We all know how important SEO is for getting your content to rank in search results, right?
Contrary to popular belief, SEO actually starts with your actual blog – before you even begin publishing blog posts!
Most people think that SEO is just about finding a particular keyword to target for a single blog post. But SEO actually begins with the framework of your site as a whole.
And the more solid SEO juice you can provide at the beginning, the easier it is for Google to index your actual blog posts later on.
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What is Site Structure
So, what exactly is a site structure?
Your site structure is sort of like a map or flowchart of sorts that crawlers use when crawling your site and blog posts.
Site structure is basically how all of your content is organized and begins with your categories.
When a crawler enters your site, it crawls the links on your navigation menu (which should be your categories) first. This helps it get a first assessment of what your site is about.
But once it crawls each category link, everything inside that category should also follow suit and organization from an SEO perspective.
Starting with the category link, it then crawls tags (if they are indexable) and internal links.
Inside an individual post, the links you insert matter for site structure and SEO!
What Does a Good Site Structure Look Like?
As I mentioned, a good site structure begins by having your categories well thought out and organized. Each category should be related but also independent of the others. Categories should be thought of as folders that you will be filing a LOT of blog posts in over the life of your blog.
You don’t want two categories that are so related that most blog posts would fall under both of them. Yes, occasionally, you may have a post that falls into more than one category, but that should be a very rare occasion.
But you also don’t want categories that are so far from being related that Google has a hard time understanding the overall point of your site. For example: Bible study, Travel, Book Reviews. These, individually, are so far removed from each other that they won’t make sense to Google.
A good site structure might look like:
- prayer, Bible study, homemaking
- prayer, prayer resources, praying
- motherhood, prayer, Bible study
See how all of these examples are similar but also completely different?
Of course, the older your site gets, the more content you will end up having and may need to further sub-organize the content.
For example, for the category of Bible Study under the subcategory “bible studies,” you may end up with several that might be further organized by topical or character.
The goal is that everything flows correctly. And when you reverse the flow, it all leads back to the orignal category.
Just like the individual categories, the internal links you add to a blog post are just as important for SEO purposes.
Don’t bother with using plugins to offer recommended posts after a blog post because those just pull random posts. Adding internal links manually into paragraphs (as link text) will result in much higher conversions (readers clicking through them) and also are better for SEO.
Every internal link you add to a post should be to another post in the same category (or subcategory or tag). Everything should RELATE to the original category (at a minimum).
Site Structure Matters for SEO
An organized site structure gives Google the best roadmap from which to crawl your site and gather enough data to properly index your site and your individual blog posts.
It also helps you keep your content organized and focused so you aren’t just randomly writing about stuff. If it doesn’t belong in one of your categories – DON’T WRITE IT!
If you are new to SEO, be sure to read:
If you want to dive deeper into understanding how to improve your site structure, here is a really good article from Mediavine about it that is very helpful!