Site structure is the way you group, link and present the content, services and products of your site to the users. In summary, it would be how you organise your website’s content. The site structure can sometimes also be referred to as a taxonomy within the website.
Practicality and experience should be balanced in order to achieve a visually appealing site and an organised structure that is intuitive to the customer.
There are two main reasons why brands should care about site structure. These are:
Google’s objective is to provide users with the most useful, accurate and accessible results for their searches, so much so that Google has rolled out a series of new ranking signals based on its core web vitals that refer directly to user experience. This means we also need to understand the importance of having humans and human behaviour at the core of the site structure planning.
But there are many other areas in which an optimised site structure will help us improve our visibility:
Using Neuroscience principles, we can improve user experience, as this is key to understanding how the human brain works and how our site can have an impact on it. The main principles to have in mind when building the site structure, and our site in general, are:
In summary, our brain requires a certain order and structure to make sense of the content presented in front of us. The way it is presented can and should make us attracted to the brand whilst the content should engage and take us on the website’s intended path.
Our main goal is for the users (and crawlers) to find the solution to their problems fast and seamlessly. Although, following these principles will also help us convert those users into loyal customers that can engage and bond with the site, coming back again and again.
1. Welcoming users through the homepage
Your home page, the place where you welcome the users, the nucleus of your site and usually, the page with the highest traffic and incoming links, makes it the perfect starting point to link to your most important pages.
Humans like order, simplicity and logic, so we should follow this pattern to create and link from our homepage.
How can we create a homepage that is catered for humans, yet SEO and crawler friendly?
Just follow these simple steps:
2. The navigation menu: the user's guide to your site
The menu is key for users to understand the structure of the site. When structuring it we should ensure that it follows logic and leaves no questions needing to be asked, as the Neuroscience principles have taught us. The goal is to ease the path for users to find their answers as quickly as possible, avoiding unnecessary complications.
Sephora Makeup navigation is a great example of this as it clearly defines and categorises the products based on body areas, which makes finding products easy for both makeup experts and beginners:
3. Helping users find their way with breadcrumb trails
Just like maps in shopping centres that show you where you are and guide you to where you want to go, these clickable paths are usually added to the desktop version of the site. It helps users go back to different related pages as well as understand where they are within your site structure. It also helps crawlers to understand where on the site this page is located as well as its priority and relationship with other pages.
In summary, we can assure that order and structure are key to start planning your human-friendly site structure and that having humans at the core of your strategy will not only increase current visitors and conversions, but it could potentially have a positive effect on lifetime value of the customers as well.
If you’d like to know more about building a human-focused site structure then please get in touch today.