Website navigation is an important part of improving your onsite user experience and hence increasing your chances of ranking highly in organic search results. The following article gives a simple guide to help you optimize your site navigation according to your SEO strategy.
- Keyword research
Keyword research is the easiest way to collect user data. Think of all your web-pages (excluding product description pages) as topics and list them in a spreadsheet. Topics may be based on products, events, seasons, user queries etc. Jot the most important keyword phrases in the spreadsheet, noting any opportunities to introduce subtopics to the topics you have (avoid being too narrow). The idea is to list all words searchers might use to look for your products/services.
- Identify main pages
An easy way might be to post the page names on post-its and arrange them on a wall/board, which will make them easily moveable as you go around figuring things out. Divide them into customer-centric pages (information users looked for) and company-centric pages (information users may need) and keep them separate on your board.
A common mistake with SEO experts is concentrating on the latter over the former in their main navigation pages. It’s important to have company-centric pages – company profile, contacts etc., but it’s more important to ensure customers can easily reach exactly what they came for: the products/services. The latter should be the most visible pages on the site.
- Identify secondary pages
The main categories above show up on the main navigation pane of the site’s homepage; they provide broad overviews rather than specific searches. This is where secondary pages come in: they provide actual search sub-categories users need/search for. In a clothing store for instance, the main navigation may have ‘Shoes’ with ‘Winter shoes’, ‘Sandals’ and ‘Business shoes’ as secondary categories.
From the spreadsheet of topics and subtopics, use your discretion to determine which pages qualify as secondary navigation pages. If you have synonymous phrases, choose the more frequently searched-for phrase.
Finally, everything in SEO must be tested for efficacy. Implement your navigation and A/B test it among your audience. In the end, it is your customers that will tell you whether or not your navigation actually works for them. Follow your site analytics closely and modify the navigation as necessary.
DenzinDegar is a digital marketer. He has worked as an affiliate marketer for number of well known brands. Currently he is working with Utah SEO. You can contact him and get his advice on online advertising.