Day 9 of the bigmouthmedia SEO Advent Calendar. You can read day 8 here.
Site navigation for search engines and users
The navigation on a website is not only important to users to find what they are looking for on a website, but also to search engines as it allows them to understand where a page fits in.
Navigation for search engines:
- Hierarchical site structure: Even though search engines do display results on a page basis, they would like to know where in the hierarchy an individual page sits. Put your important pages further up the hierarchy and support their SEO performance via related pages further down the hierarchy.
Navigation for users:
- Adhere to navigation conventions: don’t put a link to your sitemap or product pages into the main navigations as users are not expecting to see them there.
- Placing your main navigation: the position of your navigation should be consistent throughout the site, preferably at the top with a more refined navigation on the left-hand side of your pages.
- Make your homepage your root page from which all navigation starts. The homepage is usually the most frequented page on your site.
- The navigation needs to appear on every page to ensure that users can find what they are looking for at any time.
- Consistency: use the same design for your navigation on all pages.
- For user convenience, add a breadcrumb trail to all pages. It allows quick navigation back to the root page or previous pages.
- Create a simple directory structure with relevant subdirectories.
There is no magic to creating site navigation that supports SEO performance of a site and enhances the user experience – just keep it simple!