Web taxonomy may sound like a complicated term, but it is used by SEO experts when they describe how to format a website to work best for businesses and customers. To understand more about how users interact with your website and find distinctive pages, you'll need to know how web taxonomy works and figure out the best way to structure your web pages for a streamlined experience.
We'll define what web taxonomy is and how your website's URL impacts the overall structure.
What Is Web Taxonomy?
Web taxonomy, or URL taxonomy, describes how your web pages fit into your website's architecture. They are separated into content silos based on how you configure your URLs.
First, let's break down a URL to show you how web taxonomy is determined. A URL contains:
- A protocol – this directs the transfer of information between the web browser and the host. For the most part, your website should have HTTPS as its protocol.
- A domain – the name of your website
- A top-level domain or TLD – this explains the geographic origin of the page or its general function. A common example is .com, meaning commercial, or .org meaning organization.
- A subfolder – is the name for a webpage that contains one or more child pages. For example, a common subfolder is /blog which would be a page that has links to all of your website's blog posts.
- A slug – the name of the individual webpage
You will be in charge of naming sections of your website and organizing slugs within your subfolders to represent your website accurately.
Why Web Taxonomy Is Important
Starting out with a small website comprised of only a few pages might not show you how important having a well-organized web taxonomy is. However, as your website expands and adds new content, it's easy to lose track of pages quickly. If you can't even find what you're looking for, imagine how your customers will feel staring down mountains of pages that don't link up in neat subfolders.
Web crawlers also need to be able to crawl your website and organize its contents before your website is available through a search engine. Web crawlers need to go through your web pages and index the content so that when a user types a search term into the engine, it will know which pages have the most relevant results. Obviously, you want your website to be discoverable, which means you need to make it easy for web crawlers.
Both web crawlers and customers would rather deal with a website organized by topic, or at least related topics with a clear relationship. It's best to have an expansive parent page that links to many other pages, as long as those pages are all related to the parent page topic and expand on it in a meaningful way.
For web crawlers, understanding the relationship between the content pages is important to help the search engine know when to display one of your pages.
For topics that are related but don't work in a parent-child webpage relationship, another way to demonstrate their interconnectedness is through internal linking. Often, calls to action (CTAs) are internal links but don't stop there. If you mention one of your products or services in a blog post, go the extra mile and link it to the product page from the blog.
Internal links are also useful when a user has a question that is either partially answered by a webpage or given an answer that leads to another question. Internal links can help them find a different page that addresses the new question or gives a different perspective on the original question. However, internal linking isn't just beneficial for users.
Search engine web crawlers can also further refine their understanding of your website overall and an individual page by evaluating places with internal links and where those links go. You can't just start adding random internal links; you need to ensure they have proper context so that the search engine knows why you're linking to the other page and how it is related to the initial page.
Tips for Configuring Your Web Taxonomy
The first aspect of your web taxonomy is its scalability. Generally, businesses create websites with the intent to expand as the business grows and adds more products, services, or features. However you plan to set up your website initially, you should create subfolders that can easily contain new pages so that your website always stays organized as you grow.
Depending on the types of products you offer, you may have a parent page for products and several subfolders for categories like sneakers, flip flops, and high heels. As you add more products, they can fit into those subfolders without issue.
This is also true for businesses that have multiple storefronts. You have options about organizing your locations by state, city, zip code, county, or some combination of those. If you are planning to open more stores in the future, it might make sense to have a subfolder per state and secondary subfolders per city, but that can get complicated quite quickly.
You'll have to consider what is easiest for your users to follow. Using that example, someone looking at your website should find the page called "locations," then find their state and click on it, which could lead to another subfolder page where the user can select their location. From there, they could find the storefront located most conveniently.
Furthering the Conversion Process
An important part of conversion is leading a user through the marketing funnel from initial awareness of your brand to making a purchase. This often involves some research on their part about your products or services, and ideally, your website should be providing the information they need. This can come in the form of reviews from other customers or tutorials about using your products' features.
Whatever questions your potential customers are asking, the way you answer them, and how you direct them is directly related to how you organize your web taxonomy. The deeper into your website's structure a customer goes, the further down the marketing funnel they are, and you should customize your content accordingly. Your website's main landing page should be light and cater to high-level awareness of your brand.
As users proceed through the structure and reach blog posts, it's time to delve into more information about how your company works and what you produce. As they near the end of the article or move between pages, your calls-to-action should incite them into making a purchase since they're nearing the bottom of the funnel.
This is why the page of a shopping cart is often the bare essentials: your customer has added products with the intention of buying. You don't want to distract them at the last second with advertisements for other options or links to other pages on your website. It's better for them to focus on the straight sections to enter payment information and confirm their purchase.
Using efficient, AI-powered software to create and maintain high-quality landing pages is the best way to start organizing your web taxonomy. Once you have a good starting place, it's easy to branch out from there into straightforward subfolders that can scale efficiently and keep your content indexed to make it easy for users and web crawlers to access.
Contact us to learn more about optimizing your web taxonomy and helping users navigate your website in a snap.