Web Design

Organize Your Website Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide to Optimized Site Structure

When it comes to your website, its structure is the backbone of your online presence. Ensuring a well-organized and user-friendly layout can significantly impact your site’s performance. From enhancing user experience to…

Estimated Read Time:  17 minutes


When it comes to your website, its structure is the backbone of your online presence. Ensuring a well-organized and user-friendly layout can significantly impact your site’s performance. From enhancing user experience to improving SEO rankings, a solid website structure is key to success.

Basics of Website Structure

Website structure is how your website is built and how its pages fit and link together. It’s also referred to as website architecture or hierarchy.

Good site structure makes it easy for people and search engines to find their way around your website. It’s about allowing them to find what they’re looking for in as few clicks as possible.

A well-organized structure helps visitors quickly find what they are looking for on your site. By arranging your main page effectively, you can guide users to essential information with ease.

When you organize your website content logically, it also improves overall user experience. Users appreciate websites where information is structured in a clear and intuitive manner.

Benefits of Properly Structured Websites

Structured websites offer numerous benefits that enhance user experience and overall site performance. Organized websites are easier to navigate, allowing users to find information quickly and effortlessly. This streamlined experience leads to higher user satisfaction. An intuitive navigation system helps visitors easily find the information they seek, leading to longer browsing sessions and increased engagement.

A well-structured website also improves search engine optimization (SEO). It can help improve your search engine rankings by using the right keywords and making sure your site is easy to navigate. Search engines favor sites with clear structures, making it easier for them to crawl and index content. This can result in higher rankings on search engine results pages, driving more organic traffic to your site.

Structured websites also contribute to better site speed and performance. By organizing content effectively, you reduce the load time of your pages, providing users with a faster browsing experience. This is crucial as users tend to abandon sites that take too long to load.

Key Elements of Site Structure

Website layouts differ, but generally, websites have these several important elements that factor into your websites structure:

  • Homepage: Serves as a brand overview, guiding visitors to key areas
  • Landing pages: Target specific services or locations for conversions
  • Posts: Content pieces, such as blogs, organized by categories and tags boost SEO and guide visitors deeper into the site
  • Tags & categories: Organize content for easy access and user journeys
  • Navigation: Menus that define site structure and guide users
  • Breadcrumbs: Show website structure and create a trail of visitor’s location

Different Types Of Common Website Structures

From simple linear layouts to a more complex website architecture, the way a website is structured can greatly impact its usability and effectiveness in conveying information. Let’s explore the different types of website structures commonly used.

Hierarchical Website Structure

A website with a hierarchical structure organizes information from top to bottom, starting with a main page and then branching out into subpages. Big companies like this setup because it makes it easy for people and search engines to quickly find what they’re looking for.

Most websites use a hierarchical structure, which is like a tree with a main page leading to subpages. This setup helps organize information into categories and subcategories, all connected to the main page through a breadcrumb trail.

The advantage of this kind of structure is that it allows pages to be divided into categories and then further subcategories, all while maintaining a breadcrumb trail that leads back to the parent page(s) and homepage of the website.

Hierarchical Website Structure Example

Linear / Sequential Website Structure

In a linear website setup, information is displayed one by one after another. Visitors are led through a set path, guiding them through each piece of content in a specific order.

This approach may limit customization, affecting user experience for visitors. But, it helps establish a clear content hierarchy for simple usability on small websites.

Linear / Sequential Website Structure Example

Webbed / Matrix Structure

This kind of website setup is unique because all pages can be easily accessed from any other page. It works well for websites with only a few connected pages. With this structure, users can move around in any order and explore different content freely.

Bigger websites set up like this can be hard to handle and get around. Even though users can freely find related info, the structure isn’t very organized. This makes it tough for users to see how everything fits together and find what they’re looking for.

Webbed / Matrix Structure Example

A webbed site is often seen as random because it doesn’t follow a specific path for users to follow. This can be tricky when there are many pages, requiring all pages to be linked together for easy navigation. It’s important to be careful when using this approach with a large amount of content.

Choosing Which Structure Is Best

Consider the nature of your content and how you want visitors to access it to determine the best website structure for your needs.

  1. Consider the size and complexity of your website to decide on the level of hierarchy required.
  2. Evaluate how users will navigate through your content and ensure a seamless experience.
  3. Align the structure with the goals of your website to enhance user engagement and satisfaction.

Building a User-Friendly Flow

When you’re creating the structure of your website, it’s super important to think about the people who will be visiting it. You want to make sure their experience is top-notch and easy to understand. Think about the different parts of their journey as they explore your site. Have everything laid out in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow.

Home Services Website Design Examples Inspiration, Home Services Marketing

To help users find what they’re looking for fast, include clear menus and buttons that stand out. Keep things neat and tidy so visitors don’t get confused when they’re trying to navigate around. Buttons and links are like little helpers that guide users to where they want to go on your site. Put them in spots that make sense and lead users right to where they want to be without any hassle.

Create a logical path for users to follow as they move through your site. Think about where they might start and guide them step by step through the pages. Make sure each page has something valuable to offer and nudges them towards their goal.

Creating an Effective Sitemap

Having a good sitemap helps search engines and makes it easier for visitors to navigate your website. It’s important for SEO because it helps search engines like Google find and show your site in search results.

A detailed sitemap can also boost your site’s ranking by providing important information about your content. Keeping your sitemap updated and submitting it to search engines regularly helps fix any crawling issues and keeps them informed about your site’s layout.

Decide On Your Sites Top Navigation

Your site’s main navigation at the top of the page is important to get right. This is where users will look to get to where they need to go, and to be able to easily navigate between key pages. The bigger the website is, the more complicated top navigation can become.

Here, you should be thinking about your customer and their ideal journey once they land on the site. What information will they be looking for and where you want to direct them? How can you most easily group topics into easy to understand broad categories in your navigation? Remember, you want to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for in as few clicks as possible.

Decide On Your Key Pages and Do Keyword Research

Use keyword research tools to discover search volumes for your pages and navigation. Even though you may have specific names for your services and goods, without doing keyword research, there might be alternative terms that people use that you are not aware of. Failing to align your top pages with popular search terms could result in missing out on significant website traffic.

A useful approach is to explore your competitors’ websites for insights into their site structure and effectiveness. Your website should be structured in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Your main pages will probably be a category page (like blogs, products, etc), a hub for content (such as marketing stuff), or a single page on its own (like about us, contact, etc.).

Common Key pages:

  • Homepage
  • About
  • Services
  • Careers
  • Blog
  • Contact Us
  • 404 Error
  • Legal pages

Map Out Your Websites Structure

Once you have your list of important keywords and an idea of the pages you need, it’s time to plan how they all fit together. A tool like Gloomaps can help you with this. As you add more details like main topics and subcategories, remember to circle back and update your map accordingly.

Sorting and Labeling With Taxonomies (Categories & Tags)

A taxonomy is a way of grouping your pages and content by using either categories or tags. Taxonomies will help with the concept of “content silo”, where keywords and topics gain relevancy and increased ranking by being grouped and linked together on your site.


A category is the default taxonomy in WordPress. Using categories is a great way to let users, and search engines know what broader topic the content information on specific pages are about.

You can also use subcategories sometimes called child categories. An example would be if the main category is “SEO”, subcategories could look like this:

  • yourwebsite.com/seo/technical-seo
  • yourwebsite.com/seo/local-seo
  • yourwebsite.com/seo/on-page-seo

If you have several pages relating to certain topics, products, services on your site, that is where category pages become super important. If you have a small website, they may not be as crucial. To add categories to your WordPress website from the sidebar menu click Posts > Categories.


Tags are more useful for identifying more specific topics and keywords on posts and pages, whereas categories are more of a broad indicator. You can add multiple tags to one piece of content. The benefit of tags is if a user were to click on one of the tags they would be taken to an archive page with all other pages with that tag. To add tags in WordPress, from the sidebar menu, click Posts > Tags.

For example, If I wrote a post about link building, the category might be something broad like “SEO”, but the tags could be “off-page SEO”, “link building”, etc.

Custom Taxonomies

Custom taxonomies are a different, more complex way of grouping pages and usually seen on large websites. A custom taxonomy would come in handy when instead of grouping pages by certain categories or tags, you could group by people or locations.

Other Website Structure Related Elements


A permalink is a URL you see in your browser for any given page or post on a website. Staying with our common theme, a permalink should be both user friendly and search engine friendly. It’s important to get your structure for permalinks down before you build out a ton of pages.

Good permalinks are short, descriptive, and might include a category. Bad permalinks are long, confusing, have no keywords, and give no context. They might include dates, and random characters and numbers.

WordPress has 6 different permalinks settings to choose from, and its default “plain” setting will look something like this – yoursite.com/?p=123, which is not what we want.

You’ll want to select post name or custom structure as your new permalinks default. Post name will allow you to add custom slugs to every page, giving you complete control. For custom structure, you can add prefixes such as /%sample-post%/, or with the category included, /%category%/%post-name%/.

URL Structure

To achieve an optimal URL structure, include keywords that accurately reflect the content of the page. Avoid using long strings of numbers or irrelevant characters in your URLs, as they can confuse both users and search engines.

By incorporating descriptive words in your URLs, you provide valuable context to both visitors and search engine bots. This clarity helps improve the overall user experience on your website while boosting your SEO efforts simultaneously.

A well-structured URL is like a roadmap that guides users directly to the information they seek on your website. It enhances usability and encourages visitors to explore more pages, ultimately leading to higher engagement rates.

Benefits of Optimizing URLs:

  • Improved user experience
  • Higher search engine rankings
  • Increased organic traffic
  • Better indexing of web pages

URL Best Practices

These best practices are for giving your user a good experience by allowing them to know what page they’re on and giving an indication of what it’s about, as well as making the URL easy for them to share. And, good for search engines by allowing them to see what the content is about with keyword-focused URLs, giving you a better chance to rank highly.

  • Keep the URL short, no more than 5 words
  • Use lower case
  • Use hyphens (-) between words
  • Use your main keywords
  • Do NOT include numbers or characters
  • Skip filler words like and, the, or, but, etc

Internal Linking

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect one page of a website to another page on the same site. These contextual links help search engines understand the relationship between different pages on your site.

Impact of Internal Linking on Site Structure

By utilizing internal linking, you create a web of connections within your website, improving its overall structure. This helps search engines crawl and index your site more efficiently, boosting your SEO efforts.

Horizontal navigation and level navigation are common methods of internal linking that allow users to navigate through different sections of your website seamlessly. By incorporating internal links in your posts and using relevant tags, you can enhance user experience and keep visitors engaged.

Best Practices for Internal Linking

  1. Utilize internal links to guide users to relevant content within your site.
  2. Ensure that the anchor text for internal links is descriptive and relevant to the linked page.
  3. Avoid overloading a single page with too many internal links, as this can confuse both users and search engines.
  4. Incorporate internal links in a way that flows naturally within your content, adding value to the reader’s experience.

Content Silo Systems for Topical Relevance

We’ve already talked about how effective internal linking is absolutely essential for a website. One of the main uses of good internal linking is for content silos.

Organizing content into groups boosts SEO by showing search engines the main topic and related subtopics clearly.

Content silos involve organizing related content together to establish topical relevance and authority for specific themes. It typically consists of a central page focused on a main topic/keyword, followed by multiple subcategory pages that address related questions and link back to the central page. This method helps improve SEO by creating a clear structure for search engines to understand the content hierarchy and relevance of different topics.

Virtual Content Silo vs Physical Content Silo

A physical silo is created by linking pages together in the site navigation like directories, menus, and breadcrumbs. A category page with many child subcategory pages is an example of a virtual silo. This is more common for eCommerce sites.

A virtual silo would be pages linking to each other through contextual links. Meaning, typically in the body of the content, you would reference a keyword or topic of another relevant page in your silo and link to it in that content.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumbs are a small piece of text, usually at the top of a page, that shows the path you took to get to the page you’re on. This might look something like this:

This helps users understand exactly where they are and how they got there, as well as making it easy to navigate to similar pages. Also, If a user comes straight to that page, it gives them a better picture of the structure of your website.

Breadcrumbs also increase the internal linking of your website. The more pages link to other relevant pages within a website, the more link power, authority, and relevance can pass throughout the site, and the healthier the website will be. Breadcrumbs are again more frequently used on eCommerce sites.

Users are able to click on a single link within the breadcrumb trail when using breadcrumb navigation.

On a website that does not provide breadcrumbs, it is possible that users will be required to repeatedly press the back button or multiple menus in order to navigate the site.

Plus, many users have come to expect breadcrumbs on websites. If yours doesn’t have them, it might create some frustration.


Pagination is breaking up content into separated ordered pages, instead of having a super long scroll. An example is how Google has many pages for search results instead of just one long scrolling page.

You Will Mostly Find Pagination on These Types of Websites:

  • News Publications
  • Large Forums
  • eCommerce
  • Large Blogs

Pagination can lead to an abundance of pages created on your site, which could cause search engine crawling issues as well as duplicate content and indexing problems. The main way site owners and SEO’s battle this issue is by using canonical tags. Read more about pagination here.

Crawl Budget

Crawl budget is the number of pages a search engine crawler or spider is able to crawl and index in a certain amount of time. If your website is large and poorly optimized, this could be a problem because the crawl budget might run out and you might end up with pages that search engines can’t find and index.

The Main Reasons for Crawl Budget Problems Are:

  • Messy and Complex Site Structure
  • 404 Pages
  • Too Many Redirects
  • Broken Redirects
  • Slow Website Speed
  • Lacking Internal Links or Having Very Few
  • Duplicate or Poor-Quality Content

A fast website with good content and a solid structure shouldn’t have problems with Google’s crawling budget.

Testing and Optimizing Your Site

To make your website even better, test how people use it and make improvements. See which pages are popular and where visitors spend time. Improve your site’s SEO by making it easy for users and search engines to navigate. Use popular keywords in your content and create engaging blog posts.

Google likes sites with valuable content, so make sure all pages work together well. Get feedback from users and update your site’s design accordingly. Add images and videos to enhance engagement. Make sure your site works well on mobile devices, too. Keep track of key metrics like bounce rate and page views to improve your site further.

Wrapping Up

Are you ready to take your website to the next level? By making some simple changes to how your website is organized, you can see a boost in your user engagement and search engine rankings.

When people visit your site, they want to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. By structuring your website in a way that is easy to navigate, you can keep visitors on your site longer, which search engines love!

This means more people will find your site when they search online, leading to more traffic and potential customers for your business. So, don’t wait any longer – start optimizing your website structure today and watch your online success soar!

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