The importance of site structure for the search engine – Site structure training

In the previous video, we explained
why site structure is important for your users. We talked about navigation,
user experience and user signals. In this video, we’ll explore
the other side of the coin: the importance of site structure
for the search engine. We’ll focus less on organizing
and classifying your content and more on internal linking here. Because internal linking – and by that we mean linking from one page
on your website to another page on your website – helps the search engines to index
and rank the pages of your site. So, let’s start with indexing. In the first module of this course,
we explained what Google does. Remember that Google consists
of a crawler, an index and an algorithm? And remember that search engines
like Google follow links? For Google to know of the existence
of your new website, there first has to be a link from another site
– one Google already knows – to your site. Once Google has found your site, it can start crawling the internal links
that connect all your pages. Those internal links are part of how Google
experiences the structure of your website. And all those links allow Google
to index your entire website. So if we have a new post out on
content maintenance for SEO, we link to it from this article. And we make sure our new blog posts
are linked to from our home page. That’s how Google knows a page exists. Google follows the link
from the page it already knows. Then, all the content, the headings,
all the links are saved in the index. In other words,
your internal linking structure directly influences whether Google
can find your pages. We’ll explore internal linking in detail
in a later module. Your site structure is not only important
to get your site indexed. That’s only the first step. Your site structure can also give Google
important clues about where to find
the most important content on your site. It determines whether a search engine
can understand what your site is about and what you’re selling. Your internal linking structure
is one way to show Google what content is VERY important
and what content is less important. You do this by linking
to those important pages often. Very important pages
should simply receive more links. Why are we doing this again,
you might ask. Well, if you don’t tell Google
which pages are most important, all of your pages
will be competing for attention. You’ll actually compete with your own
pages for a high ranking in Google. Let me illustrate this. At Yoast, we tend to write
a lot about SEO. For example, we have multiple blog posts
about keyword research. Each post covers a different aspect. For specific search queries,
like “What is a focus keyword?”, Google will try to rank the post
that answers this question best. For less specific search queries,
like “keyword research”, Google will find it much harder to figure out
what the searcher is actually looking for. You could help Google by telling it “This is my
most important post or page about this topic”. So in our case, our internal
linking structure shows Google that the “ultimate guide to keyword
research” is most important. Lastly, there’s a third reason
why internal linking is important for ranking. This has to do with the context
in which the links are embedded. Google has become better and better
at recognizing the relevance of a link. It values a link from a page
with the same topic higher, for example. So if we link to our “ultimate guide
to keyword research” from a post on keyword research,
this would be better for SEO than if we link from a page that discusses
an unrelated feature of our plugin. We’ll explore this in detail later on. OK, that was a lot of information. Just remember what I’m going to say next
and you’ll be fine for now. A good site structure helps Google
navigate your site and index all your pages. And a good site structure
lets Google know which pages are most important
and should be ranked. And lastly: internal links are important
to get your site indexed, but the context of internal links
is important to get your site ranked.

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