One of the primary functions of search engines is to categorize content. The first element that a search engine looks at when indexing and categorizing a webpage is the URL structure. The URL structure of a page gives a strong clue to search engines about how you have categorized that content and what other pages are related to that content.
For instance, take a look at the following two examples of URL structure and consider what you know about each page before ever looking at the content:
Example 1: http://www.website.com/product/c/384-23bsic
Example 2: http://www.website.com/shoes/nike/mens/running-shoes/air-max
It’s pretty obvious that Example 2 provides far better information about the content of the page. Well, guess what… Google understands this and that is why the URL structure of a webpage is an important ranking factor.
So, why is navigation important to search engines?
1. What Navigation Is and What It Does: Navigation consists of links that you present to your visitors to help them find information that exists elsewhere on your website.
2. Global Header and Footer Navigation: The global header and footer navigation are there to highlight sections of your site that you want users to be able to easily jump to from any page of your entire site.
3. Sub-Navigation: Sub-Navigation highlights the most important pages within each section. This gives search engines a very clear picture about the importance of each page and the role that each page plays in helping your visitors explore information throughout your site.
4. Anchor Text and Title Tags: Navigation links should utilize anchor text and title tags to provide search engines with clues as to what words accurately summarize the content of the pages they point to. Therefore, anchor text and title tags are strong indicators of relevance.
5. PageRank Flow: Lastly, links pass page rank… sometimes referred to as link juice. Therefore, the pages on your site that have the most internal links pointing toward them are seen as the most critical to the user journey. Therefore, search engines will tend to give those pages higher search rankings.
Now that you understand the importance of URL Structure and Navigation
Make Sure To Avoid These Other Problems Too!
Next In the next lesson we will take a look at many of the different problems that can be caused by poor site architecture. It's difficult to know what to avoid if it’s never been pointed out to you. So, we are going to discuss...