Mega-Brilliant Mega Menus: The Navigational Element That’s Good for SEO
Imagine you’re building your dream house. Money is not an issue here, so it can be whatever design you like and with as many rooms as you want. Chances are, you’ll include a large indoor swimming pool, or a spacious library, and a super-sized home cinema. And most probably, you’ll draw all of these luxury features before making an architectural plan. In the world of search engine optimization, this is a huge mistake. You want your new house to make it easy to find your way around and that the layout should be logical, but intuitive. It should be the same with your website—you start by planning where you’ll place every page on your site. And when you take away all the graphics, colors, fonts, images, and the white space in there, a good site design is really all about a great structure.
Why Website Structure MattersPlanning out the structure of your site is extremely important. A good site structure, to be more specific, leads to a great user experience. The human mind seeks out cognitive equilibrium; they crave the ability to logically put pieces together, the ability to find things where they should be, and the ability to find what they are seeking. In a sense, a logical site structure is satisfying to users as far as cognitive thinking goes. As you should know, the more appealing your site is to users, the more appealing it is to search engines. Note that Google uses data from users to rank your site in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and if your site has a low click-through rate, it will not perform well. That means the specific navigation elements you put in place deserve majority of your attention in the process.
The Concept of “Link Juice”A good site structure also matters because it plays a crucial role in link authority. As with most sites, the vast majority of link juice accumulates at the home page—because people just link there. If you offer a great-selling product line, the page related to it might acquire more juice than the home page, but it’s rare. To drive prospective clients to your site, you need to pour some link juice into your highest-level category pages and their subcategories, which you do by linking those pages through site-wide navigational elements.
Implementing Mega Menus RightSo yes, navigational elements like the mega menu are good for SEO.They can, however, end up disadvantageous when taken too far.Done wrong, mega menus can create SEO headaches.The forest of options might “obscure the trees”, confusing users with too many options. Mega menus can be completely non-functional as well if the window is too narrow. To make sure you implement a mega menu right, Search Engine Land lists some important considerations:
- Assess the “SEO strength” – Consider how many of your categories to include and the depth each requires, as well as how much SEO value you need to spend.
- Keep things simple; add anchor links – According to Search Engine Land, it’s important to use a mega menu that’s visually clear and has anchor text written, especially for the home page and higher level pages.
- Use visual markers – Differing background colors and other visual markers should tell users that they are looking at different departmental navigational elements.
- Plan what links to include– Search Engine Land recommends not including a link to a page that only lists everything on a single page in the mega menus (It flattens out the site hierarchy).