An effective site navigation menu is one of the most important factors of a successful website. The menu helps guide users through the website, allowing them to jump to specific pages as they feel necessary. Additionally, a well-built navigation menu can also help search engines crawl new pages and determine a hierarchy of the pages on the site. Now a navigation redesign can be a time consuming process, however, if done properly can help increase conversions, brand awareness, and rankings.
Build a Navigation for Users Before Search Engines
Now this article is based on building a site navigation that is aimed at increasing the site’s SEO, yet the first suggestion is to build a navigation for users over search engines. This is suggested because how users interact on the site, influences how the search engines rank the site. When a user searches a term, lands on the site, and navigates multiple pages this tells search engines the site is related to that specific term. In other words, the search engines realize the site and related pages should be ranked higher in the results for that term. If users land on the site and cannot navigate search engines will determine the page is unrelated to the term and move the ranking down.
Limit the Number of Pages Within the Navigation
To make the navigation easier for users to navigate it’s important to limit the number of pages that are being shown in the navigation. There’s no right or wrong number when it comes to creating a navigation menu, it will come down to a few different factors. It will be based on how many pages your site has and how they are categorized. Many developers find that they need to combine certain categories to make the navigation work correctly. Additionally, it’s important to limit how far the drop down menu shows on the page. Ensure the navigation does NOT show below the fold. Unfortunately, there are many sites that never test their navigation with different screen sizes and browsers to see how it is viewed. The result, parts of the navigation not showing for some users. This creates a poor user experience and can result in a higher bounce rate.
Make it Mobile-Friendly
We understand the importance of creating a website that is mobile-friendly, and this also includes building a mobile-friendly navigation. Mobile devices are limited by size which means developers need to build navigations that are easy to use. This means limiting the number of pages that are clickable and how many pages are shown. A common practice is to create submenus, where users can click further into the navigation menu.