Site taxonomy, guide to its effective management for SEO

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Think of the shelf layout in a supermarket and the organization of the aisles: if each product is placed in the right department, with clear labels and logical paths, customers can easily find what they are looking for, from pasta to fresh bread, among the countless items available. Moving on to topics more related to us, this is what a site taxonomy does in IT, representing the structure that serves as the scaffolding supporting individual pages of content, the core around which the user experience revolves and, no less important, the site’s ability to be understood and valued by search engines. So let’s delve into the meaning of taxonomy and its potential impact for SEO, trying to give some advice not only to those who are studying the right solutions to build a new project, but also instructions to make an already established site that is struggling to take off more effective.

What is the site taxonomy

Site taxonomy, sometimes also referred to as URL taxonomy, is the way a website classifies its content into groupings that share similar characteristics.

It thus involves putting together similar pages and content, creating a hierarchy of links, and using descriptive anchor text to aid search engine crawlers in interpreting website content.

By subdividing pages through the use of categories and tags, taxonomy is a classification system that organizes content in a logical and intuitive way, helping to make the structure of the site optimal and facilitating user navigation. In this sense, a site’s taxonomy not only influences its overall organizational structure, but also how it is perceived on Google and is indexed by Googlebot, as well as how users interact with the site and its pages.

Meaning of taxonomy and what it is used for

The term taxonomy comes from the Greek and means “rule of ordering”: it is a real scientific discipline that analyzes the criterion and logical order by which certain elements (not only belonging to IT or SEO) are classified and placed in hierarchy.

According to Wikipedia, “all human societies possess a taxonomic system that names species and groups them into higher order categories,” and “virtually all concepts, animate and non-animate objects, places, and events can be classified following a taxonomic scheme.”

The origins of taxonomy and the process of categorizing elements go back to the very origins of language and thus to the dawn of thought: originally, humans used the same names to define more or less similar organisms (think for example of “flowers” or trees, so-called “vulgar names”) characterized by traits in common. In some fields such as biology, a problem began to arise, namely, establishing “a more universal and rigorous system for being able to define organisms,” because “every species had to be named, possess a single name and be described in an unambiguous form” in order to avoid misunderstandings and allow for easy interpretation in every part of the world.

This is precisely why biological taxonomy, i.e., the criteria of hierarchical classification of living species to study their evolution, became necessary.The first scheme was formalized by Carl Nilsson Linnaeus in the 18th century, with the introduction of the binomial system of nomenclature, which uses two names (genus and species) to identify each type of organism, a convention that is still in use today.

With the advent of the industrial revolution and the expansion of libraries, the need for more sophisticated cataloging systems became apparent.Melvil Dewey, in 1876, introduced the Dewey Decimal System, a taxonomy for organizing books by subject, which revolutionized the way libraries classified their collections.

Taxonomy in computing and applied to sites

In computing, taxonomy began to gain prominence with the development of the first databases and digital storage systems. With the explosion of the Web in the 1990s, the need to organize large amounts of information in an intuitive and accessible way became even more critical. Digital taxonomy evolved to include not only the classification of content, but also its architecture, usability, and search engine optimization.

Today, taxonomy is a key concept in user experience (UX) design, content management, knowledge management, and, of course, SEO, where a well-designed taxonomy is critical to helping both users and search engines find and understand content.

Returning to the definition and issues of our interest, in fact, what was written earlier applies perfectly to sites: site taxonomy refers to the way our pages are structured in the various category containers or tags following the conceptual organization of the site, and it serves to classify all documents, Web pages and their respective URLs in a hierarchical way, through communication principles and concepts, with the aim of clarifying and making their interpretation unambiguous for search engines and users.

In short, it helps improve the usability of the site itself: by discovering and navigating categories, visitors have easier accessibility to content and a faster ability to identify the pages associated with each container. They can thus move around the site with greater clarity and without confusion, factors that can make it easier to stay and reduce the abandonment rate.

At the same time, with efficient management you communicate better and more directly to Googlebot and other search engine spiders what the site is about and what the central topics of the project are, with potential benefits for ranking as well. This classification system will control everything related to the structure of a site, from organization to ranking, referring to semantic characteristics and how content and pages relate to each other.

What are the main types of computer taxonomy

Data structuring is not just a matter of aesthetics, because a well-designed taxonomy allows content to be discovered, understood, and positively evaluated by search engines, thus facilitating better ranking in search results and providing users with a more intuitive and satisfying experience.

There are several types of taxonomies to refer to, each with its own peculiarities and privileged areas of application.

  1. Hierarchical Taxonomies. These taxonomies are similar to a family tree, where each branch represents a category that breaks down into more specific subcategories. They are particularly useful when dealing with well-defined semantic topics and relationships. For example, an e-commerce site might have a main category such as “Clothing,” which is divided into “Men’s Clothing” and “Women’s Clothing,” and these in turn into “Shirts,” “Pants,” and so on. This type of structure not only helps users filter products according to their needs, but also provides search engines with a clear understanding of the hierarchy and context of the content, promoting better indexing.
  2. Faceted Taxonomies. “Faceted” or “multiaspect” taxonomies enable multidimensional navigation, giving users the ability to filter content through various attributes or “facets,” such as size, color, material, and style. This approach is particularly effective in sites with a broad spectrum of products or information, since it does not require a priori knowledge of the semantic relationships between elements. Users can combine different facets to refine their search and find exactly what they are looking for, improving the browsing experience and content searchability.
  3. Network taxonomies. These taxonomies focus on classifying network components and devices, organizing them according to their features and functions. For example, devices can be categorized as routers, switches, or hubs, depending on their role within the network. This structured classification is essential for network design, management and troubleshooting, enabling more efficient maintenance and improving overall security by identifying devices with similar security requirements.

Any digital context can benefit from the application of a specific taxonomy and their ability to organize and present information. For example:

  • e-Commerce and Online Libraries. In the world of e-commerce, taxonomies allow customers to navigate through thousands of products, filtering and refining their search to find exactly what they want. A well-structured taxonomy can turn a chaotic shopping experience into a smooth and pleasant journey. Similarly, online libraries use taxonomies to help visitors discover books and resources by organizing material into logical categories and subcategories, such as literary genre, author, or topic, making searching for specific information much more intuitive.
  • Content Management. Taxonomies play a crucial role in content management, making it easier to add, remove, and update content. A clear taxonomy helps site administrators maintain order and ensure that each new piece of content is easily accessible and properly categorized, thus avoiding overlapping information and confusion for the end user.
  • Network design and management. Network taxonomies allow devices and components to be categorized by function and location, simplifying the management and maintenance of networks. This structured organization is critical for quickly identifying problems, optimizing performance, and strengthening security by grouping devices with similar security requirements and facilitating the implementation of protective measures.

Taxonomies and SEO, a relationship worth analyzing

We have said it several times before: a well-planned taxonomy significantly improves a website’s indexing, but not only that. Search engines, such as Google, prefer sites with a clear structure that makes it easier to scan content and understand its relevance and relationship, and this leads to better visibility in search results, increasing the chances that users will click on the site.

If a site does not have a specific structure, it will be very difficult for users to understand and consume the content; what’s more, many users will abandon a poorly organized site, and in general our job is users have the easiest possible experience when they try to navigate the site.

This is also critical for SEO because it gives Google a better understanding of the site architecture and provides easier crawling and indexing for bots. Creating the correct relationships between semantic definitions that apply to Google’s knowledge graph also benefits the way Google understands the site, says Brian Harnish, who then summarizes, “The simpler Google’s analysis and understanding of the overall site taxonomy is, the better the site will perform in search engines and for users.”

Consequently, the worse and disjointed the structure of the site, the harder it will be for Google to scan and index it, and the longer it will take, and the users themselves may take ages to find what they are looking for.

How to create an effective taxonomy: best practices and benefits

An ideal site taxonomy is easily navigable, topic-focused, and simple enough for users.

Although it is possible to devise such a taxonomy structure regardless of niche, the reality is that doing so only adds friction between what users want and what Google wants to see.

Indeed, one of the greatest advantages of taxonomies lies in their flexibility: they can be customized to fit the specific needs of any industry or application, from retail to education, from healthcare to the media industry. This adaptability allows organizations to create user experiences that reflect the complexity and specificity of their content, enhancing audience interaction and the communicative effectiveness of the site, making interaction with audiences not only more rewarding but also more effective from the perspective of customer acquisition and retention.

In general, however, the adoption of effective taxonomies transforms the user experience, making it more intuitive and satisfying, as it enables users to find information quickly and accurately. In addition, these organizational structures improve visibility on search engines, as well-cataloged content is more easily indexed and therefore more likely to appear in high positions in search results. Clear and consistent taxonomies also help define a site’s authority in specific subject areas, helping to establish trust with both users and search engines.

From a content management perspective, an effective taxonomy simplifies site maintenance and updating, allowing information to be added or changed in an organized manner. This results in saving time and resources, as well as maintaining a high level of content consistency and quality.

Regarding best practices in setting taxonomies, it is critical to start with a thorough understanding of users and how they search for information. The taxonomy should reflect the language and expectations of the target audience. It is also important to maintain a flexible structure that can evolve with the site and its content. Simplicity and predictability are keys to effective navigation, so it is best to avoid overly complex or ambiguous categories and tags. Finally, it is essential to monitor and adapt the taxonomy based on user feedback and site performance, ensuring that the structure remains optimal over time and responds dynamically to changing audience needs and behaviors.

How to optimize site taxonomy for SEO and Google

The site taxonomy is not a static element, but requires careful planning and constant revision-it is a dynamic process that must adapt to evolving content and the changing needs of users and search engines.

So how can we optimize taxonomy for SEO? First, it is essential to understand that each category must reflect a specific search intention, need, or interest of our audience. This not only improves the usability of the site, but also increases the likelihood that pages will be rated favorably by search engines for those search intentions.

In addition, the hierarchy of information should be clear and consistent. Search engines like logic and predictability: if a user can easily navigate between pages, so can search engine crawlers. This means that each level of the taxonomy must be well defined, and each jump from one category to another must be logical and natural. In particular, Google historically urges the adoption of a clear conceptual taxonomy structure that includes top-level categories based on a site’s content type, with related topics organized within it.

Let us also not forget the importance of tags: if categories are the great arteries of taxonomy, tags are the capillary vessels that transport users to increasingly specific and relevant content; used wisely, tags can significantly improve the findability of content within the site.

But beware: over-optimization in the creation of categories and tags can lead to keyword cannibalization or cannibalization, or competition between pages on the same site for the same keywords. This phenomenon can confuse search engines and dilute site authority, with counterproductive effects on ranking.

Thus, there are multiple tips and best practices to follow to make URL taxonomy management effective and to avoid what is called “hot garbage,” that is, those long strands of nodes in URLs that serve little purpose and only complicate things.

An example of this garbage is the presence of date in the path, which is not considered optimal because it does not group content in a section of the Web site according to topic affinity, but only by temporal factor.

In contrast, an optimized, clean taxonomy brings together URLs (and content) that belong to the same topic and have a clear relationship to each other. This avenue can help Google in several ways, because it makes the relationships of content within a category more explicit and makes it easier for search engine systems to understand.

Internal links are also a powerful tool when it comes to Web site taxonomy, because they make it easier for search engines and users to discover the relationship between topics and determine their relevance. The advice is to leverage internal links naturally in the text, providing contextual relevance through supporting text near the link.

The four cornerstones for optimizing taxonomy

Taxonomy is not just about order and precision, because we must not forget the underlying goal of ensuring that the experience on the site is a positive one for users and search engines. This also means finding the right balance between ease of use and ease of navigation, but above all it means working on four aspects that are crucial for a good taxonomy, also from an SEO perspective.

  1. Doing keyword and topic research and analysis

A successful SEO strategy relies (again) on effective keyword research, or rather on identifying key topics to delve into topics that interest and resonate with our intended audience. To set up an effective taxonomy, then, we need to understand what the target audience is searching for online, what their interests are, and how they translate into strategic terms: Keyword research and analysis allows us not only to reveal users’ search trends, but also provides valuable insights for organizing content into relevant categories. Creating thematic clusters around a main topic for each taxonomic category allows us to build a solid structure that reinforces the relevance of the site on certain topics, thus improving its thematic authority.

In modern SEO, it is no longer necessary to obsessively repeat the target keyword in every part of the text, nor to write content centered on a single keyword: we repeat this often, Google and other search engines have become adept at extracting meaning and understanding from content by crawling it, thanks to sophisticated algorithms that analyze the context and user intent behind each query. Of course, strategic inclusion of keywords remains important, and optimization should be guided by advanced analytical tools, but without falling into excessive keyword stuffing.

It is also useful to supplement keyword research with entity analysis, which helps map semantic relationships and inform content structuring.This approach marks a clear evolution from the past, when SEO meant (also) creating multiple pages for each variant of a keyword. Today, the focus has shifted toward satisfying the user’s search intent, rather than simply matching keywords.

Despite these advances, many website taxonomies remain anchored in outdated practices, often due to poor management or dated content, and this can lead to an accumulation of low-value pages that, as pointed out by Google’s John Mueller, can negatively affect the search algorithms’ assessment of overall site quality. An excess of low-value indexed pages, hidden in the depths of the site, can cause the index to bulge and reduce the ability to rank pages effectively. Consequently, it is essential not only to publish new content but also to have the courage to remove or update outdated pages to maintain a clear, current, and SEO-optimized taxonomy, thus ensuring that each page contributes positively to the reputation and authority of the domain as a whole, while avoiding burdening the index with content that does not bring value and could compromise the site’s visibility in search results.

  1. Organize website content appropriately.

After identifying relevant keywords, you can structure the site content into categories and subcategories that reflect these keywords.

Organizing a website’s taxonomy in a simple and orderly manner is essential to ensure smooth navigation and effective SEO optimization.This means having a limited number of main categories, each of which can be further subdivided into specific subcategories. For example, a top-level category could be devoted exclusively to on-page SEO, and all content published in that section would be closely related to that topic.

The structure of the taxonomy can vary: one can opt for a pure category structure, which focuses solely on the organization of pages within it, or choose a more granular approach, which involves detailed organization of content within an actual physical silo. Despite the many options available, simpler taxonomies tend to be more effective and less problematic than those that are overly complicated due to too many categories.

Setting up a well-planned, clear, and consistent taxonomy not only makes the site more accessible and navigable, but it can also improve the user experience and increase traffic to the site; it is also a valuable tool for identifying any gaps in content and uncovering opportunities for creating new pages or blog articles, thus contributing to a dynamic and well-developed content strategy that can provide added value to users.

  1. Ensure dynamism and scalability.

Designing an effective taxonomy for your website means accepting that it will always be a work in progress, never definitively finished or perfect, since content is subject to constant change. Categories may become obsolete, new products may be introduced, market conditions and brand positioning may change, and new user data may reveal unexpected opportunities. It is therefore crucial to have a plan to regularly optimize the site’s taxonomy, which often relies on controlled vocabulary to classify content and improve findability.

Taxonomy governance is equally important: You need to design with both current and future content in mind, establishing clear guidelines on when and how to add, change, or remove terms to reflect changing user needs. However, the best plans can fail in the long term due to changes in personnel or decision-making processes, and documentation can be forgotten.

For this reason, it is essential to make sure that the site taxonomy leaves enough room for growth, that it is therefore “scalable.” It is not just a matter of having enough topics to cover, but also being ready to accommodate new types of content and restructuring existing categories to keep everything related and relevant. For example, team expansion may bring new expertise that requires adding new categories to the blog; or, you may change your mind about some categories that don’t turn out to be as relevant as you initially thought.

Being open to change and ready to adapt is critical, but it is equally important not to change the taxonomy too frequently so as not to lose stability in search results; therefore, it is essential to find a balance that works for both users and business growth.

  1. Manage relationships between content.

Managing the relationships between content through the site taxonomy, particularly by using links and silo structures, is a strategy that can significantly improve the understanding and discovery of content by search engines such as Google. By organizing pages into thematic silos, a solid taxonomic base can be created and related content can be grouped together, making it easier to find; this hierarchical organization communicates to Google the correlation between content within a given silo, improving the ability of search engines to interpret site structure and context.

Internal links play a key role in this architecture, linking the different content silos together and providing additional context about the relationships between the various topics covered. The use of contextual links, surrounded by relevant content, increases the contextual relevance of these links, helping both users and search engines navigate and better understand the connections between site topics.

The challenges and opportunities of taxonomy for SEO

Categories, tags, and facets (or filters) are the main tools through which we organize content, and each of these elements has distinct characteristics that affect their SEO management.

  • Categories, which are hierarchical and general in nature, act as large containers that group related topics, providing a tree structure that helps users navigate through the layers of information.
  • Tags, on the other hand, are specific and nonhierarchical in nature, used to describe content in a more granular way and to link together topics that may cross different categories.
  • Facets, or filters, allow for multivalue and nonhierarchical classification, giving users the ability to refine their search through specific attributes such as color, size, or price.

Each time we create a new category, tag or facet, we are adding a term to our taxonomy and, as a result, generating a new page on the site. These pages, often created automatically based on URL structure, can become problematic for SEO if not managed properly. The risk is producing duplicate content, diluting thematic relevance, or creating pages with little or no unique content, all situations that can confuse search engines and reduce the site’s ranking effectiveness.

To effectively optimize and manage taxonomies from an SEO perspective, it is therefore essential to adopt a strategy of creating thoughtful and relevant taxonomy terms, ensuring that each page generated has unique and valuable content and avoiding overlapping and competing similar terms. In addition, implementing canonical tags, carefully managing meta tags, and creating a well-structured XML sitemap are key practices for guiding search engines to the most relevant pages and avoiding duplicate content problems.

Categories and tags: differences and how to manage them

In the discussion related to taxonomy, we can also open a quick parenthesis to better define the categories and tags of a site, and to provide some tips to manage these elements in an SEO way.

A category is a grouping by topic and falls under what is called a vertical taxonomy, because the selection of documents follows a hierarchical development and additional subcategories can be created. It is a classification system that brings together relevant resources that share a relationship of specificity, are generally close to each other, and refer to the same central macro-topic of the site.

Categories should be created respecting two particular properties, namely specificity and proximity. Specificity is what distinguishes each category from another, i.e., the property of having specialized content on a particular topic, different from those of the others; proximity, on the other hand, is the characteristic two categories have of having content on similar topics, which can be linked in a logical thread using common terms.

In principle, an article should fit into only one category and one subcategory, but in reality this is not an ironclad rule (although it is good not to place content in more than two categories so as not to confuse users).

Tags are basically specific keywords that can bring together several different pieces of content, not necessarily related to the same category. They are an alternative classification and sorting rule to subcategories, where document selection is done horizontally (horizontal taxonomy) and without hierarchy.

By using tags, you aggregate all the documents so labeled regardless of their category of belonging (indeed, they are usable under different categories) and there are no quantitative limits: you can create infinite tags and label a content with an infinite number of tags, but this means creating redundancy and exposing the site to risks (each tag creates a new container page, so if not optimized and if not meaningful they only risk expanding the site and wasting crawl budget).

Managing taxonomy and URL structure

Setting up a well-optimized website taxonomy that includes the entire semantic relationship between topical entities is important for having a scalable SEO strategy, and effectiveness is also closely related to how we manage the URL structure and, in particular, the subfolders.

Whenever we create a new page, its specific name is called a slug, which (usually) is the end of the address; for sites that choose to display a URL path with a visible category, the new page becomes a child of the parent section, which appears as a subfolder in the path.

An old debate in the SEO community opens up at this point: is it better to think of a URL structure with taxonomy or without it? And thus, should the category be part of the path or can we also avoid including them without fear?

Actually, there is no single, definitive answer, but-as is often the case in our world-much depends on the type of site, the context, and (why not?) competitor analysis to see how our direct opponents have organized themselves (and whether their strategies please Google). Generally, it is believed that creating clean URLs that follow a scalable structure allows for a site architecture that is more easily scanned by crawlers.

As Emanuele Vaccari explains from his blog, the structure with the taxonomy string in URLs allows the segmentation of site pages at different times and for different purposes, both in analysis and data processing, but the weight of URLs in SEO should not be overestimated.

For by now it is well established that a keyword-laden URL is not a relevant ranking factor, and we also know that the length of URLs has little effect on performance and can-at best-cause server- and client-side technical problems, as John Mueller reminded us some time ago.

Far more relevant is the structure of the site, which instead is one of the central elements in improving the chances of having good performance in SERPs: if URLs are simple reference points for calling up server resources when needed, the structure of the site is instead composed of the navigation paths that we trace through internal links in all their meanings.

How to communicate the paths to Google

Thinking back to the Hamletic doubt exposed earlier, there is then another issue that should not be overlooked: there is a precise way to uniquely communicate to Google the site and URL structure and to indicate the hierarchy we have thought of, i.e., structured data.

Implementing the appropriate markup to show breadcrumbs in the Results allows us to give a clear signal of structure and hierarchy through a language that the search engine understands, effectively making it unnecessary to use URLs with subfolders for this purpose alone (and allowing sites without taxonomy string in the addresses to work without problems).

In principle, for an ex novo project, it might be preferable to set up the inclusion of taxonomies in URLs to facilitate maintenance and analysis of pages: talking URLs are more readable and understandable even to humans and can help identify any problems that are mechanically repeated in specific sections (e.g., wrong canonicals, pagination that does not print, excessive page heaviness, abnormal response times, and more).

Easier also to manage redirects and code injections, without having to find the body classes that WordPress applies for URL taxonomies, as well as it becomes convenient to manage/generate sitemaps and filter data from the analyses performed in Google Search Console.

In any case, what is important is to make a basic choice and try to stick to it as much as possible, because going to touch and change the URL structure is (almost never) a recommended option and, above all, it makes practically no sense if the only hope is to get a supposed improvement in ranking. On the contrary, there are usually more risks than benefits, so it is an option to be considered only in extreme and unavoidable situations.

Tips for improving URL taxonomy

According to John McAlpin on SearchEngineLand, the process of optimizing site taxonomy should be based on three principles:

  • Be scalable.
  • Be easy for both users and search engines to follow.
  • Address the marketing funnel.

In the field of software engineering, and computer science more generally, a system capable of scaling up (or down) as needed and available is defined as scalable. When we create a taxonomy of URLs, we must therefore make sure that new pages can be added later that easily scale to the context set.

To better understand the issue, the article brings the example of a Web site for a company with multiple local locations, and specifically with stores that cover multiple (U.S.) states, multiple cities within that state, and multiple zipper codes within those cities. There are several methods for creating category-speaking URLs:

  1. Single category. In the example it is locations, into which to fit all differentially located pages:• https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/north-dallas-office
    • https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/south-dallas-office

 

  1. Grouping by State. A subsequent subfolder that specifies the state and collects related pages:
  • https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/texas/north-dallas-office
  • https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/texas/south-dallas-office

 

  1. Grouping by city. Additional subfolder specifying the city:• https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/texas/dallas/north-dallas-office
    • https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/texas/dallas/south-dallas-office

 

  1. Grouping by Zip Code, using only the zip code:• https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/75001/north-dallas-office

 

  1. Grouping by Zip Code and State:• https://www.examplehealthsite.com/locations/texas/75001/north-dallas-office

It is really important to study the structuring of URLs carefully because it is immediately apparent how easy it is to end up later with long and complex URLs that can “get out of hand.” Using overly organized paths can be a flaw, not least because it locks up the system and makes it unscalable.

The key to deciding which is the best option is to know your business and anticipate development: for example, if you anticipate growth within individual cities and states it may make sense to set up those subfolders, but a simpler directory might also suffice (while the one for Zip Code is the one to be discarded almost always a priori). What matters is figuring out what makes the most sense for your own strategies and what your users may need, and making sure you reflect these in your taxonomy.

Create user-friendly structures

A clean URL taxonomy is also important for users, precisely, because it can improve the user experience and simplify their journey through the pages of the site in search of what they are interested in.

In some ways, you need to anticipate the possible paths of visitors, intuit the areas of greatest interest (which should also be identified with effective upstream keyword research) and reflect these assessments in URLs.

No less strategic is to try to offer consumers a taxonomy aligned with the way the Web site’s pages and content are structured, to facilitate the marketing funnel.

It might be useful, for example, to group different sections that address different stages of the decision-making process, always respecting the breadcrumb structure of those pages in the URL taxonomy as well.

Examples of URL taxonomy

URL taxonomy is therefore a crucial aspect of making a website easily navigable, both for search engine spiders and users: if well designed, reflecting the hierarchy and semantic relationship between content, it will send clear signals to Google and facilitate indexing and understanding of the site, Harnish says further. In contrast, overly complex or poorly structured URLs can confuse search engines and devalue the site, making it difficult for users to remember and find information again.

For example, URLs that include random dates and blog names that are unrelated to the topic or too long and detailed, such as https://example.com/2023/12/31/ random-blog-name-loosely-related-to-topic/, are examples of bad taxonomies that do not group content effectively and do not clearly present relevant content through their structure.

In contrast, a good URL taxonomy is characterized by being intuitive, easy to scan, and readable. URLs such as https://example.com/seo/differences-between-crawling-indexing/ clearly indicate the content of the page and are short and memorable, which helps users identify the desired content in search results and allows spiders to use fewer processing resources when crawling.

Maintaining a simple and consistent URL taxonomy is therefore critical to meeting the needs of both users and search engines, ensuring that the site is logically organized and that content is easily accessible and indexable.

The goals of site taxonomy

In conclusion, let’s reiterate what a well-organized taxonomy is for the longest memory:

  • Group site URLs by topic.
  • Identify the website’s search topic.
  • More properly communicate to search engine crawlers the topics covered, to possibly improve content indexing (and potentially get a possible ranking boost).
  • Improve usability and make it easier for visitors to use the information, who may identify the site as thematic and vertical on a topic, thus deeming it more reliable than a generalist portal all else being equal.
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