Optimizing your website architecture is an important step in laying the foundations for any successful SEO campaign. Site architecture can impact the ranking of your website in search results and also the number of pages that are actually indexed.
What is Flat Site Architecture?
Site architecture refers to the structure of your website and the way the each page is connected to another. Creating a ‘flat’ site involves minimising the number of clicks it takes to reach each level of depth across your website.
To show an example, let’s take a look at two different websites:
The major problem with the deep site architecture on the left is that with every level of depth you are losing some amount of link juice. If the majority of your content is two clicks away from the homepage search engines are going to see these as less important than the example on the right where the majority of content is just one click from the homepage.
The flat structure will not only help these pages in terms of ranking, it will also help to ensure they remain in the index.
Using HTML Sitemaps to Improve Crawling
If changing your site’s structure is very difficult, or you’ve got a large website, HTML sitemaps can also be used to help get more pages included in the index.
Following Google’s recommendation of 100 links per page, the following structure will help more pages on your website to be included in the index:
- Homepage > Sitemap > Category Sitemap > Sub Category Sitemap
Because you have linked to the sitemap directly from your homepage, Google will see this page as important and begin crawling each of the links on this page. Creating a sitemap in the following format can help build out the flat site architecture I’ve mentioned above.
Cross Linking Between Pages
One final tip to maximize the flow of link juice within your site is to use cross linking. This involves linking to related pages from within each level of depth on your website.
For example, if you’re writing a blog, one way to do this would be linking to other articles you have previously written on the same topic. That way, the link juice of the current page is also being shared amongst other content pages on your site which can help to improve the ranking of these pages also.