Sitemaps: think simple!
Linear, network, pyramid or star… there are many sitemap structures for a website. But if we had to summarise it with one golden rule, keep it simple. The more complex navigation is for users, the less likely they are to find what they’re looking for… and therefore stay on the site. Ideally you need to follow the ‘three-click rule’: all content must be accessible within three mouse clicks. This means you need a clear, simple sitemap, and your menu has to have three hierarchy levels as a maximum. That doesn’t mean you can’t add hypertext links in the pages’ text in order to promote internal links, thus optimising your site’s SEO – in fact this comes highly recommended!
User-centric, right to the end of the sitemap
Facilitating user navigation is one thing, but planning a sitemap according to his priorities is even better. This requires you to take a step back on the proposed offer because it’s not a case of thinking product; rather you need to ask yourself: “What’s the user going to type into Google to get to my page?”. Prospects do not necessarily have in mind the name of a product or a brand; above all they are seeking a solution to their need. Sitemaps need to follow this way of thinking. Take a look at the sitemap of : we don’t see the name of the product, Fairways Debt, in the menu but the need: “Debt management”. Page content must also follow this approach and meet users’ expectations.
How does SEO fit into this?
If the sitemap responds to the challenges mentioned above, it will already be “SEO-friendly” for Google. But SEO is a holistic system, in which every detail counts. An efficient sitemap is worthless if the content of the pages does not follow the same approach.
In fact, each page must answer a specific enquiry (set of keywords) corresponding to the content of the page. Note that you will be in competition with all other pages that have selected this same enquiry. It is therefore essential to choose it according to the competition to ensure visibility and a contribution of traffic in the mid-term.
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