If you are interested in starting an SEO campaign for your site, or considering hiring a professional SEO agency, you may find yourself wondering how to structure your site’s menu. This is something you should absolutely address and fully think through before any content creation begins. If you just start hucking up content without giving your site layout any thought you could end up with a lot of things you need to move around or reorganize at a later date.
In this blog, we will explain some basic steps to help you select a menu layout for your website. Most websites will follow this order:
The first thing you will want to do, as with any SEO endeavor, is to see what the leaders in your industry are doing. If Google is giving a site a #1 listing for a money word in your industry, odds are Google likes this page and website as a whole.
Visit 3-5 sites for each main keyword you want to rank for. Look at how they have their menu laid out. Is it easy to get around? Are you able to find what you need? Do they break up their menu by products, services, service areas? All 3? Or something more unique?
This step may be best served if you have a pen and paper nearby so you can write down the structure of these highly performing sites and look at them all together to pick up trends.
In this step we are less worried about pages like “contact us” or “about us” as these should be on every site's main menu.
While you are writing out the layouts of these sites you may start to notice a pyramid type structure, reflecting the “levels” mentioned above. This is done on purpose.
Your home page should touch on everything you do (level 1). The pages in the menu fall under that (level 2). When you click on a page like “our products'', odds are this page has links to more pages that expand on these products (level 3). On these individual pages you may find links to blogs or content they have put out (level 4) that supplement what is discussed on this product page.
Most well made, SEO sites will have this pyramid-type structure where the pages below expand on a section of the page above.
2. Think like your users
This step is at the heart of all SEO work and all search engines. SEO work and search engines exist to help users find what they need. Are your customers B2B? Are you dealing with the public? B2B businesses will benefit from loading up their pages with hard numbers and facts because their site visitors are high intention and care about the details. If you sell a product to the general public, easy access to beautiful imagery or product reviews will be way more useful.
Just because the sites we researched in step one are laid out a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t find a better way to convey information to your customers. Think how can I copy these leaders but do an even better job.
3. Keyword research
The next step now that we have our competitor research done and a plan based around user intention is to identify which keywords you want each page to rank for. For the pages in the level 2 you want to shoot for high volume/high intent keywords like “toilet installation” if you are a plumber, for your page about your bathroom work. You are going to want to include this keyword on your page a few times and in a header or two. You will also want to sprinkle some synonyms to this keyword so Google doesn’t think you are keyword stuffing.
The pages underneath this “toilet installation” page (level 3 & 4) should have much more specific keywords. Maybe you install 5 brands of toilets that you know are the best around. Your toilet installation page (level 2) should mention these brands and then link to a page (level 3) about this brand and their model toilets. For these pages we can shoot for keywords with lower volume like “(brand name) toilet installation”. We can later create a blog (level 4) along the lines of “common issues with (brand name) toilets” which will feed the beast we are building at level 2.
The key here is to have a keyword focus for each page and have the lower pages link upwards to signal relevance and complete knowledge of this product or service.
Start writing! Most web builders offer a simple interface to update your site’s menu. Google will be crawling your site from the top down so you will want to spend your time in accordance with this.
Don’t just throw up paragraphs and think you’re done. Stylize these pages so that they flow with a mixture of words, images, videos & more. Make your page easy on the eyes and break up your copy to make it less intimidating, especially if you’re in a B2C space.
Establishing a clear pyramid of pages is going to make Google and the other search engines love your site because it makes it easy to crawl. Use pages on levels 3 & 4 as a vehicle to add longtail keywords to your level 2 pages. Your level 1 and level 2 pages are always going to have the easiest time ranking and drive the most business so start creating lower level content to support these money making pages today!
Once your website is optimized and your content structure is laid out and implemented, you now need to begin driving backlinks to your great content to give your site a final push to the top of the page.
Some content can rank on its own just by being extremely thorough however, if you are in a more competitive space, odds are you will need a backlink or two to signal to Google that your content deserves to be placed above your competitors.
Backlinks are a great way for Google to comprehend authority which builds trust and allows you to consistently rank. A backlink is essentially a signal to search engines that other sites trust you and therefore the search engine should trust you.
We will break down where to find backlinks into 2 categories. Paid and Free.
We only promote white-hat link building here at Mad Mango so if you are looking for a quick solution you may want to head over to a pay to play backlink site.
If you don’t want to spend hours digging up points of contact to email inquiring about a backlink you can always contact us here at Mad Mango Marketing and we will provide you with lists of backlink opportunities (100 backlink opportunities per list $99) for your site or any of your clients sites. You can then take these lists and send personalized emails, building a relationship with the site owner and eventually that golden backlink!
Free tools to build backlinks
Keep in mind that in 2021 there are very few softwares that offer a truly free experience. Many of these suggestions below will offer add ons or restrict your usage without paying. Never-the-less, these tools have free aspects and can certainly be used to boost your site. If you are performing SEO on several sites you may want to pay for these tools or head to the next section of the article.
Do a quick Google search for your industry and the word “blog”. You may find lists of dozens of sites that blog about your space and could be a great place to get links or swap content. Often these sites will hide direct emails and leave you only with a contact form that gets filled out by countless others every day making it almost impossible for you to stand out.
Download Hunter.io’s free Chrome Extension and this intelligent tool will scour the site in search of unique email addresses that belong to real people at the site for you to reach out to directly. This tool alone could save you hours of page flipping each month.
Whether it’s Facebook, Discord, Slack, or Clubhouse, groups and group communication are the future of social platforms. All platforms are looking for ways to move the conversation away from timelines and towards private channels and the public has grown old of traditional social media consumption and a push towards privacy is evermore prevalent.
Join groups of business or site owners in your space and make some friends! If you are a local trades business the task of building backlinks can seem like a hill too complicated to climb. However, if you can find people who do your exact trade 2,000 miles away, they may be much more willing to give you a backlink with a blog swap or interview because you won’t be taking their plumbing job in California when you’re in Alabama.
You can also look for SEO specific groups but beware as there are black hats everywhere looking for a quick link.
Google Alerts & HARO
We talk about these two platforms in almost every blog because they are so important for white-hat link building. These two tools give you incredible access to new internet content at critical points. Right before it gets posted (HARO) and right after it gets posted (Google Alerts).
Using these two free platforms in tandem, you can know just about every time someone is going to write about your space, or has just published something in your industry.
Once you find your first link using one of these two platforms, don't forget to follow up! Email the writer 3 or 6 months later asking if they are working on anything else in your space or know of any colleagues writing anything you can hop on and assist with (all for a link of course).
Paid tools to build backlinks
Paid tools will always offer more features that make the project of link building that much easier. Many offer tool on top of tool that could make this blog incredibly long. For the sake of brevity we will mention a few key products inside of these paid tools that will out you on the fast track to building links
Ahrefs Content Explorer
Ahrefs offers tons of tools. None better for backlink building than the “Content Explorer”. Here, you can enter a keyword or term you are trying to rank for and see what others are writing about. This is a great spot not only for finding articles written about your topic but also a great place to get inspired for your next blog topic.
You can discover exactly how many backlinks you will need to rank for this term, who ranks first (so you can see what they do and make your content better), and even find articles with broken links in them.
The broken link tool is a favorite here at Mad Mango. What you do is, after entering your keyword, set the filter at the top to show “only broken”. This will refresh your page to show you articles written about your topic that have broken links in them. Use Hunter.io to find the author's email and let them know they have a broken link and linking to your site would be a much better option...you know, because your site never breaks.
Ahrefs and SEMrush offer very similar tools so you will find a lot of the same features giving you many more leads to reach out to for backlink building.
One tool that we use is the “trending topics” icon when searching for articles that rank in your space. You can use this tool to discover topics that have been getting more traction recently in your industry so you can hone in on that topic in your HARO and Google Alert searches and maybe even write a post so that you can hop on the trend and find that next valuable link.
The Mad Mango Way
Building backlinks is time consuming work and even more time consuming when you do it the right way. White hat link building takes time but once you start to build a few key relationships you will have backlink opportunities coming to you instead of you seeking them out.
If you think you can handle the outreach part but not the hours spent to find these sites give us a call! We can provide your business or agency with 100% vetted lists of legitimate backlink opportunities for you to open up communication with.
And if that all sounds like way too much work even with us doing the research for you, it may be time to bring on an agency to handle this job. Contact the team at Mad Mango Marketing today to get started!
All blogs are written by our incredible staff here at Mad Mango Marketing. Your Connecticut SEO, App Development, and Online Advertising experts.