Best Practice

Otimizing Your Website Structure for Effective Communication with Customers (and search engines)

A well-structured website not only attracts potential customers but also ensures effective communication with them.

However, website structure and hierarchy can be complex and challenging to navigate. In this guide, we will explore how to create a clear website structure by visualizing its hierarchy and identifying the primary keywords and search intent for each page. 

By following this guide, you can ensure that your website is optimized for effective communication with your customers, whether they are seeking broad informational content or specific products and services.

1. Create a Visual Representation of your website

To create a clear website structure, it's important to first document the major sections of your website and visualize how they are related to each other. You can use a spreadsheet, Google slides, or visualization tools like Mindmup and XMind to get a clear picture of the hierarchy of your website, including the higher-level general categories, the more specific subsections, and the product or service pages.

For a more in-depth analysis of your website structure, you can also use “crawl map” tools like Screaming Frog to create a visual map of your website. However, these tools are geared towards advanced users, so be prepared to spend some time learning how to use them effectively. If you're just starting out, focus on your homepage and the top five major category pages to ensure a clear and concise website structure that is easy for your users to navigate

For this how-to we will use xMind and a fictional website as an example

2. Determine your primary Keyword and Top Three Keywords for Each Node

After creating a visual representation of your website, it's important to annotate each page (node) with its primary keyword and several supporting keywords. The primary keyword and supporting keywords should align with the user's search intent for visiting that specific page. 

Pro tip: If you are having trouble coming up with three additional keywords, consider using ChatGPT. Prompt it with a specific request, such as 'Provide me with three more keywords for a webpage on massage that links to five specific massage pages, excluding any specific massage types.'

Using Xmind, you can attach a note to each page (node in the graph) and enter the primary keywords and supporting keywords, then export them into a Word document. The graph helps create a clear picture of the website structure, clearly showing which pages have notes (keywords). Having a list of keywords makes it easy to identify instances of dissimilar products sharing a single page, having two different search terms on one page, or having a single page that offers multiple services - all of which could confuse the search engine on what to prioritize. Another issue to avoid is having pages that compete for the same search terms, such as using broad general terms like "total body work" and "full body massage" on specific massage webpages. Leaving it up to the search engine to decide which to promote could lead to losing potential customers to competitors who have a clearer website structure.

In our example, we added notes to the home page and several other pages for illustrative purposes. The pages we added keyword notes to are indicated by the blue notepad icon, and you can easily export them for future reference.

Keyword Notes for Exported 

Home Page

Primary: Holistic Wellness
Keywords:  Holistic healing, Traditional medicine, Eastern wellness

Book an Appointment

Primary: Book an Appointment 
Keywords: Massage appointments Spa reservations Bodywork scheduling

SPA Services

Primary: Spa Services 
Keywords: Wellness treatments, Holistic therapies, Body and energy work


Primary: massage bodywork,
Keywords: massage therapy, reflexology, body massage 

Deep Tissue

Primary: Deep Tissue Massage 
Keywords: deep tissue therapy, deep tissue bodywork, deep pressure massage


Primary: Swedish Massage 
Keywords: relaxation massage, circulatory massage, light touch massage

Hot Stone

Primary: Hot Stone Massage
Keywords: Warm stone massage, heated stone therapy, stone massage therapy


Primary: Ashiatsu Massage 
Keywords: Ashiatsu barefoot massage, Deep compression massage, Barefoot Shiatsu massage


Primary: acupuncture
Keywords: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Meridians, Acupoints


Primary: buy wellness products 
Keywords: aromatherapy products, natural remedies, wellness essentials.

As you are selecting keywords for each page, keep in mind that this step is not meant to be an exhaustive keyword analysis. Instead, its purpose is to identify primary keywords and user search intent that will optimize your website structure and hierarchy. Keyword optimization will come later in the process.

As you examine each page (node), pay close attention to its keywords, keeping in mind the main keywords and user search intent. Be sure to avoid the top 5 mistakes to avoid when structuring a website,

3) Make the necessary adjustments

Adding or removing pages as necessary is essential to optimizing your website structure. This ensures that you can provide a seamless experience to users who are looking for broad informational content or those seeking specific products or services. One common mistake to avoid is combining different topics with distinct search terms on the same page, such as "acupuncture" and "massage", which may cause confusion for search engines and users. Additionally, it's crucial to differentiate between broad and narrow searches, such as "spa services" and "massages", to provide the most relevant and useful results for your visitors. By carefully aligning your website content with users' search intent, you can minimize bounce rates and enhance engagement, ultimately driving more traffic, improving your website's ranking, and increasing sales.

Note: In this example, the visual hierarchy of the website was illustrated using Microsoft PowerPoint. We utilize a range of readily available tools that enable anyone to analyze their website structure, regardless of their technical expertise.  

Next Steps 

The next step is to create the semantic core for each page. New to the concept of semantic core? Read the Unlocking the Power of Semantic Core  and then dive on in and create your semantic core.

Preston Derrick