If you just started a business and you want to optimize your website navigation, or simply want to make your WordPress blog easy to understand, then, you should focus on improving the way that you use links in your website menu and make it clear, clean and SEO friendly.
We all make mistakes, especially, with our navigation menu, but we forget that the menu is not just a tool to let visitors browse your page. But, the most important thing is that your main navigation can affect your SEO. So, make sure to follow the below tips to improve it and make it search engine and human-friendly.
Website navigation menu optimization tips
Never add posts in the menu
The common mistake that bloggers make is adding one or two of their top posts or articles in the navigation menu. The reason can be to promote a program or a product, but if you really want to make your blog optimized, then, you should forget to add post links in your main navigation menu. That will affect your ranking, but you can see that.
The link that you add will be visible on all your pages, let’s suppose that you want to add that post link in other posts and help it to get some boost, as a result your post will include that link twice, the first is on the navigation, and the second is the link that you’ve added to your posts.
The problem here is that Google will only count the first link in the navigation and forget the second link completely, you see? You are getting nothing as SEO from that link. Furthermore, all your posts will be linked to that post through the navigation menu and this will cause problems with irrelevant posts.
- You can also read about this Free WordPress sticky menu for Genesis themes.
Adding categories in navigation
This is the right step that you have to follow, categories are what gives real meaning to your posts and website, imagine a blog without categories and thousands of posts are there. In that case, the blog will lose a big part of its ranking, the more your posts are organized, the more Google will understand them and classify your posts in the right way.
Luckily, WordPress allows you to create categories and assign posts to categories easily. Make sure to create a few categories and never bombard your blog with very specific ones, why? Simply, because you will end with categories with lots of posts and that’s that Google sees. But also, other categories with a few posts and that will cause problems. After all, you won’t add a category with a couple of posts, that will look incomplete.
Categories add value to your navigation menu, and make it professional and optimized, so make sure to use your main categories as your menu links. Remember that a few categories will help better that dozens of them and forget to use the drop down menu with very specific links, that looks helpful. But, you will end with a slow loading time, and hundreds of additional links, to every page on your website.
There are two best locations to add your main menu, the top content, and the left sidebar. These locations receive the most intention and you should remember that when building your site. At the mean time, make your menu, simple as possible, it’s not a search engine to make it rich with links and words.
Just add your main categories, and remember that your visitors need a clear way to understand your website, and not being lost with links that make confusions.
- Recommended reading: Slug meaning in WordPress.
If you want to add links to your footer, forget categories, it’s better to have one single link per page. If you have products, for example, you can add some text about them in your footer and link to a landing page.
Don’t make things complicated and follow many popular websites with hundreds of links in their navigation menu. They have thousands of pages and millions of visitors, and they need to organize their links as possible. That’s the case of commercial websites with lots of products.
- Here is another article to read: Adding a link to WordPress image.
If you have a blog, then, limit your navigation links to 7 as a maximum for categories, even less than that will be great. The more links you add, the more problems you get with SEO, keep it simple, a few categories as links and your blog will be well optimized.
Link caption or title attribute
As the images ALT tag, the navigation menu needs to tell the visitor about every link to click on it. This will help to make your buttons short and clear. At the same time, you can add even a long phrase to describe that link when the visitor hovers over that link. This functionality is included in your WordPress menu settings. Just find Appearance, link, then menu at the left of your dashboard.
Breadcrumb on posts and pages only
Breadcrumb is a very important method to organize your posts and pages, it shows the parent category and the actual page link. That’s great for visitors but most importantly for Google that shows your post breadcrumb in the search result.
- Read also: Open blog post links in new window.
If you’re using the Genesis child themes, you can easily turn on the breadcrumb functionality, if not, search the WordPress directory plugins for “breadcrumb” and you will get a long list of plugins to create your breadcrumb.
Please remember that you only need to enable that functionality in your posts first, then in your pages, archive and other pages never need it. In other words, enable breadcrumb for posts and pages to be indexed only.
To make our WordPress website or blog navigation menu optimized, you have to add only your main categories, and never forget to add the minimum links as possible. Make the navigation designs looks good with your entire website colors and add some caption text to every link. And forget to add post links in your menu, that will hurt your SEO, if you want to promote a post, there are different way including the sidebar for example.