Improve your site's structure

Improve your site's structure
in 4 simple steps

Improve your site’s structure in 4 simple steps

July 26th, 2017 – 18 Comments

Optimizing your site structure should be an important aspect of your SEO strategy. Structuring your site is of crucial importance for your SEO. But how do you improve a site’s structure? Where do you start and how do you keep an eye on the structure of your site if your site is growing? In this post, I’ll teach you to improve your site’s structure in 4 simple steps. 

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Yoast SEO site structure features

We spent some time thinking about how to translate the advice we give on improving your site’s structure into useful features for our plugin the past year. This resulted in three new features (and we’re already thinking about new ones). The first feature we released was the internal linking feature. The internal linking tool helps you to figure out which articles you should be linking to. Our second feature on site structure, the cornerstone content analysis, will help you write awesome cornerstone content articles and get those articles in a central position in your linking structure. And the third feature, the text link counter allows you to check which articles need more internal links. Combined, these three site structure features are a powerful toolset for improving your site structure.

Step 1: Update and improve your cornerstones

Your cornerstone content consists of the most important articles on your site.: the ones you want people to read; the ones you want to rank with in Google. For all cornerstones, you should check the box in the snippet preview meta box.

Once you’ve checked that box, your content will be assessed more strictly by our readability analysis. You may wonder why we’re being so fussy about cornerstone content. The answer to that question is this: for cornerstone articles you should raise the bar, because they’re very important! They should be better than your other articles and therefore, demand more of your writing skills. Our cornerstone analysis will help you to raise your standards (and stick to them). It will be harder to score that green bullet. You have to do all important things right!

Step 2: Link to those cornerstones!

The second step to improving your site’s structure is to ensure that blog posts about a certain topic all link to your most important article about that topic. Use the text link counter to see whether your cornerstones have enough links. In your post overview, you can select your cornerstone articles.

In our example, the Ultimate guide to small business SEO has fewer links than our other two ultimate guides, so we should look into that. This tool allows you to steadily work through you cornerstone posts. Open the ones with few links and check if you should add some with the Yoast internal linking feature.

The articles our internal linking tool suggests are great suggestions to link from to your cornerstones. You should go through these articles one by one and add links to your cornerstones (that’s a bit of work!).

If you aren’t using Yoast SEO premium (and do not have access to our internal linking feature), use your internal search function and search for the keyword of your cornerstone article. The post that’ll come up in this search query should be linking to your cornerstones.

Step 3: Improve the structure of orphaned articles

Once you’ve improved your cornerstone articles and made sure you’ve added links from all related posts to those cornerstones, it’s time to make sure that there are no orphaned articles on your site. Orphaned articles are posts or pages that hardly any other posts link to. They are hard to find on your site, both by your audience and by Google. In order to identify orphaned articles, you can use our text link counter. Sort the posts by the number of internal links linking to the post.

Posts with fewest links will appear at the top of the list. Open these posts and (again, if you use Yoast SEO Premium) check the suggestions of the internal linking tool. Using the tool, you can make a list of posts that should be linking to your orphaned posts. After that, you can open those similar posts and add links to your orphaned posts. You can also use the search function to find posts to link to your orphaned article.

Step 4: Improve those dead ends!

Every post should have suggestions for further reading. After all, you want people to stay on your website. Suggestions should always be on topic. People reading about ballet shoes are probably interested in ballet shoes. So, offer them more reading material on ballet or on ballet shoes, but don’t bore them with karate.

Open your post overview and sort your posts by the number of internal links in the post, using our text link counter.

Open the posts with fewest internal links. Add links to similar posts using our internal linking tool, in the same way as described above. It’s so easy and it will increase the time people spend on your site considerably.

Read more: ‘Internal linking for SEO: why and how’ »

Conclusion

Agreed, it is a bit of work. But if you set to mind to it, follow these 4 steps and use the Yoast SEO site structure features, you’ll be able to improve your site’s structure significantly. And that is most definitely going to result in longer visits by your readers and in higher rankings in Google.

Keep reading: ‘Site structure: the ultimate guide’ »


18 Responses to Improve your site’s structure in 4 simple steps

  1. Judith@BoostBlogger.com
    By Judith@BoostBlogger.com on 8 August, 2017

    A great article indeed, I would also add that your social media profiles should be integrated to your website.

  2. SEO Rank Services
    By SEO Rank Services on 7 August, 2017

    Great information ! Thank you so much !

  3. Neel patel
    By Neel patel on 6 August, 2017

    It’s too useful article as well. Thanks for updating this and i’m always following to Yoast. Keep updating and share with us. Thanks

  4. CJ
    By CJ on 1 August, 2017

    So glad I found this article, as I was a little in the dark about the whole cornerstone content bit when it was introduced into Yoast. Now it all makes sense, and it looks like I’ve got some work to do. Thanks!

  5. All The Way Up Media
    By All The Way Up Media on 1 August, 2017

    thanks for the update and another great article.

  6. Sereyboth Yorn
    By Sereyboth Yorn on 31 July, 2017

    I think I did wrong a lot about internal linking and having too many dead ends on my article as well as not yet to identify Cornerstones.

    Thank Marieke for a good post!

  7. Brooke
    By Brooke on 31 July, 2017

    I’m an avid fan of Yoast and can’t wait to redesign my site and hire them for my 2nd SEO audit!
    I’m going to convert my site to a wordpress multi-site and break our our services by sub-folders so they have unique navigation. I would like each ‘microsite’ built on the sub-folder to have its own cornerstone content.
    Feasibly, I hope this makes sense, and Google appreciates it! Anyone else created a WP multisite with subfolders using different themes or structure before?

  8. Craig
    By Craig on 31 July, 2017

    This is where my website fails the most, I didn’t even know what cornerstone content was until I read this article.

  9. Difa
    By Difa on 30 July, 2017

    For me, cornerstone just like the top of pyramid structure. It must be supported by a few articles to promote it and search engine regard it as a higher weight. Thank you for sharing this simple steps.

  10. Liton Biswas
    By Liton Biswas on 29 July, 2017

    Nice post. And got very useful tips to structure my Wp8 blog. Thanks for sharing.

  11. NogenTech
    By NogenTech on 28 July, 2017

    Yoast is playing a vital role in making the WordPress based website structure awesome, i am personally using its premium version because it is full of great features.

  12. Maani
    By Maani on 27 July, 2017

    Hello Marieke,
    one question, Does selecting Cornerstone article helps in ranking or it helps in making google understand that this is the article that exactly shows website category and content…. and does it affect my ranking if i update my old content…. I have read it many times that updating old content helps in ranking…..
    Waiting for your suggestion.

    • Willemien
      By Willemien on 28 July, 2017

      Hello Maani, selecting cornerstone articles and linking to them on your other pages will help those cornerstone articles rank, because Google will understand that these articles are most important.
      Updating old content is definitely a good idea! It shows Google that your website is active and up-to-date. We have a post on that here: https://yoast.com/keep-your-content-fresh-and-up-to-date/

  13. john Givens
    By john Givens on 27 July, 2017

    I hear the pitch on how important internal linking is…but I don’t see any explanation of why/how it benefits SEO. And, though I see the suggestions on each of my pages about which internal links I might add, I don’t see any direction or explanation on how or why my pages should be “internally linked” to each other and to which page or article I should link. For example, I see 10 suggested internal links for a certain page…which should I choose? What logic or sense should guide me about choosing an internal link from those you suggest?

    Need more examples and explanation. It’s not sufficient to me to say that internal links help with establishing site structure…you need to explain and show examples.

    • Willemien
      By Willemien on 28 July, 2017

      Hi John, internal linking benefits SEO because it helps Google understand the structure of your site. We have a nice post that explains it all here: https://yoast.com/why-is-site-structure-important/ .
      As for which pages to link to: in the end, it’s up to you. The tool gives you suggestions, based on prominent words. You can then pick the pages that you think are most relevant to the post you’re writing.

  14. sahil jangid
    By sahil jangid on 27 July, 2017

    Seriously Yoast SEO, you help me lots in improving my website structure……………..thanks, YOAST

    Now, I can’t imagine my site without Yoast SEO

    • RCCG Open Heavens
      By RCCG Open Heavens on 29 July, 2017

      Yeah! YOAST has made my blog what it is today.
      The SEOwise aspect of my blog and the professional article presentation to my readers. Am really grateful to God I downloaded a plugin call YOAST!

      ALL the WordPress blogs I set up, my first pluggin is YOAST.

      • WordPress
        By WordPress on 3 August, 2017

        A very important update ! This article is just great, Thank you very much ! :)


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