Your web design might look incredible. But does your website navigation match up? And does it contribute to the user experience? As a web developer in York, we’re used to seeing visually stunning websites that are let down by their navigation. And that means you’re missing out on organic traffic that boosts your website ranking.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at why good navigation is essential for SEO and how it can make or break that all-important UX.

So what is website navigation anyway?

A solid navigation system is a logical and well-defined map of everything your site offers. But bad navigation can feel like being dropped in the middle of a maze without a clue about how to get out. And that’s a big turn-off for customers just looking for a seamless experience.

Basically, your navigation system uses links to take viewers between different parts of your site or to an external site. Internal links are generally organised in a menu with appropriately labelled navigation buttons. But great navigation is about so much more than a bunch of icons.

It’s all about Google

Ranking on page 1 of Google is the Holy Grail for every website. That’s why seamless navigation is so important – because it’s how search engine crawlers understand the structure of your site and start ranking pages for authority. Get it right, and your site can be indexed more effectively, boosting your ranking and making your site easy to find.

If your links are broken or your navigation isn’t straightforward and intuitive, those crawlers have no idea which pages are the most important. After all, understanding the relationship between pages matters as much for bots as your customers. Get it wrong, and your rankings drop off page one fast.

But what about UX?

Fortunately, designing for UX and SEO generally align. So what makes your site easy to navigate for customers makes it easy for crawlers too. The result is a boost in organic traffic, better lead generation and more conversions.

Frictionless navigation is part of your first impression. Whether it’s a polished and professional corporate site or a homespun craft store, a well-designed and user-friendly navigation system reflects positively on your business. And when your users can find the pages they want quickly and efficiently, they’re more likely to spend longer on your site, ultimately converting browsing into purchasing.

To summarise, good navigation design reduces friction, decreases bounce rates and improves overall perception and conversion. As a bonus, you’ll enhance usability and accessibility, making your website more inclusive for the broadest possible audience.

How can I improve my navigation system?

If you want to optimise navigation design to boost website traffic, here’s how to get started:

Give your audience what they want

Most websites place the navigation menu at the top or left-hand side of the page for ease of use. If you mess with this convention, you’re likely to confuse your viewers and give them the impression your data is hard to locate. And remember to create links to additional info, including shipping and contacts, in the footer. It’s an excellent place to optimise those Google-friendly keywords for SEO.

Limit top-level navigation links

You might think the more links, the better. But too many top-level navigation links are actually bad for your SEO. Here’s why: Google ranks your website authority on your home page. So reducing the number of top-level links means your pages have a better chance of ranking highly. In addition, your viewers won’t experience sensory overload and navigate away.

Ditch the drop-down menus

Your users love to hate hidden menus. They can be intrusive and annoying, often hiding the link you want or causing you to click on a link you don’t want. Even worse, search engines have trouble categorising confusing menu hierarchies, so you end up ranking lower. Instead, consider a mega menu grouping products by brand or type, or create a detailed page for each product category.

Embrace the search box

Visitors who run a search on your site convert 2x more than other users. After all, customers looking for a specific product are motivated by the intent to buy – especially if you make it easy to find the product they want. 

Optimise for mobile first

Optimising your menu navigation design for every user is critical. So you need to prioritise mobile-friendly menu design because Google uses mobile-first indexing when ranking your site. 

Be descriptive

Context is good. So use icons, imagery and detailed descriptions to give your customers the necessary info to make sense of your menus. Avoid generic terms that can be difficult to rank for in favour of niche keywords that instantly communicate your offer to your customers and boost your SEO.

Stand out with web design from Nettl of York

Looking for stunning website design in York? At Nettl of York, we know how to optimise every aspect of your site to boost organic traffic and improve your page ranking. Ready to make a noise with a fabulous new web design? Contact the team today.

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