to do is to develop a simple hierarchy. So you have a name page, and maybe the name page has sub pages, and maybe even the sub-pages have a sub-page or two.
You have this nice, simple hierarchy of main page, sub-page and perhaps sub-sub-page. In terms of main pages, you should think of probably three to eight. These will be pages that show up at the top of your menu. There may be reasons to have pages that are not on your menu.
The three to eight pages really comes down to a usability perspective for the menu not from a Google’s perspective. If you give people more than eight choices, people get confused or overwhelmed by choice and so they don’t make a choice. So from a user-design perspective, you’re looking for three to eight main pages.