Not to be confused with server architecture, site architecture is the structure of your website including the way the pages link together, the levels that categories interact with each other (or don’t), and other ways of organizing your content.
Your site hierarchy is a visualization of different levels of pages from the homepage down. Each level represents one click from the homepage. To make the content on your website easy to find, each page should be no more than 2-3 clicks away. This makes it easier not only for visitors, but also for search engine spiders to discover all of your content.
If fewer clicks is the goal, you may think well, why don’t we just link every page from the homepage? This is called a flat architecture, and for small sites under 10 pages, it can be an effective strategy. However, if the ratio of links to content starts to favor the links, Google and other search engines will consider the site content to be of poor quality.
Another site architecture strategy is the use of content silos. The original concept was to create folders that defined what category of content exists there, such as www.example.com/economic-theory/widget1.html. At the time this helped search engines classify your content correctly. With advances in Google AI, this type of folder structure is not necessary for search engines, but can still help site visitors by giving them visual clues as to what kind of page they are on.
Siloing content is still in use, but instead of focusing on the URL and folder structure, silos can now be created by internally linking from other relevant pages. Search engines are now smart enough to be able to judge intent, so if widget1.html and widget2.html are linked from a page higher in the site hierarchy called economic-theory.html, they would both be considered part of that silo.
Site architecture becomes even more important on large-scale websites, not only for users and search engines, but also for content developers. When one area of the website begins performing poorly, you must consider if your pages are being found, if Google is classifying them correctly, or even if they are miscategorized.
201 Creative can help you design a site architecture from scratch for a new website, or even help you restructure your existing site. In an architectural overhaul, we have the technical expertise to make sure internal links are pointing to the right places, orphan pages are not created, and we account for external links by redirecting visitors to their new destinations.