Search engine optimization encompasses many things. In the mind of many SEO novices, generally small business owners or self-taught website designers, SEO is mostly about getting the right keywords. They think that as long as you can work in “construction company” ten times on each page, you should rank high in a search engine results page. Although keywords are important, there are a number of other factors that go into creating great SEO for your site. In fact, you can build a lot of search engine love for your site if you take the time to flatten out your site architecture.
When the Google site crawlers look at your website, they place importance on different factors. For example, they’ll place more importance on keywords in your heading then in your body text, and they’ll place more importance on site pages that are closer to the top of the structure. That is, the more clicks it takes to get to content on your pages, the less importance Google places on the content within those pages.
For example, Google places the most importance on text found on the home page, next most important is text on pages that are only one click away from the home page and so on. So, the longer it takes to get to your content—the more clicks it takes for people to find what they are looking for—the lower your SEO is going to be.
When we say you need to “flatten” your site architecture, it simply means that you have to make more of your content available (i.e., accessible through links) from your home page. For most small businesses, this is really easy. Small businesses usually have only a handful of pages on their website. If you link to all your pages from the home page—boom—you’ve just increased your SEO.
For larger sites, this is more difficult. Google tends not to like home pages that have more than 100 links. If you have more than 100 pages in your website, you’ll probably want to link to a site map from your home page. Another good idea is to link to categories or sections of your website form the home page, thus decreasing the number of clicks it takes to get down to your most essential content.
Google likes flat architecture because usually that means the site is easier for users to navigate. When you have links to all your pages, on every page (in something like a “pages” column on your site), your users will have a much easier time getting around your site—instead of having to go back to the Home page every time they need to look for something. When you make your site architecture flat, you increase your Google love, your users experience, and your SEO.
Brad Anderson is the Executive Director and Founder of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association