An effective content tree positively impacts traffic and conversions: here’s how to optimize it!
Imagine you are in a large library, full of beautiful and precious books of value. A library that, however, presents an obvious problem of cataloging books: how would you find, in a short time, the book you are looking for in an environment that does not present any categorization logic? Which area of the library to patrol? Which shelf to look at?
If this example insinuates a sense of bewilderment, then you too recognize – perhaps unconsciously – the importance of information architecture, applicable in all respects even to websites.
But what benefits can an adequate structure of the site bring? Is there a methodology to follow or tools to use to optimize the information architecture? Find out in the rest of the article!
SEO + UX Design: together to optimize the information architecture of a site
Similar to the example above, imagine a web user landing on your site and unable to easily find the information or product they are looking for. You may have also created beautiful content that will satisfy their needs, but the structure of the site makes it impossible to find. What will happen? Simple: it is very likely that the user decides to leave the site and visit that of your competitor; a missed opportunity to expand its customer base.
This is why it is necessary to understand immediately how to optimize the information architecture of a website, an intervention that sees the collaboration of SEO activities and User Experience Design and which brings multiple benefits:
an optimal architecture communicates to the search engines the hierarchical order of the information around which the site tree develops; this allows to suggest to the search engine semantic relationships between pages placed on different levels, favoring it in the correct interpretation of contents. If the content of a category page responds to a broad type search, for example, “women’s clothing”, that of a sub-category will therefore have to respond to more specific queries such as “women’s jackets and coats”;
It should always be remembered that the real users of the site will be real people. The focus, therefore, must always be on the elements capable of improving the overall browsing experience, with all the qualitative metrics that this entails: bounce rate, time spent on the site, number of pages per session, and other KPIs of user engagement that search engines use to evaluate the quality of a site.
Information architecture: a user-centered approach
The keystone in optimizing the architecture of a site is all in the creation of a tree of contents capable of balancing the objectives of the business with those of its customers (acquired or potential).
Here is a checklist to follow to create a mast capable of offering an effective and efficient navigation experience.
1. Identification of buyer personas
The definition of buyer personas should be preparatory to any marketing activity. In fact, it allows us to know basic aspects of our typical customers for the correct setting of the strategy: character inclinations, needs, browsing habits, etc. All very useful ideas to be exploited for the subsequent phases.
2. Keyword Research
How do buyer personas express their needs in the research phase? What are the terms that are most searched for on Google and conceal an intent that we, with our product or service, can satisfy? It is necessary to have an overview of these terms as broad as possible to identify every possible nuance of intent that we can intercept.
In this phase, it is useful to analyze the positioning of competitors with keyword analysis tools such as SEMrush (attention, of course, to identify the competitors who can actually call themselves such and, therefore, are characterized by the ability to actually attract a significant volume of organic traffic for keys inherent to the reference business).
3. Study of the structure of the competitor sites
Once you have identified the competitors, take a look at the structure of their sites. Start from the navbar: what are the items in the main navigation menu? Within the menus of the sites analyzed which pages occur most often and, therefore, your potential users are more used to seeing? Still in the navbar, are there secondary items that allow direct access to relevant pages or sections of the site?
Also: how did the competitor sites organize the treeing? Do categories link to further sub-categories or do they only contain links to individual product sheets?
Another aspect to consider is the distance in terms of clicks of a page from the homepage. To analyze this data, we recommend using Screaming Frog, a tool that allows you to crawl pages by returning the crawl depth value for each of them starting from the URL entered for analysis (usually the homepage). The higher this value, the greater the number of clicks needed to reach the relevant page and the lower the probability that users and search engines will be able to reach it.
4. Definition of the optimal architecture
Once the keywords have been identified and the architecture of the competitor sites studied, it will become easier to understand which contents to give relevance and how to build a hierarchy of contents that goes from general to particular and that allows users and crawlers of search engines to move. Easily within the site.
Does your site have a large number of pages? Insert an internal search engine, which allows the user to easily access the desired content.
Use breadcrumbs, especially useful in the case of e-commerce: the user will always know which section of the site he is on.
Monitor traffic and user behavior on the pages you are most interested in making visible: use tools like Google Analytics to get quantitative data or tools like HotJar to get more qualitative insights.