Poor navigation structure can damage your SEO

By Yuval Ginor, Dec 16,2020
Poor navigation structure can damage your SEO
Poor navigation structure can damage SEO efforts. Identical attributes and values may have a negative effect on your site performance with search engines, below are the ideas how to avoid it.
The main purpose of site navigation, besides providing your customers a great user experience, is to increase the store’s traffic and overall sales for popular long tailed keywords. How does it do that? By allowing customers to refine their searches, and zero in on these keywords and phrases. By properly adjusting your site navigation tool, you can take advantage of the long tail to better optimize your SEO.


Site navigation has the capacity to automatically replicate the long tail phrases customers use in their search engine queries, to establish a complex system of internal links. When set up properly, site navigation creates a link hierarchy, beginning at the website’s homepage, moving down to additional main pages, and so on, down to the specific product pages. This way, the long tail keywords remain relevant on every level of the website.


Maintaining this hierarchy and relevancy of long tail keywords is highly recommended to sellers, as it gives your store an advantage in the competitive world of ecommerce.


In our previous article, “Improve your SEO with site navigation,” we discussed the importance of site navigation’s attributes and values, and long tail keywords in search queries. In this article, we will discuss how the same attributes and values may have the reverse effect - harming your online store’s search engine performances.


Allow for Search Engine Indexing


First, you want search engine bots to be able to crawl the pages created by the site navigation tool in your store, in order to index them. Otherwise, no matter how good your products are, and how relevant the attributes you offer, your store’s search engine performance, and traffic, will suffer.


Many websites nowadays use JavaScript in order to create attributes and values. However, this may cause a problem for Google search engine bots to crawl your website, since some significant ecommerce functions are not executed by the Goggle bots.


For example, Google doesn’t execute form functions, which are commonly used by developers to create site navigation. In addition, if a URL contains a hashtag, Google will not execute it, unless certain conditions are met.


Another issue arises when site navigation allows customers to select multiple values per each attribute. In this case, the number of pages created by the site navigation tool will be overwhelming, covering every possible combination. This also hinders the crawlers’ job, who might end up indexing irrelevant, seldom visited pages for nothing. It is recommended in such cases, for SEO purposes, to limit the indexing only to pages that represent a single selection.


For instance, if customers chooses both “Red” and “Blue” in the “Color” attribute, it is better to index only the pages representing only red, and only blue, but prevent the indexing of result pages for red and blue together.


Keyword Optimization


After you allow search engine bots to efficiently crawl your online store and index the most attractive content, the next step is to improve the keyword implementation in the result pages.


Each result page, corresponding to an attribute selection, must contain keywords. The keywords should be apparent, and should appear in the page header, title tag, the page’s metadata and in the content displayed in the page. This will help the page appear unique and streamline the indexation process of the page.


For example, an online store that sells hand watches may offer such attributes as “Display” and “Material.” If a customer selects both the “Analog” and “Gold” values, respectively, the result page should indicate in its header, tags, metadata and content that this is the page for analog gold watches, and not only for “watches”, “analog watches” or “gold watches.”


It is important for the site navigation tool to have the ability to change and adjust keywords for attribute result pages, and make them unique and specific to the content displayed in them.


There are certain platforms that cease to adjust and change the pages’ SEO metadata mentioned above, once the page no longer sends server requests. This is a feature of site navigation that is intended to increase the page’s loading speed, but it prevents search engines from detecting the content changes that occurred in the page.


After you make sure that each result page contains unique keyword indicators, you need to make sure that the indicators have true value. Conducting a keyword research that relates to the industry in which you operate will help you detect and discover the most popular and useful attributes for your customers. Ensure your site navigation tool offers your customers the use of these attributes.


Lets stay with the example above, of the store selling watches. If your keyword research tells you that customers are looking for manual movement analog gold watches, then it is recommended that you add a “Movement” attribute, which will offer different movements, just as your customers want.


Adding the “Movement” attribute to your site navigation will help your website to instantly create result pages containing SEO indicators that correspond exactly to the long tail queries for watches that have multiple attributes.


Trust that your customers know what they are looking for. Even if they don’t have a specific product in mind, they know what specific attributes they are after, and in order to succeed you must help them find it. Such site navigation optimization as discussed here is very important, but still, surprisingly, many online stores tend to disregard these issues. This is where you have the opportunity to get a significant advantage over the competition, and attract eager customers by offering them a quick and efficient way to find what they are looking for.


Inserting Additional Attributes


As suggested above, it is highly recommended to conduct keyword research that will help you find new opportunities, and let you know which attributes you need you add to your site navigation. However, the work does not stop with just adding an attribute. In order for results to be displayed after the attribute selection, the products must be properly tagged for their corresponding attributes.


If none of the products in your online watch store are tagged for the “Movement” attribute, then adding this attribute will entail the tagging of every product in your store respectively. This is a daunting task indeed when done manually, and one by one. Therefore, it is highly recommended to automatically tag the whole inventory in one process, rather that painstakingly tag each product with the appropriate tags. Lisuto offers a range of solutions for automatic tagging that will send your site navigation to the next level.

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