How to Plan a Website Structure

George Rossoshansky
SEO Expert, Team Leader, Rush Academy Speaker George Rossoshansky

Creating a well-structured website is crucial for improving user experience, SEO, Creating a well-structured website is crucial for improving user experience, SEO, and overall success. This guide explains the art and science of achieving that. It looks at how to organize websites in order to give both users and search engines an effortless online journey, avoiding frustrating labyrinthine websites which can make life difficult.

Key takeaways

  • Understanding website structure is key for creating an effective user experience and optimizing SEO performance.
  • Designing a successful website requires careful planning, clear navigation & menus, strategic internal linking, optimized URL structures and regular monitoring & improvements.
  • Common mistakes to avoid include overly complex navigation, poor internal linking and unclear URL structures.

Understanding website structure

The website architecture, also known as site structure, plays an important role in both user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO). Site visitors can find the information they need quickly when a web page is organized properly, and it enables search engines to index content effortlessly. To construct a successful online presence, having a well-designed structure that goes from the home page to landing pages is essential. It’s critical for businesses to understand the importance of a good site architecture, which will provide SEO benefits alongside great UX for people visiting their sites.

The role of website structure in UX

A website that has been carefully designed can greatly benefit users by providing access to essential data such as landing pages, thereby enhancing their satisfaction. Imagine visiting an e-commerce site with a disorganized setup. You would likely find yourself on a wild goose chase for the item you were looking for! On the other hand, if its structure is well-thought-out and optimized, it becomes easier to locate what’s needed, which leads not only to improved user experience but also to higher conversion rates from customers who return again because of positive interactions.

Including items like tags or site links in individual webpages information architecture helps ease navigation even further. As another example, including relevant content details in headers, so visitors don’t have any trouble finding them serves this same purpose, overall improving UX design significantly while making sure important categories are visible right away. All these efforts help put together create an environment where people using your platform get exactly what they need when they visit without much effort – something crucial about having success through obtaining successful user experience.

The impact of website structure on SEO

Properly structuring a website is invaluable for both the user experience and SEO. By organizing web pages in an orderly way, search engines can more easily crawl them, improving visibility within their results, which leads to higher rankings when users look up relevant keywords. Having prominent links on SERPs called site links boosts click-through rates, increasing brand recognition while boosting page ranking as well. All of this with just one investment: making sure your site has quality structure! Not only does proper organization make browsing easier for customers, but also drives organic traffic from optimized search engine performance due to better indexing capabilities.

Four main types of website structures

When it comes to creating an efficient website structure for content, there are 4 primary options: Hierarchical, Sequential, Matrix and Database. It is imperative that the best option be selected in order to attain desired goals and manage related content successfully.

For each of these structures, we will explore their particular qualities as well as how they can most effectively be implemented.

Organizing websites through hierarchical methods or sequential approaches both offer individual advantages depending upon needs. Matrix means contain multiple pathways with branching elements, while databases provide a specialized form of search engine navigation making information retrieval straightforward – all have unique benefits if deployed strategically.

Hierarchical structure

Creating an effective hierarchical website structure is a useful approach for organizing large amounts of content into distinct categories with parent and child pages. A sitemap should be used to outline the design, while also making sure that navigation includes primary and secondary menus or footers so both users and search engines can navigate it properly. This tree model, known as a hierarchical model, allows relationships between various webpages to become clear quickly. An example could include an online store which may have main sections such as ‘shoes’, ‘outerwear’ & accessories’; each one divided by subcategories like ‘sandals’ under shoes etc. Utilizing this type of structure makes it easier for visitors to find what they need more quickly than on any other type of site format.

Sequential structure

A sequential website structure is an organized path that starts at the main page and leads users linearly through subsequent pages. This type of arrangement works best for sites with limited content, like personal websites or small businesses. It can be beneficial when trying to guide visitors towards completing specific objectives such as online purchases or courses, since this clear-cut design makes understanding easier than having too many navigation options available.

The major benefit of a sequential layout lies within its simplicity. Providing one set route means less confusion and a more focused browsing experience from start to finish on whatever topic may be presented. Larger websites will not work well under this system due to restricted pathways which could lead people away from exploring other sections or topics.

Matrix structure

Matrix layouts enable people to move through digital content in a non-linear fashion, typically seen on e-commerce websites or online newspapers. This design puts the information into grids which offer users an open path for discovery and exploration. For example, an internet store could feature various categories of products set out within a matrix setup that will let buyers scan freely around different items at their own speed.

The big benefit from this type of structure is its flexibility. Customers can choose what interests them most without feeling locked into one particular route to access material. It’s critical to make sure that the grid system has been well-thought-out so as not to confuse visitors with too many options – neat menus and search tools are key here if you want optimum user experience when it comes to large scale web stores like this kind.

Database structure

A database website structure is advantageous in that it enables effective storage, manipulation and retrieval of data. This approach helps users quickly get hold of information pertinent to their needs or preferences based on user interactions or queries made through search engines. For the system to function optimally from a user experience perspective, as well as satisfy requirements posed by web crawlers used by search engine bots. Maintenance must be undertaken regularly, so the database remains orderly and optimized properly.

Designing an effective website structure

When designing a successful website structure, which should be both effective for the user and friendly to SEO optimization, there are some necessary considerations. First is planning and organization: it’s critical that your site has clear navigation menus as well as organized internal linking strategies with optimized URL structures in place. Understanding different types of websites can also aid you in creating an optimal design for your website specifically. Ultimately, the goal here is devising one that functions properly whilst providing maximum satisfaction from viewers interacting with it on various levels – so keep those two elements at the forefront when crafting such a construct!

Planning and organization

Proper preparation and organization are the building blocks of an effective website. Here is a list to consider.

  1. Establish your site’s objectives.
  2. Analyze potential customers and rivals in the marketplace.
  3. Recognize who will be using it (your target audience).

Sitemaps, wireframes, etc., can help you plan out content for best presentation, so determine which main pages should have priority when structuring your hierarchy. Remembering that user experience needs consideration as well! Navigation with features such as breadcrumbs tags and contextual site links would also come into play here too-plus headers/footers organized in logical categories or with direct links to key points on each page could significantly improve user access over time creating success while meeting business goals along the way!

Navigation and menus

In order to guarantee a seamless and effortless user experience on your website, navigation is key. For the main menu, you should highlight critical sections as well as important pages, while subordinate menus or footers can showcase subsidiary items alongside extra material. By setting up these hierarchies of navigation, it allows users to easily find what they are looking for quickly without difficulty.

To attain helpful and efficient navigational structures, here are several suggestions: focus on significant elements, limit how many selections there are, adopt standard conventions which people recognize from other websites. Ensure that both desktop and laptop versions along with mobile views exhibit reliably consistent result displays in regard to navigating around the site – this goes hand-in-hand with being able responsive across all devices); put trial periods into action so that the specifications provide actual improvements towards an optimized positive outcome pertaining usability matters throughout any visits from guests accessing your domain name(s).

Internal linking

An effective internal linking system is essential for both users and search engines since it assists with discovering content and allows navigation around a website. Contextual links between related pages can be used to show users relevant information, as well as helping the search engine identify relationships among your webpages. For example, an online store could link associated products inside product pages, so customers are able to discover similar items easily while navigating through the site further.


It’s important when including these links that they contribute something of use – there shouldn’t be too many at once, or otherwise this may cause confusion from the user experience side, thus damaging SEO aspects on top of creating difficulties in exploring page structure by visitors’ eyesight.

URL structure and optimization

URL setup has an important role in the user experience and SEO. A clearly defined, detailed URL with a hierarchical system makes it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your website as well as how pages relate to each other. Such a properly optimized address looks like “”. To optimize URLs correctly, make sure they include: 

  • logical hierarchy, 
  • lower case letters only, 
  • dashes instead of underscores separated keywords, 
  • and are kept short but meaningful. 

When followed carefully, these best practices help create both beneficial experiences for users searching online while also aiding your site’s rankings on search engine sites.

Analyzing competitors’ website structures

Competitor analysis of website structures is an excellent way to determine optimal web strategies. Examining a competitor’s organization, navigation layout and internal links will reveal what works well in your market sector. By understanding the structure behind leading websites, it is possible to emulate their tactics and maximize impact for your own site construction.

Monitoring and improving your website structure

Maintaining a high standard of user experience and search engine visibility is an ongoing process that should not be done just once. Making sure your website remains well-structured, user-friendly and SEO optimized requires regular assessment for any necessary improvements. Tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, Clarity from Microsoft, Heatmap apps and SE Ranking’s Website Audit tool can prove to be very useful in this case when it comes to examining how users navigate the site or identifying issues with links/tags etc., by doing analysis on their behavior flow as well as page value metrics. Keeping track of performance data while incorporating changes accordingly will help you ensure consistency when it comes to both user satisfaction and top positions within SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). In short – continual upkeep guarantees good outcomes!

Common website structure mistakes to avoid

1. Unclear or confusing navigation 

  • Example: Having too many top-level menu items or illogically organized sub-menus. This makes it hard for users to find what they’re looking for.
  • Fix: Simplify the main navigation to key categories. Use clear, concise labels. Logically organize sub-pages. Provide breadcrumbs.

2. Lack of internal linking

  • Example: Having pages that aren’t linked to from anywhere else on the site. This makes them hard for users and search engines to find. 
  • Fix: Incorporate contextual internal links within page content. Have a clear linking structure between related pages.

3. Non-descriptive URLs

  • Example: Using generic page names like “page1.html” or very long URLs with ID numbers. These don’t help indicate what the page is about.
  • Fix: Use descriptive keywords in URLs. Keep them concise. Avoid unnecessary parameters.

4. Orphan pages

  • Example: Having pages with no internal links pointing to them, making them dead-ends for users and search engine crawlers.
  • Fix: Ensure all pages are integrated into the link structure. Avoid creating pages that aren’t accessible from other parts of the site. Take a look at our guide on how to find orphan pages.

5. Shallow content

  • Example: Pages with very little unique content that don’t thoroughly cover a topic. This provides little value to users or search engines.
  • Fix: Ensure pages have sufficient, unique content that comprehensively addresses the subject. Avoid duplicate or thin content.

6. Buried important pages

  • Example: Placing key content pages many clicks deep into the site structure where they are hard to access.
  • Fix: Flatten the architecture to keep important pages close to the top level. Avoid making users drill down through many subpages.

To maximize success when constructing a site’s architecture, focus on making sure there’s clarity in regard to navigation, putting together an organized system for interlinking among pages, optimizing URL structures so they provide optimum usability both by users and online indexes – these measures should be taken if one wishes to stay away from common mistakes which have negative impacts.


When constructing a website, pay close attention to detail and properly plan the structure for both user experience and search engine optimization. There are multiple types of websites that need different structures in order for them to be effective, analyzing competitor sites can help you choose which one best suits your needs. A well-structured site serves as the foundation of successful online visibility, so take some time when designing yours! Keep SEO principles in mind while taking into consideration how visitors will navigate through your pages.


  • What is an example of website structure?

    Users navigating a small website are likely to experience a linear, or sequential structure which directs them from the main page onward towards service and ultimately request/quote pages. This format is best suited for sites presenting a product, service or brand.

  • What are the 4 parts of a website?

    The components of a successful website include layout, content, call-to-action and design. All working together. For example: header, menu navigation bar images, contents for the web pages with sidebar information panels and footers containing specific card designs.

  • How does website structure affect user experience?

    Creating an effective website structure can enhance user experience, as it allows visitors to locate desired information in a quick and intuitive manner. Good navigation helps them access the material they need without any hassle or delay, offering a satisfying browsing journey.

  • How can I analyze my competitors’ website structures?

    Competitive research tools such as SE Ranking can be used to gain meaningful insights into the website structures of competitors. This type of analysis helps identify their target audience, track keyword rankings and analyze backlinks profiles.

  • What are some common website structure mistakes to avoid?

    Mistakes to steer clear of when it comes to website structure are complex navigation, inadequate internal linking and puzzling URL structures. These can really affect both the satisfaction a user has while using the site, and its visibility in search engine results.