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Website Architecture for eCommerce SEO

Consider your eCommerce site's architecture when looking for an eCommerce solution as it can help you in terms of SEO but also makes user navigation a lot easier.

Alex E. Pjetra (Product Marketing Executive) Written by Alex E. Pjetra (Product Marketing Executive) 9 Dec 2019 in B2B eCommerce

Website architecture may sound like a very technical or hard to understand topic. However, I can guarantee that you will most likely change your mind after reading this blog post.

Website architecture is undoubtedly very important for any site, let alone eCommerce sites. In simple terms, a site’s architecture is how the pages on that site are organised and arranged.

In fact, a website’s architecture is even more important for eCommerce sites that have way more pages than the average informational or blog website.

That is the main reason why you need to ensure that your eCommerce website’s architecture makes it easy for both visitors and search engines to find all of your pages.

To achieve better results for your eCommerce site, you should have the following points in mind:

  • Website Architecture - Golden Rule #1
  • Website Architecture - Golden Rule #2
  • Mobile-Friendly Menu
  • Add a Breadcrumb Menu
  • Create a User Sitemap

Now, let’s get started with our 2 golden rules.

 

Website Architecture - Golden Rule #1

Consider simplicity and scalability as part of your website’s architecture

In general, we all thrive to find simple solutions to complex problems. That’s why the simpler a solution is the easier it’s going to be for the person using it.

In the same sense, the simpler your eCommerce website’s structure and navigation are, the better your ability to scale will be and the better the user experience will be.

Also, search engines like Google hugely depend on a website’s structure to help it discover all of your web pages. Without proper structure, you always run the risk of forgetting or omitting to index some of your pages.

However, submitting a sitemap alone is not going to be adequate if the structure of your website is not to the required level. The better your website’s structure is, the easier it will be for search engines to understand, better index and rank your eCommerce site.

 

Website Architecture - Golden Rule #2

Your eCommerce site’s architecture is a key factor that can either make or break your rankings.

Your product pages should not be more than 3 clicks away from your homepage.

A good website structure means two things.

Firstly, as already mentioned, it helps search engines to easily index and rank all of your pages.

Secondly, it can exponentially improve the user experience. That means your customers will be more satisfied as they easily look for and locate your products.

That being said, let’s take an example that will allow you to better understand the importance behind this.

Imagine you are a customer trying to buy a product and you visit a website. The product you are looking for is 10 clicks away from the homepage. In many cases, you may even get lost as you navigate from one page to another.

How likely are you to just leave the website after so many clicks because it is so hard to find the product you are looking for? As a customer, I would say that it is very likely that I would leave that site.

Now, let’s take a look at how a well-structured and navigable eCommerce website should look like.

 

well-structured eCommerce website architecture diagram

 

This architecture allows your site to be easily navigable by users when looking for your products. It also helps with link authority which is concentrated in the site’s category and product pages.

This authority contributes to a better ranking as it allows Google to easier find and index each page.

This is why a website’s architecture design should be taken into account well in advance of its creation.

 

Mobile-Friendly Menu

Having a mobile-friendly menu helps in an improved website architecture which also creates a better user experience which is essential.

Nowadays, most web traffic comes from mobile devices. According to a study, in 2018, 52.2% of all web traffic came from mobile devices. That number is expected to increase over the years.

That means the more attention you pay to how easy it is for mobile users to navigate your eCommerce website the better the user experience and the more traffic you will be getting.

In the image below, you can see how a website is displayed based on the device it is accessed from.

 

eCommerce displayed on various devices

 

This leads us to the following suggestion. Having a mobile-friendly website and an easy to navigate menu is essential for better website architecture.

Replicating the navigation menu that you have for your desktop site is definitely not a good choice. Screen space on mobile devices is pretty limited and therefore, you need to consider recreating it to fit its purpose.

 

Breadcrumb Menu

A breadcrumb menu consists of internal links and is usually displayed at the top of the page.

It is useful as it allows visitors to quickly navigate back and forth to pages and/or compare products.

It also allows them to go back to the previous category, subcategory, product pages or even the home page.

In the screenshot below, you can see how breadcrumbs in the red container are displayed.

 

Breadcrumb menu example

 

In general, breadcrumbs help your eCommerce website in terms of the following reasons:

  • They reduce the number of clicks required to navigate to higher-level pages.
  • They help users locate their location on the site.
  • They help with natural internal linking.
  • They improve discoverability and navigation of the site
  • They help with SEO as it provides you with another way of adding your keywords.

A breadcrumb menu not only improves user navigation as already mentioned but it also increases the chances of being featured in SERPs as a rich snippet when properly configured as part of your site’s architecture strategy.

That is a clear advantage that increases the click-through rate of your customers when they search for products.

 

Create a User Sitemap

Regardless of the type of your website, it’s always a good practice for better website architecture results to create a sitemap page for users.

Note that a user sitemap is not the same as an XML sitemap that is submitted to search engines.

A user-sitemap is a page that displays all important internal links in one place. For eCommerce sites, that means that you should display all your category and subcategory links.

Check out below what a user sitemap looks like on hp’s website.

 

user site map example

 

That allows users to quickly and easily locate what they are looking for.

User sitemaps are usually found as a footer link where customers can also find other relevant and useful links too.

As a result, user sitemaps help with both the overall user experience and the website’s architecture.

 

Conclusion

The architecture of an eCommerce website is a major factor when it comes to better results. In general, eCommerce sites can grow relatively quickly but when that transformation phase takes place, you need to ensure that your site’s structure is good.

As you scale, if your site’s structure is poor, it will be more difficult and expensive to rectify it.

A well-defined website architecture not only helps users to find their desired products easier but also helps the search engines crawl your eCommerce site, understand it, and finally index it in a more efficient way.

When thinking about an integrated eCommerce solution, consider the Aphix WebShop, an award-winning eCommerce solution that meets all the criteria to great website architecture.