Website Structure For Search Engine Optimization

What is the best website structure that is ideal for search engine optimization?

To answer this question, let’s look at the 2 types of website structures.

1) Flat website structure

In a flat structure, all the files are in the root folder.

For example,

2) Directory website structure

In a directory structure, the files are categorized into different folders/directory.

For example,

where article 1 and 2 are related to the cause of the illness (say we’re building a website about headache), article 3 and 4 are related to the treatment methods and article 5 and 6 are related to the prevention measures.

The question is, which website structure is better? Is it the flat website structure? Or the directory website structure?

Some SEO gurus say that directory structure is better. But from experience, I don’t see much difference.

On the contrary, I realize that flat website structure seems to be indexed faster by the search engines.

Another Aspect Of Website Structure

There is another aspect of website structure that is worth discussing. It is the way you link your articles.

If you have 5 articles on headache treatment, you should link all the 5 articles together. This will increase the relevancy of the webpage and thus improve its search engine ranking.

But good internal linking can be practised regardless of which website structure you use.

My Preferred Website Structure

I’ve built content websites using both flat and directory site structure. Personally, I prefer to use a flat website structure.

Reason? There are less potential problems.

For example,

1) I don’t have to worry about whether to use /, ./ or ../ when doing internal linking.

2) When promoting the website, I don’t have to worry that I may make a mistake in the url, since in a flat structure, all the urls have the same format of

My Advice On Website Structure

In conclusion, my advice is to use a flat website structure and link related articles together. This combination should be enough for search engine optimization. After all, website structure is just a small part in the entire SEO puzzle. What’s more important is backlinks and keyword analysis.

18 thoughts to “Website Structure For Search Engine Optimization”

  1. Hi Kenneth
    I believe the flat website structure in my experience is a lot cleaner and faster loading as well,which is better for your visitors! I know a lot of web surfers as well as regular customers get frustrated with a slow loading site.
    my opinion!! the flat structure is better for optimization I have both and my flat structured web site got indexed a little faster not much but every little bit helps when it comes to getting indexed

    Steven McPherson

  2. Kenneth,

    You give very good suggestion.

    From my experience, I prefer to do cross-linking among the blogs, websites and directories. My objective is to make search engine “confuse” and “headache”. At the end, they have no choice, to put my link in the first page of google or yahoo.

    You can try mine. Just type “Malaysian Economy”, you will find mylink below:

    Good luck.

  3. Either one of these are good for SEO. The problem comes when most marketers do not know how to do deep linking. This will help their site to get tons of traffic for a long time as well as keep their site being ranked pretty high. There is a method to the madness.

    Jimmy Williams
    The Methodical Marketer

  4. I feel both structures are good. It’s important to get started and stay focused. Many people wait for something to happen. The truth is nothing happens till they make it happen. Some folks want it to be Perfect before they get going. My humble advice is that first they should “Get going” (start doing something) then perfection will be achieved with experience.

    1. I totally agree with you Niranjan.The problem why many people never really succeed is because they eithet never get started or they lose focus.
      There are those people who are utter perfectionists and these are the people who will never get things rolling.
      As a result they stay rooted with the excuse that they haven’t understood this and that.
      There are others who get started only to lose focus along the way.These are in most cases people who are constantly looking for that magic pill.If something doesn’t work instantly ,they throw in the towels and return to their previous life.
      Kevin Njoroge

  5. I think there are advantages to both structures in building your sites. On the one hand, everything on one page keeps a visitor in one spot without navigating away from potentially important information you want to convey. On the other hand, a directory structure lends order to different topics and categories of information.

    If I visit a site and I am interested in a particular subject, I would much rather see a directory leading me directly to the topic(s) I am interested in rather than having to sift through one endless page of information.

    My preference: Directory structure!

    1. Gator,
      Just want to clarify that having a flat structure doesn’t mean you have all the links in one page. You can still categories the topics. Just that from the server perspective, all the files are loaded at the root folder.

  6. I thank for the nice blog and I also agree with most that the flat system is easier and faster to load. Besides instead of folders you can label each post and then call them up as needed. E.g. You post a series of blogs on product A and label them A, then you write a series of blogs abt product B and label them B. After that you just post a category directory on the sidebar… easy peasy… :)

  7. Kenneth,

    First, I am subscribed to your blog and beleive that it offers great commentary and instruction.

    Please consider……

    Another aspect of web site structure should include some thought about the visually impaired. Not blind or near blind, but those that require a larger print and more contrast between text and background. Text size can be enlarged by using CNTL/ALT/+ in Internet Explorer’s latest editions. Drawback is that the larger you make the text, the more you have to scroll left and right to read it. Text and background, as far as i know, cannot be adjusted.

    There are probably many like me that surf through sites they have a problem with in that regard. I probably miss opportunities and so do the web site owners.

    While not trying to be negative, merely informative, your blog is somewhat hard for me to read. When I go there I can enlarge the text, but the text and background contrast is somewhat less than what would be comfortable for me. I read only the ones that have the greatest interest to me. For instance, your recent blog on web site structure. That prompted this message.

    Don’t know how many people know about the I.E. feature to enlarge the screen. Should you consider my comments you might include it as a pointer. Also, don’t know what other browsers offer.

    Joe Frain

  8. I agree that the flat website structure is much better and less confusing.It saves me the stress of broken links and wrong file paths.
    To deal with the SEO juices simply croslink everything from your articles to your websites and directories.
    Your main aim should be to get those backlinks coming in.
    But if you are interested in ordering your articles into categories,the Directory website structure comes in handy.

  9. Happy Easter Everyone!

    Sorry, but just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter, and if you don’t celebrate Easter, then consider this a Happy Sunday wish.

    Hope everyone has a prosperous 2009!


  10. A directory structure has an edge over other types like numbers in a post but a sub domain has even more importance. Have you noticed how software directories implement this structure.

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