In order for pages to rank well in the search engines, spiders must first be able to find and access them. There are a number of ways to approach this and each should be integrated into your site’s architecture. Smaller sites can follow a flat structure with their pages built directly off the root. Larger sites with hundreds of pages should use keyword rich categories to group similar content in dynamically generated folders. Long ago, search engine algorithms considered pages that were directly off the root to be more valuable than category pages. That’s not the case today; other factors have a far greater ranking influence.
Internal linking is also important. This can include in-content links, footer links, and breadcrumbs that instantly inform the user where they are within the site’s architecture. These links allow spiders to easily fetch and parse pages for indexing, both prerequisites for an effective SEO campaign. This is one of the many areas that a comprehensive SEO audit will investigate.
Usability and Findability: Key Elements Of SEO Site Architecture
As important as spider crawlability is, so too, is a site’s usability and the ease with which users find information. Usability and findability are terms that are often used inaccurately when describing the information structure of a site. At a basic level, both terms refer to a person’s ability to use a site intuitively. This can include reading articles, watching videos, searching a database, and similar activities.
There are two reasons why usability and findability play a role in supporting the SEO services that are used to improve search engine rankings. First, spiders model user behavior. The easier it is for users to navigate a site, the easier it is for spiders to do the same. Second, intuitive usability encourages visitors to spend more time on a site. Google uses the duration of a visit as one of many algorithmic parameters for ranking purposes.