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.
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.
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!