Avoid these site structure mistakes!

If you take your SEO – and users – seriously, you’ll be working on a kick-ass site structure. But, setting up a decent site structure can be difficult. Maintaining a solid site structure when your site is growing, is even harder. It’s easy to overlook something or make a mistake. In this post, I will share 5 common site structure mistakes people often make. Make sure to avoid all of these!

Don’t know where to start improving your site’s structure? Our practical and complete site structure training is what you need! 

#1 Hiding your cornerstones

Your most important articles – your cornerstones – shouldn’t be hidden away. Cornerstone articles are the articles that you’re most proud of; that most clearly reflect the mission of your website. But some people forget to link to their most precious articles. That’s not good: 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 your 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 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. Breadcrumbs 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!

Site structure mistake:

#3 HUGE categories

Categories should be relatively similar in size. But, without noticing, people can sometimes write about one subject way more often 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). To keep categories from growing too large, 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 very specific. But if every post receives yet another new unique tag, you’re not adding structure, 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 visitors can find the tags 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 their site’s 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

To create a good and clear overview of your site, you should dive into those aspects of User eXperience (UX) that could use improving on your site. 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).

Site structure mistakes: fix them!

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 engines. 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 check for 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 »

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29 Responses to Avoid these site structure mistakes!

  1. Lotta Odelius
    Lotta Odelius  • 1 year ago

    Pushing for my previous comment … It would be really helpful with a hint on how to think regarding having a blogpost belong to two different categories, thanks! :)

    Love your blog, it’s so helpful. However, I’m struggling with the site structure of my up and coming blog and can’t wrap my head around wheather it’s a good or bad thing to have a blog post belong to two different Categories. Is this something I should avoid? Thanks a lot for clearing things out!

  2. Erick
    Erick  • 1 year ago

    Hi! Great post. I’m curious about category balance. We have a travel blog which has a category for each country, making the “Destinations” category huge. This is because this category has continents as it’s childs, who subsequently have countries as their childs. Should I remove these overarching categories? Besides countries we also have categories like “Travel Tips” and “Budget”, which shouldn’t be ‘between’ the countries imo.

  3. sumit bhatnagar
    sumit bhatnagar  • 1 year ago

    Very nice write-up. I absolutely appreciate this blog Thanks!

  4. sara manuel
    sara manuel  • 1 year ago

    Great Article! thanks for this article.I have a question for You. How many H1 to h6 tag and URL I can use in my blog.

  5. Travel Smith Nepal
    Travel Smith Nepal  • 1 year ago

    From this article what we came to know is Using too many tags are not so helpful.Thanks for sharing.

  6. James Williams
    James Williams  • 1 year ago

    Yoast is great for what they do, but I do not have a tech brain and bundles of money to help me get into new things. I can only act like a passerby to a jeweller’s shop who gazes in at the lovely diamond glistening back at me, but which I will never own.

  7. Lotta
    Lotta  • 1 year ago

    Love your blog, it’s so helpful. However, I’m struggling with the site structure of my up and coming blog and can’t wrap my head around wheather it’s a good or bad thing to have a blog post belong to two different Categories. Is this something I should avoid? Thanks a lot for clearing things out!

  8. Rawtech
    Rawtech  • 1 year ago

    Thank you. I follow those rules except one, thank you for reminding me. And one last question, if in the next weeks Google announces any huge update how to make all post ready for this update in very little time?

  9. Anon Hacker
    Anon Hacker  • 1 year ago

    thanks for this article. i used too many tags on my blog but after reading it i solve it.

  10. skills Cources
    skills Cources  • 1 year ago

    Great Article! very informative post. It’s a new thing to my knowledge. Thanks for sharing Well done keep it up.

  11. Michael ONeill
    Michael ONeill  • 1 year ago

    Interesting article. I have stopped using tags on my sites because I have never found too many compelling reasons to do so.
    The main thing I’m missing from my sites according to your article is cornerstone content, so that will be my take-away.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Mike, Cornerstone content definitely is something worth investing your time in! Here you’ll find an explanation of Marieke on how to do it well: https://yoast.com/what-is-cornerstone-content/

  12. Karen Lanzetta
    Karen Lanzetta  • 1 year ago

    Great article, there is so much to learn when publishing a website! Thanks for an article with pointers.
    I am still struggling to get my blog structured correctly and these check marks will get me one step closer to perfection!


    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Thanks, Karen! Structuring a blog correctly remains a challenge in most cases. It often is a work in progress, because your content will keep growing. But striving for perfection will help you for sure!

  13. Sikander Jafar
    Sikander Jafar  • 1 year ago

    I’m not indexing tags on my three websites.techoye.com,ptclbills.com and oyejani.com.
    This had ensure no duplicate content on google search and has improved my ranking.Otherwise different post compete with each other for a single keyword destroying the ranking overall.
    Sikander Jafar

  14. anton__dutchamsterdam.nl
    anton__dutchamsterdam.nl  • 1 year ago

    Say you want to split a category. Doesn’t that mean that roughly half the posts in that category then get a new URL? I know you can redirect but does that come with a ‘penalty’?

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Anton, If you change the category and you’ve included those in your URLs it makes sense to redirect them. If you use 301 redirects that shouldn’t do much harm. Ask yourself though: do you really need to include the category in the URL? Do they add some value? If you can do without, and create short, on topic URLs that might be the better choice and it will prevent you from having these kind of issues in the future.

      • Anton
        Anton  • 1 year ago

        Thanks Willemien. On second thought, I already do have URLs that do not include the category. Long ago I started using /%post_id%-%postname%, which may be another issue altogether.

        Anyway, I have started the process of whittling down a forest of categories and tags.

  15. Nick
    Nick  • 1 year ago

    Curious to understand…if important/cornerstone pages are linked in the main site navigation is there any value in repeating (duplicating?) these link in areas of content on pages?

    If page ‘/xyx’ has a navigation link to ‘/important-page’ will including an additional link in the content on page ‘xyz’ to the ‘important-page’ be advantageous?

    Do search engines take notice of multiple links to the same target page?


    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Nick, both of these links will add value to the page your linking too!

  16. Lộc
    Lộc  • 1 year ago

    I just use one level of category structure like
    cat1: clothing,
    cat2: jackets,
    cat3: sneakers.
    But i setup the main menu with two or maybe three level.
    Brands>Nike>Air max

    Is that ok ? I need your advice

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi! It’s difficult to provide thorough advice if we don’t see the entire picture, but your main menu seems to make sense, at first glance. You could try to follow this structure with your categories and subcategories too though!

  17. Subhranil
    Subhranil  • 1 year ago

    Hello Dude

    I have a question. How many H2 and h3 tag I can use in my blog.

    Thanks in Advance.

  18. Bill Bennett
    Bill Bennett  • 1 year ago

    Do you have any guidelines for how many tags might be appropriate on a site? I’m thinking of something along the lines of X tags for every 100 posts. Or is this question missing the point?

    Also, how many tags per post? I like to keep it to a maximum of five, but that’s an intuitive guess, and is not based on any science.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Bill, thanks for your question. Tags mostly need to make sense, it’s hard to give an advice on exactly how many you should have. Here you can read everything about choosing and using tags properly: https://yoast.com/tagging-posts-properly-for-users-and-seo/

  19. Mathukutty P. V
    Mathukutty P. V  • 1 year ago

    corner stone – I read many times about corner stone, still could not understand how to create it correctly.
    Bread crumbs – Disabled it last week after reading another blog that it will clutter. Will enable it.
    Categories balance – Yes, not balanced and little difficult to control due to lack of content idea and writing skill. Looking for guest post on family and career category.
    Tags – This also was confusing a lot. Will check and correct it and remove some.
    DIV UX – Have to read this.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Mathukutty! Thanks for your detailed comment! Have you read this article about cornerstone content already? Perhaps it will help you understand the concept: https://yoast.com/what-is-cornerstone-content/ Let us know!