How-to Create the Perfect Site Structure
When it comes to Content, remember your visitors!
URLs, permalinks, site structure, breadcrumbs Aargh! what the hell does this all mean? don’t worry, we will help you create the perfect site structure that will suite your small business.
First of all, most SEO experts will tell you the shorter your URL or website address is, the better your search results could be. Although this may be true to a degree, always remember your visitors. If they can’t navigate your site easily they will simply leave.
For example lets look at an accountant. They offer a bunch of services and most people will recommend something similar to the below example.
But this is messy, and your visitors may find it difficult to find their way around. It makes so much more sense to real people to structure your site appropriately.
It is also worth noting that this structure still makes perfect sense to Google and other search engines, so feel like you’re missing out on traffic as a result of a slightly longer website address.
Think about it this way, where do supermarkets place their products. Are organic bananas in the organic aisle? nope, organic bananas are with the rest of the bananas, so your services should be in the services section of your website.
So when we talk about URLs we are simply referring to the website address like https://masteringit.com.au/contact/
What the HECK are Permalinks?
If you log into your WordPress website and click on Settings, you will see in the menu Permalinks. these permalinks tells WordPress how to display and structure your website.
By default WordPress will simply be set to plain and as a result your URLs will look a little more like this https://masteringit.com.au/?p=123 doesn’t’ tell anybody anything does it? You will also see there are a bunch of other options, but in MOST cases this will be set to Post name, making your URLs more user friendly.
On this website we chose custom, as we not only blog but we also have a shop. In our case we set our site structure or permalinks to look like this /blog/%category%/%postname%/. the percentage symbols will automatically be populated with your page name and category like so https://masteringit.com.au/blog/seo-content/create-the-perfect-site-structure/
This gives us a really logical looking website structure. It makes sense to our visitors, (psst! that’s you), and it makes sense to search engines. It also allows us to include useful breadcrumbs which again benefit our visitors.
So what are Breadcrumbs?
That’s not a breadcrumb, this is a breadcrumb!
Probably makes more sense now doesn’t it? it’s a trail of pages leading you back where you came from. And the best part, there automatic, we don’t even have to do anything. Well, that’s assuming you have the Yoast SEO Plugin installed.
Assuming you do, log into your WordPress website and hover your mouse over SEO from the menu on the left and select Search Appearance.
Smash that Breadcrumbs TAB along the top and click that enable button. Don’t forget to click save afterwards.
That’s a Wrap
Now you know how to configure your site to have the best structured layout, that best suits your visitors. The next part is redirecting your old URLs to the new URLs. If we do this right, search engines such as Google or Bing will actually update the page index they have so it points to the new location.
Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier then it sounds. Keep reading to see how it’s done.
We are going to need another free plugin, (there are a lot of different ways to achieve this but we want this to be as simple as possible). So head on over and install this plugin.
Once you are ready, you can find it located under Tools > Redirections.
If we stick with the example we used above with the accountant we would now simply create a redirect for each page. To make it even easier we don’t need to add our domain name, we simply enter the old URL and the new URL.
Repeat the above process for each page you moved.
These are called a 301 Redirect. The 301 basically tells search engines, yo Google, Googs… what up, I’ve moved over here now, can you update the details please.
A 302 will still redirect traffic but nothing will change from a search engine point of view. These are usually only used for temporary redirects.