Useful SEO-friendly website navigation – how to do it?

Klaudia HadałaKlaudia Hadała
Published: 18.02.2020
8 minute

How do you make sure your website is properly navigated so that it’s SEO-friendly while still being useful to the user? Here are some tips.

When entering a site, Google’s robots scan it piece by piece, going through the links placed on it one by one. For Google to read the site correctly, it should be composed of interconnected subpages. In this case, will the absence of a link to a sub-page on the site make it likely to not show up in Google?

The indexing process may be hindered and the results that a subpage could get in the ranking – significantly reduced. Internal linking on a page is one element that has a major impact on search engine result positions. Proper navigation is also of no small importance when evaluating a site’s usability.

Adequately constructed main menu

The main menu on the site is the element directly responsible for navigation. In this regard, it is the most important for users, but also a priority for robots. The main aspects to pay attention to when building it:

Thoughtful, expanded category tree

Preparing the right menu takes time. Before implementing it, it’s a good idea to think carefully about what assortment of products will be in the store or what subpages will be most useful to site visitors. It is worth adding subcategories to the categories, which will allow you to specify user preferences, quickly find particular goods or information, as well as adjust keywords accordingly..


Appropriate category names

That is, the favorite in SEO – keywords. Google’s algorithms are getting more and more sophisticated, but they are still a lot short of perfection, and we need to make it as easy as possible for them to read the page. Appropriately named categories will indicate to the robots what a particular subpage is about even before they get to it.

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Using generic words like: men’s, women’s, colorful is intuitive for people who reach the site and know what the brand offers. Adding names to the menu, for example: men’s socks, women’s socks, colored socks, gives information about the offer to new users as well as Google robots.

Select the right type of menu

In a simple horizontal menu, it is often difficult to include all the most important sub-pages. However, there are many opportunities to expand the menu. Ideal extensions for this type of menu are, for example: pull-down menu, fly-out menu, pop-up menu. These types of menus allow you to place submenus in drop-down tabs.

The second option is to implement a side menu. It offers much more “space” for adding new categories and does not look over-saturated with content. The side menu can be a complement to the horizontal menu, which would contain only a few of the most important links.

Extension for main menu – filtering

Large online stores sometimes have a very wide assortment. Does this mean that the only reasonable solution is to implement an extensive menu on the site? Not necessarily! A solution that allows you to precisely prepare sub-pages tailored to users and keywords is implementing filtering. Filtering gives you the opportunity to take into account a number of product parameters – color, size, brand, etc.

In order for filtering to bring tangible results for SEO, for each variant of the connection we need to prepare appropriately optimized sub-pages that will be indexed..

Note – if the site already has an extensive menu, as a result of the creation of new subpages from filtering, there may be cannibalization – two subpages optimized for the same keywords. So the process of implementing new subpages should be carefully thought out.

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Additional menu in footer

The footer is another place where we can navigate users to pages of value to them, and point Google’s robots to those sub-pages we want to promote.

The footer menu works very well for business card pages. In the footer, users most often look for information about the company’s location or contact options. This is a great place to point them to additional sub-pages they can visit to gather more information about the company.

In the footer, it’s a good idea to include links to terms and conditions, privacy policy or the company’s blog and job listings. Another interesting solution in terms of SEO is to include a link to the site map, where all the links to the subpages of the site are located – it can positively affect their indexing in Google.

In the menu, it is worth implementing several sections to increase its clarity:

To increase conversion on the page in the footer, it is possible to place a short contact form or a field for newsletter sign-ups. These types of solutions are worth testing.

Breadcrumbs navigation – “Your location”

Breadcrumbs menu is a form of navigation that allows users to get information about their current location on the site. Adequate navigation menus also strengthen internal linking on the site.

The last menu item indicates the page the user is on, while earlier items link to categories and subcategories where the customer can find similar products.This is an element not only appreciated by users, but also by robots. Google gives precise guidelines on how the navigation menu should be implemented to comply with the standards. It is also one of the elements that appear in search results:

Internal linking amplification

Horizontal menus, side menus, footer menus or Breadcrumbs are not the only options for navigation.Links to individual pages of the site are also worth placing in the content. A description on the home page, a category description, a product description or an article is worth enriching with links. For users, this will be a great convenience – a much simpler way to reach the sub-page than searching for the products mentioned in the content on their own. On the other hand, Google’s robots will determine the most important sub-pages and the keywords that match them.

Placing links in the content is a time-consuming process, but it is worth implementing for the results. A faster solution, which can be an additional enhancement of the site, is automatic insertion of links in sections: Similar products, Related categories, Buyers also bought, See also etc.

When blogging, make it as easy as possible for users and robots to reach archived content by suggesting related, most-read or latest posts. Properly implemented tags or categories can allow you to create an SEO and UX-friendly blog structure.

Site navigation SEO and UX friendly – additional tips


  • When adding links, remember to link to subpages using anchor text containing a keyword, e.g.: product name, category name, article title. Linking from images is not optimal for SEO, but it is intuitive for users, so it is recommended to include links in images in the form of base64 encoded code (they will be ignored by Google robots).
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  • Do not link to non-existent subpages. 301 redirects and 404 errors are very often located within the structure of a page and weaken its results. URL changes require replacing links within the site structure every time.
  • Maintain proper URL structure – URLs should contain keywords that match the subpage, while they should be free of parameters and unnecessary characters. This is an important element not only for SEO, but also for users. By looking at the URL, they will know what page it leads to and what they can expect on it.
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  • On the logo, superimpose a link to the home page with a completed alternative description – this way users will be able to find their way back to the home page from anywhere on the site.


  • To increase the usability of the site, it is useful to implement an internal search engine section on each subpage (preferably at the top of the page). An interesting solution is also a sticky menu, which will be in view of users even when scrolling the page.
  • It is an interesting solution.
  • You want users to not only buy something from you, but also become your fans/regular customers? Navigate social media! Add links to your profiles, but also information about recently shared posts or current contests for people who have made a purchase from your store.


  • Customers often want to contact you by phone, ensure that they can find your number quickly through proper navigation, but also ensure that they can dial it quickly by setting up appropriate buttons.


  • Mobile users are a growing group, as Google is well aware. Category links that are too close together or inadequate drop-down menus will be a hindrance to them and affect your rankings on Google. So test the mobile version and its usability!
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