If you are currently building a brand new website then now is the perfect time to plan its structure. Getting a website’s taxonomy correct before it’s built will save a lot of time and money, also landing pages will be in place to attract search engine traffic or to be used immediately for paid advertising.
Breaking Topics Down into Sub-Topics
There’s no right or wrong way to break topics down on a website, you can separate web pages by category, problem type, location, price, etc. The most important point is to have separate web pages for each topic and sub-topics on the website.
Let’s say you have a website offering a “tree cutting” service for example, creating a mind map of all the topics will look something like this:
Breaking all the topics down into sub-topics gives an ideal taxonomy of how the new web pages should be laid out and categorised.
Let’s look in depth at one of the branches and each step along the way which represents a new web page:
- Homepage – The first web page for the tree cutters website containing links to all the main categories
- Homepage > Tree Guides – A main category “hub” page for all the tree cutting guides; this page will attract people interested in the general topic
- Homepage > Tree Guides > Tree Diseases – A sub-category page containing generic information about tree diseases to look out for; another topic people search for
- Homepage > Tree Guides > Tree Diseases > Dutch Elm Disease – An information page specifically about Dutch Elm Disease for trees; this will attract people using very specific searches related to this topic
Let’s look at a different branch which represents the services offered by the tree cutters:
- Homepage > Tree Cutting Service – A main category “hub” page for all the tree cutting services; this page is the most valuable page on the website as it links to all the main services offered
- Homepage > Tree Cutting Service > Hedges – A specific service page; this is optimised for people looking for a specific service offered and is very likely to generate leads
Different Types of Web Pages and How They Help SEO
You may be wondering why a website offering a tree cutting service, such as in the example above would bother writing about tree diseases which is unrelated to the business. Below are different types of web pages that will occur when breaking topics down and how they can help towards SEO:
- Information Pages can focus on niche search terms and can be really helpful for visitors which may attract external backlinks. These pages can also sell a service or product after giving out the information and internally link to important category pages passing on more SEO value towards them. There’s usually no limit to the number of information pages which can be created but when thinking of a site taxonomy it’s important to categorise them all so there isn’t a huge list of pages within the navigation menu. Whilst useful in attracting traffic and links these pages are not useful for paid advertising as the visitors are unlikely to convert into customers.
- Category Pages pages usually focus on generic keywords and can bring in valuable traffic to a website. Category pages lead to a related group of products or services or sometimes more precise ‘sub-category’ pages. These pages should be the main focus for link building and should regularly have internal links pointing towards them whenever the topic is mentioned on a new page or post, this way they will be the most likely page to be picked and promoted by search engines for the topic they cover. Being an ideal place for people to enter the website on they act as key landing pages and can be used for paid advertising.
- Product/Service Pages should focus on a single product or service offered and attract very niche or long tail keywords. Having all products or services just listed on the category pages means that there is no specific page about a specific product or service meaning that search engines are far less likely to rank it highly in the results. Using unique content on product/service pages allows you to add in specific information such as locations, colours, sizes, types, reviews, etc. so when people search for uber-specific products or services then you are more likely to appear in the results. A general rule of thumb for paid advertising is to add products into shopping platforms such as Google Shopping and to use traditional text, banner or video ads towards service pages.
- Blog/News Pages are pages which can provide information, promote products/services or just showcase any news about the business. Having freedom away from the main website’s navigation menus, allows blogs or news articles to focus on any topic, no matter how niche or unrelated. Blogging can help draw in niche traffic, attract external backlinks, add additional content to the website and tie up nicely with social media marketing efforts.
Different Levels of Intent
People may be searching for generic information on a topic, guides on a topic or an actual product or service related to a topic. If you think about all the different levels of intent about a specific topic it will present a few unique web pages which all help towards building SEO.
For example let’s focus on the topic “Hedges”, different levels of intent include:
- What are hedges? (information page)
- How do you grow hedges? (information page)
- How do you trim hedges? (information page with links to services)
- How do you remove hedges? (information page with links to services)
- Hedge size problems (information page with links to services)
- Hedge trimming service (key service page)
- Hedge removal service (key service page)
This gives another branch of sub-topics and a new range of landing pages:
These pages should all lead eventually to the key service pages and it’s important to remember that people may enter the website landing on any page along the route.
It’s easy to go a little over the top with the number of sub-topics, for example the sub-topic “How do you trim hedges?” is similar to the topics “How do you cut hedges?”, “Hedge maintenance”, “Hedge trimming guide” etc.
The most popular keyword should be used to group very similar topics, having many similar pages is bad for usability and can have a negative impact on SEO. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool for finding the most popular keywords used.
Putting Together the Website Taxonomy
You can show web developers your ideal taxonomy using free mind map software such as Coggle (used in the examples above) or using a 2-D structured format on a spreadsheet.
If you need help with keyword research or any other help towards creating a website taxonomy then please contact Hallam or call 0800 622 6100.