Improve SEO through Site Structure


How to get a higher search engine ranking through increasing the weighted mean of backlinks in your site structure.

A Brief History

Google originally started as a way for two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergrey Brin, to easily index and rank academic papers. In order to do this they had to find a way to measure how ‘good’ an academic paper was and quantify that into an equation for Google. One of the methods they came up with was to scan a paper for a number of specific keywords, however a greater quantity of keywords did not necessarily mean that the paper was of higher quality. So they came up with the second method, scan for the number of other papers that cited the original paper. These two methods of calculation still remain today in Google’s pagerank algorithm but instead of citations to different papers we now have backlinks to different pages.

The complete algorithm to how Google calculates it’s rankings is still top secret, however by understanding it’s past and analyzing it’s ranking we can get an idea of how it works. And as most SEO preach, relevancy (such as the number of keywords) and authority (number of backlinks), still hold the greatest weighting in the equation. A higher number of those two variables will equate to a higher page rank.


The Weighted Mean of Backlinks

This weighted mean given to a variable in google’s algorithm is commonly referred to as ‘link power’ or ‘link juice’. Regardless of what it is called the main point you need to understand about it, is that this power spreads from the source, ie. the high ranking page. So for example, if a blog post on a website has a high relevancy that increases its page rank, that ranking can pass some of it’s increase in page rank to the blog’s main page. This is done because a page’s connection to a page of higher rank adds more weight to the page in Google’s equation.

To make more sense of this concept, imagine the web a network of highways that connect cities together. Now imagine that hugely popular pages are larger cities that emanate traffic throughout the network of highways. Google obviously sees the amount of traffic that these large cities produce and gives them a higher ranking. But Google also sees the different highways that lead to and from that city. Regardless if the traffic flows from one way or the other, the fact that those highways exist indicates to Google that those connections must exist for a good reason. So being closer to the source, in this case – a city, will allow some of that influence to spread to you.

So what does that mean for SEO? It means that if you can structure your site correctly, linking to other pages in your site or other categories within your site. You can increase the weighting in Google’s equation for all the pages that are connected to the high ranking page. So when you manage to get a page a high page rank, you can use that to also influence the ranking of other pages on your site.


Methods to improve your site structure for SEO


  • Create relevant categories to organize your site content.

  • Create homepage links to every type and category of pages on your website, ie. blog, about, contact, news.

  • Name and label those different categories in your URL ie.

  • Trim and manage links on your pages so that you can control which parts of your site you want more traffic to go to. eg. Having a link to other similar blog posts on one of your articles.

Remember though, you aren’t making a site so that a search engine can index it better, you’re making a site that people can navigate through. Make sure your site structure is made for people first, then focus on optimizing it for SEO.