Today, a strong robust eCommerce website is the key to boost your online sales. And, a good website structure is one of the factors defining how strong and competitive your website is.
You are working on a new eCommerce site or enhancing an existing one, the website structure should be one of the priorities in your plan. As an eCommerce site would be expanding with a large number of pages, you need a solid site structure to ensure that your customer can find out what they want in the least possible number of clicks.
Benefits of a good eCommerce website structure
A well-organized site structure can bring many benefits to your eCommerce business:
- Optimize SEO: search engine crawlers are able to crawl the website faster, discover more pages. Your site links are shown in the search engine results pages (SERPS) when someone is searching for your company on Google. This means better brand awareness and web traffic.
- More conversions: A well organized and defined site structure is crucial for user experience. The fewer clicks visitors have to make to find what they want, the higher possibility they would end up with purchases.
Now let’s check the 7 tips to enhance the eCommerce site structure
1. Build your initial structure with no more than 3 levels
An eCommerce website should have a hierarchical structure.
According to a study (A comparison of three-level menu navigation structures for web design), the three-level menu layout is the fastest and most optimal to navigate.
Your home page is always at the top of the hierarchy and below you can have 2 or 3 levels before you reach the bottom of the hierarchy – your product pages.
Take look at the above diagram to visualize the optimal web hierarchy for better structure, UX, and SEO.
You also need to take into account your keyword plan when building your web structure. Keywords can help you to define your titles and descriptions, and how your website should be organized to ensure SEO.
2. Keep the Menu Simple and Replicates the Site Structure
The navigation i.e. the menus should strictly follow the structure. A good structure can help your navigation will be easy to understand and follow.
Your navigation structure and menus should
Be simple – As a rule of thumb, your customers can access any page from the homepage in no more than 3 clicks. Avoid adding pages to the menu or fly-out submenus that are unnecessary.
Side menus are helpful – To keep the main menu short and simple, while you have many product categories, multiple variants, and complicated information, side menus are your savers. You can group your products in categories to show on the main menu. After choosing a category, you can show your customer a landing page with a side menu to help them find the exact products they want.
3. Ensure your URL structure is friendly with SEO
A good URL structure must be able to help both users and search engines navigate your website.
The site structure and URL structure are closely related since both have to accurately represent each other.
For example, if you have an eCommerce store selling fashion products and have a section for women skirts, then your site structure can be like this:
Home page / women / skirts / mini-skirts
And your URL structure like this:
www.example.com/women/skirts and www.example.com/women/mini-skirt
When a word is removed from the URL then the page www.examples/women should display all available women fashion products.
Optimize the URL structure of your eCommerce website with some tips below
#1 – Keep your URLs short
#2- Remove all unnecessary characters (numbers that are unmeaningful with users)
#3 – Do include attributes of your products in the URL. For example, if you are selling “black pleated skirt”, then you can make your product URL to be: /skirt-pleated-black
In short, include product attributes in the URL that may be used as search keywords.
#4 – Separate keywords in the URL with “-“ (dashes) and not underscores
#5 – Only lowercase characters and no spaces
4. Creating a separate menu for desktop and mobile if possible
Unquestionably, most of your traffic will come from mobile. And, the way mobile users navigate your website can be different from the desktop ones. This means you should pay more attention to your web navigation on mobiles.
Because of the limited screen space on mobile devices, reuse the desktop menu should be the last option to choose.
You can consider creating a separate menu for mobile and be pickier about what to show on your mobile menus.
5. Create and Add a User Sitemap
User sitemap contributes greatly to any site navigation experience.
A user sitemap is different from the XML sitemap that is submitted to search engines.
A good user-sitemap page is a single page showing all the important categories and subcategories of a website. Users can find easily what they want with this page.
Here is a nice example from Apple’s online store.
Usually, you can place the user sitemap on the footer.
Moreover, the user sitemap can be a good base for you to understand your site structure and how you can improve your site navigation.
6. Your internal link structure matters
Your internal link architecture needs to facilitate seamless navigation from one page to another. Building the internal link means linking pages of specific topics to other pages with relevant content. This allows the search engines to realize your topics, group your pages, and rank them appropriately.
There are 6 ways to build internal link architecture for eCommerce websites:
- Landing pages for specific brands: An easy and popular way of a link to multiple categories, specifically with brand keywords in the links. These pages will show a general description of the brand, the products they offer, and then link to all of the appropriate categories/products under that brand.
- Displaying featured Items: A must-have section for your eCommerce site. You can put the most searched for and most popular products below the search bar. If you’re displaying images of your products, be sure you have anchor text (text links) to the product as well that includes keywords.
- Create Buying Guides: These guides can act as a great source of premium content and allow you to easily feature certain products and categorized them within context.
- Showing related Items: You should also be displaying related products when a visitor is on a product details page. By this way, the search engines to index your products more easily and will also create an internal linking structure.
- View Products from This Brand: When on a details page, let’s say for a pair of running shoes, you might want to offer your visitor other suggestions via a text link. Example: “Running shoes by Nike”. You could list out the other brands you offer for similar products. This is like related items, but more so “Related Brands”.
- Create a Blog or Articles: This content can create more trust and enhance brand love. Moreover, you can insert product page links under the blog articles. This technique can drive you a considerable amount of sales.
7. Add the breadcrumbs of your site
They play a key role in guiding the search engine bots while indexing your website content and reflect the structure of your eCommerce site.
These breadcrumbs help in influencing the SEO activity of your site drastically for better online visibility and search engine rankings. It can also help in improving the internal link architecture for better navigation of visitors throughout your site.
Your eCommerce website can quickly grow in size and if you don’t have a solid structure from the beginning, you can easily get lost.
A well-defined structure will help users find what they want fast (in less than 3 clicks), and ensure SEO for your eCommerce site.
Arestós is a full-cycle e-Commerce website development company. We have a wealth of experience in helping clients across industries build eCommerce websites that convert. Moreover, our team also can help you to optimize your current online shops to enhance your customer experience, be more competitive, and boost sales. Contact us now to find the best solution for your online stores.