Search engines look at several factors when determining how your website should be ranked. Site navigation is one of the major elements that can influence your search engine ranking. By applying the best practices and optimizing your site’s navigation, you can give your visitors an easier way to get around your website so that they can find the things and information they need—and this can ultimately boost your SEO campaign. Here are the best practices you can do to improve your navigation and maximize SEO value.
Think about strategic placement.
Where you place your navigation area on a page is crucial. Experts recommend that you use (1) a top navigation under the header, (2) a left navigation as a vertical column, or (3) a combination of both, where the top area is for primary navigation and the left side is for secondary navigation. If you have several sub-categories, it may be smarter to position your major navigation on the left. Most e-commerce websites follow the left-hand placement to allow their customers to browse sub-categories more efficiently and to avoid a cluttered look. A good example of this is Amazon, which gradually migrated its navigation to the left due to its constantly expanding categories.
Be mindful of the number of elements that are present in your navigation.
Visitors may be overwhelmed when there are too many possible categories and choices on your website. To ensure an effective navigation scheme, present only the crucial categories that are likely to appeal to most of your visitors. Menus like ‘Help’ and ‘Contact Us’ are best placed on the top right-hand corner of a page instead of under the main navigation menus.
If you can, limit the number of items on the main navigation and sub menus to seven items, which is the average number of elements humans can remember and process at the same time, according to studies. Go beyond that and you could be at risk of overwhelming your visitors.
Use drop-down menus.
Most website visitors tend to be finicky and would rather explore websites that do not require them to click on a lot of items. Provide drop-down menus that can help them navigate the categories and their respective sub-categories with ease.
Use easy words.
Avoid technical speak, jargons, and other words that are not intuitive. You want your average visitor to understand you right away. Consider dumbing down the words or replacing them with common synonyms whenever possible. Test alternatives to determine which version of the word can get more attention and clicks.
Use expanding sub-menus for left navigation.
Consider an expanding tree-like left side navigation menu to appear less cluttered and to avoid overwhelming visitors with numerous choices. It may help visitors understand how services and products are organized, too.
Have a “You are here” function.
You can do this by using a different color for a tab or menu to highlight where a visitor currently is in the navigation. This could help visitors when they have reached the deepest areas of your site or if they found your page through a search engine.
Make your logo the door to your homepage.
Every page should have a logo that can be clicked and lead the visitor to your homepage.
Create a site map.
The site map must be well-organized and accessible through a link on your website’s footer. It must break down every section and list the pages that are under each one. Alternatively, you may show the sub-sections if you have an ecommerce site or a very deep website structure.
Use the breadcrumb tactic.
This function can be offered in your main content area’s top left portion. The breadcrumb function depicts the parent sections of the page where someone is currently on, so the visitor can understand where they. This can be beneficial when somebody accesses your page from a search engine.
Check for broken links.
These links could hurt your site and affect your link credibility. Google doesn’t like broken links as it makes for poor user experience, so be sure to remove them as necessary or fix them for your users.
SEOValley™ applies all the best practices to improve your site navigation and optimize your website for maximum SEO value. Get in touch with us for a free SEO analysis, which will be conducted by our seasoned and innovative optimization experts.