The answer is to make sure that your important pages are no more than three clicks away and that your site structure provides context about how your pages are related. For your e-commerce site this means labeling products with categories and sub-categories, then exposing these categories in an intuitive site navigation.
In a Google webmaster session, John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, said that to provide enough context you should structure your site in a way that makes it easy for Google to crawl from one URL to another relevant URL. For instance, make it easy to move from a
/shoes/ category page to a
/womens-shoes/ category page.
Many factors account for the SEO health of an e-commerce site such as page load time and content quality. Still, e-commerce site structure will lay the foundation for better user experience and navigation throughout your site.
What John Mueller mentioned supports e-commerce site structure best practices for SEO, which is using a hierarchical structure.
Websites should be set in a hierarchical structure with the top being the home page, sub-areas such as top-level pages and category pages being the next, product pages being the next, and so on.
This structure helps users navigate your site and enhances your visibility in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). An optimized site structure is one of the signals that provides results like Nike has achieved in SERPs.
Good user experience is the key to SEO, so you should set up breadcrumbs. A breadcrumb is shown at the top of a page to help site visitors navigate to previous sections of your site easily.
Furthermore, your menu should follow the hierarchical structure. Large e-commerce sites such as Amazon follow that same structure despite having many categories and products. On Amazon, you can access product pages in three clicks.
Your menu should adhere to this structure:
Homepage > categories > subcategories > products
URLs and Interlinking
Your URL establishes the relationship between your content. Each section and sub-section provides search engine bots with more context. For example, given the URL
https://www.nordstrom.com/browse/women/shoes/ you can infer that:
- there are products to browse (
- There are products for sale for women (
- There are shoes for sale for women (
This also follows the best-practice hierarchy.
Finally, the e-commerce site structure is incomplete without good internal linking (i.e. interlinking). Search engines can more easily discover your pages when you have internal linking in place. It ensures that PageRank flows more efficiently through your site and increases visitors’ dwell time on your site, contributing to your SEO.