Avoid these site structure mistakes!

If you take your SEO – and users – seriously, you’ll be working on a kick-ass site structure. Setting up a decent site structure is rather hard. Maintaining a solid site structure if your site is growing is even harder. Mistakes are easily made. In this post, I will share 5 common site structure mistakes people often make. Make sure to avoid all of these! 

A great site structure is a must for both visitors and Google. Learn how to set it up today in our Site structure training! »

Site structure training Info

#1 Hiding your cornerstones

Your most important articles – your cornerstones – should not be hidden away. Cornerstone articles are the articles that your most proud of, that most clearly reflect the mission of your website. Some people forget to link to their most precious articles. If an article receives no or few internal links, search engines will find it less easily (as search engines follow links). Google will regard articles with few internal links as less important, and rank them accordingly.

Solution: link to those cornerstones

Ideally, you should be able to navigate to your cornerstone articles in one or two clicks from the homepage. Make sure they’re visible for your visitors, so people can easily find them.

Most importantly, link to those cornerstone articles. Don’t forget to mention them in your other blog posts! Our internal linking tool can really help you to remember your cornerstones at all times!

#2 No breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are important for both the user experience and the SEO of your website. And yet, some people do not use them. Breadcrumbs show how the current page fits into the structure of your site, which allows your users to easily navigate your site. They also allow search engines to determine the structure of your site without difficulty.

Solution: add those breadcrumbs

No excuses here! Just add those breadcrumbs. Yoast SEO can help you do that!

#3 HUGE categories

Categories should be relatively similar in size. But without even noticing it, people will sometimes write about one subject much more than about another. As a result, one category can slowly grow much larger than other categories. When one category is significantly larger than other ones, your site becomes unbalanced. You’ll have a hard time ranking with blog posts within a very large category.

Solution: split categories

If you’ve created a huge category, split it in two (or three). You should check the size of your categories every now and then, especially if you write a lot of blog posts.

#4 Using too many tags

Don’t create too many tags. Some people want to make tags really specific. But if every post receives yet another new unique tag, you are not structuring anything, because posts don’t become grouped or linked. So that’s pretty much useless.

Solution: use tags in moderation

Make sure that tags are used more than once or twice and that tags group articles together that really belong together. You should also ensure that your tags are in fact available to your visitors somewhere, preferably at the bottom of your article. Tags are useful for your visitors (and not just for Google) to read more about the same topic.

Read more: Using category and tag pages for SEO »

#5 Not visualizing your site structure

A final site structure mistake people make is forgetting to visualize the site structure. Visitors want to be able to find stuff on your website with ease. The main categories of your blog should all have a place in the menu on your homepage. But don’t create too many categories, or your menu will get cluttered. A menu should give a clear overview and reflect the structure of your site. Ideally, the menu helps visitors understand how your website is structured.

Solution: dive into UX

In order to create a good and clear overview of your site, you should really dive into some aspects of User eXperience (UX). Think about what your visitors are looking for and how you could help them to navigate through your website. You could, for instance, start with reading our blog posts about User eXperience (UX).

Fix your site structure mistakes!

Site structure is an essential aspect of an SEO strategy. The structure of your website shows Google what articles and pages are most important. With your site’s structure, you can influence which articles will rank highest in the search engine. So, it’s important to do it right. Especially if you’re adding a lot of content, the structure of your site could be changing quickly. Try to stay on top! And if your site’s structure is starting to look good, you can dive into other common SEO mistakes as well.

Did we forget a site structure mistake that you encounter often? Please share it with us in the comments!

Keep reading: Site structure: the ultimate guide »

25 Responses to Avoid these site structure mistakes!

  1. Scharlotte
    Scharlotte  • 1 year ago

    This is the very first time I read about big categories being an issue. But by all the problems I have with this this plugin I care for that less. Almost every SEO Blogger wrote and write something else about how to configure SEO Yoast. Since I install this plugin, my theme don´t show featured posts anymore. All what it shows are 2 white strips above the contribution.

  2. Electric Bikes
    Electric Bikes  • 1 year ago

    Adding too many tags is definately not a good sign as it shows you are doing spamming. 2 or 3 meaningful and most relevant tags are enough to get impressions from visitors.

  3. Yiga
    Yiga  • 1 year ago

    The unblanaced issue in categories is something I have just come to learn in this article. I have to do some clean up.

  4. Igbaji Chinwendu
    Igbaji Chinwendu  • 1 year ago

    I love this. It really helps. After implementing, my site got better than before.

  5. Marsha Ingrao
    Marsha Ingrao  • 1 year ago

    I love Yoast. It helps me write more precisely as well as to stay on top of the Google algorithms. Thanks for all you do.

  6. Lrers
    Lrers  • 1 year ago

    Everytime yoast give me amazing guide and thanks for sharing.

  7. Patrick Leonard
    Patrick Leonard  • 1 year ago

    Good insights – an organized site structure makes your site easier to crawl but also makes it more user-friendly

  8. gifter
    gifter  • 1 year ago

    wow really great post !! I came to know that i have been doing wrong putting to much category and tag in my post . Thanks for the great guide i now did no index to categories and tags

  9. Matias
    Matias  • 1 year ago

    Hi, I have seen some good ranked websites without menu, that makes imposible to navigate to other post. I think number five is relative and depends of the topic.

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 1 year ago

      Hi Matias, Perhaps there are some good examples of sites that could work without a menu, but, in general, most sites really need a menu for their users!

  10. Keith
    Keith  • 1 year ago

    Great article. Simple and clear. I didn’t know that posts in a large category that’s overall unbalanced will not rank as well. That was new to me. I’ll have to look into that more.

  11. Erick
    Erick  • 1 year ago

    This is actually the first time I read about big categories being an issue. What about parent categories? For example, I have posts categorized under Destinations -> Asia -> Malaysia, in which all three categories are ticked. Will this hurt my seo as almost all my posts will be categorized under “Destinations”?

  12. Web Lad
    Web Lad  • 1 year ago

    Hi Marieke,

    I’m interested in learning more about #2 No breadcrumbs, but your link doesn’t lead to anything that explains how to set it up. Could you point me in the right direction please?


  13. jase
    jase  • 1 year ago

    Breadcrumbs look, well to use the fairy tale metaphor, like a trail of breadcrumbs out of place in the forest. They add a line at the top of the page (in the theme I use), that is ugly and a waste of prime visual real estate on the above fold screen. Id rather visitors see my content and be engaged rather than “gee i know I’m on this page that helps me lots, assuming I stay long enough and get engaged to stay on this website and look at more pages”.
    Google misses common sense logic sometimes (breadcrumb love esp!). Unless there is a solution for bottom of page breadcrumbs for the 15% (according to research) that actually get to the bottom of a page coz they were so engaged….. Love to know of a good solution, but breadcrumbs at the top is like putting a brick wall up n blocking the water view when your house is beach front property. Thus the property value is significantly decreased. On mobile – this above fold view is even more valuable real estate!
    Website structure can be addressed by good menus, and appropriate links in the page to guide the viewer to the next good place to visit.

    • Endy Uzo
      Endy Uzo  • 1 year ago

      well, that is all that matter, too many setting may lead to getting confused at times, just keep it simple.

  14. rene dela pena
    rene dela pena  • 1 year ago

    Hi Marieke, now that you mentioned the importance of Breadcrumbs, I’m going to implement this to my site. I’ve never thought how important Breadcrumbs until I read this post.

  15. Lisander
    Lisander  • 1 year ago

    I’m guilty of not using breadcrumbs.. Only because my theme vendor does not want to incorporate it. And I may have a category that’s taking all my content, but I’m working on it. Thanks for the article ;)

  16. Yasar
    Yasar  • 1 year ago

    Thank you so much.
    I fixed the Breadcrumbs issue using the Yoast SEO Plugin but I’m getting hentry errors in my google webmasters tools.
    What should I do.
    Please brief me about it.
    Thanks in Advance.

  17. Nathan Ambrose
    Nathan Ambrose  • 1 year ago

    Hi, Marieke.

    I enjoyed the read. It was very practical, and not just the same old post that I read several times each day.

    The first point of hiding cornerstones was new to me. I’d never thought of it like that before. As you said, internal linking is important. So it makes sense that the key posts need to be linked to more often.

    That’s something that I need to do more. I’m currently restructuring, and it’s now on my list.

    Thanks for sharing. Tweeting soon to my followers.


    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 1 year ago

      Thanks Nathan! Good luck restructuring your site!

  18. Swiftfoxx
    Swiftfoxx  • 1 year ago

    Hi Marieke, thanks for the insight. I use too many tags but from what I’ve read here, I’ll use it in moderation hence forth. In terms of linking to other articles (cornerstone articles), how many inbound links is advisable to put in a post?

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 1 year ago

      Hi Swiftfoxx, it’s always difficult to say how many internal links your post should have exactly. Most importantly, your links should make sense to your user, think about what the reader would want to know about related topics.

  19. Lrers
    Lrers  • 1 year ago

    Amazing Guide To correct my structure

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