What Is Taxonomy SEO? Site Structure SEO Best Practices

Aaron Haynes
Jan 9, 2024
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Have you ever wondered why your meticulously crafted content isn’t climbing the search engine ranks as expected? The answer might lie in an often-overlooked best practice: taxonomy SEO.

A search engine optimization practice that’s all about creating order out of chaos.

So, if you’re ready to whip that website into shape, here’s what we’ve lined up for you:

  1. A straightforward answer to the question, “What is taxonomy SEO.”
  2. Insightful tips on implementing effective taxonomy strategies.
  3. Real-world examples and best practices to illustrate the power of well-structured website taxonomy.

What Is Taxonomy SEO?

Drawing inspiration from the scientific field of taxonomy, which specializes in the classification of organisms, Taxonomy SEO (search engine optimization) involves strategically categorizing and structuring a website’s content—specifically, refining site structure. It’s an approach that’s typically executed in a hierarchical manner, leveraging internal linking to craft a site layout that is not only user-friendly but also finely tuned for optimal search engine visibility and indexability.

That’s the theory behind it, anyway. But what does taxonomy SEO look like in practice?

Taxonomy SEO Real-World Example 👇

Let’s say you run an eCommerce site that sells clothing. In this scenario, you’d arrange product pages into categories, tags, and facets.

Categories in Taxonomy SEO

Categories serve as the primary gateways guiding your visitors to more specific areas of your site. They are the backbone of your site’s structure, especially for an eCommerce platform like the one we’re envisioning. For instance, the categories might include “Men,” “Women,” and “Kids.”

Tags in Taxonomy SEO

Tags are typically single-value, specific descriptors used to boost the discoverability of content by linking related items and making it easier for users and search engines to find related content across different categories. In the context of an eCommerce site, a T-shirt might be tagged with attributes like “cotton,” “graphic print,” or “crew neck.”

Facets in Taxonomy SEO

Facets, also known as filters or attributes, are multi-value and specific. They are often used in eCommerce settings to allow users to refine their search based on multiple attributes simultaneously, like “size,” “color,” “brand,” and “price range.”

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Why Is Taxonomy SEO Important?

You now understand the value of Taxonomy SEO: intuitive site structure.

But there’s more here than simply organization and tidiness.

Why Taxonomy SEO Is Important to User Experience (UX)

Imagine a visitor lands on your site looking for something specific. If your content is haphazardly arranged, they will likely have a hard time finding what they’re looking for, subsequently bouncing off your site and negatively affecting the metrics that Google uses to judge the value and helpfulness of your site. On the other hand, a logical and intuitive taxonomy keeps users engaged, reducing bounce rates and increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Why Taxonomy SEO Is Important to Content Discoverability

Well-planned site taxonomy doesn’t just help users find what they’re looking for. Nope, it can also lead them to content they didn’t even know they needed. Intelligently categorizing and linking related content creates pathways for discovery, keeping users engaged and on your site for longer periods, which, as we just touched on, is the perfect way to signal to Google that your site’s content is worth ranking.

Why Taxonomy SEO Is Important to Search Rankings

Search engines, like Google, love order and relevance. When your site’s taxonomy is clear and logical, search engines can easily crawl and index your pages, understanding the context and relevance of your content and establishing a level of clarity that boosts your visibility in search results.

Types and Best Practices of Taxonomy SEO

Taxonomy SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are several types, each with unique advantages, and choosing the right one depends on your website’s content and your audience’s needs.

Hierarchical Taxonomy: The Classic Approach

Think of hierarchical taxonomy as a family tree. They start broad and get more specific as you go down the levels. For example, an online bookstore might have a top-level category like “Genres,” which then breaks down into “Fiction,” “Non-Fiction,” and so on, eventually leading to specific genres like “Science Fiction” or “Biographies.” A structure that’s intuitive and mirrors how we naturally categorize information in our minds.

Best Practice: Each level should be clearly defined and logically flow from general to specific. Following this format helps users navigate your site more efficiently and improves search engine understanding of your content’s hierarchy.

Flat Taxonomy: Keeping It Simple

Flat taxonomy is more straightforward. They don’t have multiple levels but instead, categorize content at a single level. An approach that works well for smaller sites with less content. For instance, a local bakery’s website might have categories like “Breads,” “Cakes,” and “Pastries,” each leading directly to relevant products.

Best Practice: Use flat taxonomies when you have a narrower range of content. That way, you’ll prevent overwhelming users with too many choices and keep navigation simple.

Faceted Taxonomy: The Power of Filtering

Faceted taxonomy allows users to filter content based on multiple attributes. eCommerce sites often use this approach. For example, as we touched on earlier, a clothing store might let you filter products by size, color, brand, and price. It’s an approach that allows users to refine their search and find exactly what they want.

Best Practice: Be sure your facets are relevant to your audience’s needs and the nature of your content. Too many irrelevant facets will lead to confusion and a poor user experience.

Network Taxonomy: Interconnected Content

Network taxonomy is less about strict hierarchies and more about interrelated content. They’re great for sites with content that overlaps across various categories. For instance, a health and wellness blog might link articles on “Yoga” to related content in “Mental Health” or “Diet.”

Best Practice: Use network taxonomy to highlight the interconnectedness of your content. Doing so encourages users to explore your site more deeply and discover a broader range of topics.

Taxonomy SEO FAQ

Q1: How Does Taxonomy SEO Differ for eCommerce Sites Compared to Content-Driven Websites?

Answer: In eCommerce sites, Taxonomy SEO focuses on product categorization, using facets for filtering by attributes like size or color, while content-driven sites use taxonomy to group similar topics or themes for better content discoverability. The key difference lies in the user’s intent—eCommerce taxonomy aims to streamline the shopping experience, whereas content sites focus on information navigation.

Q2: Can Taxonomy SEO Impact Website Loading Speed, and How Can This Be Managed?

Answer: Yup, complex taxonomy structures can impact website loading speed, especially if they generate numerous pages. To manage this, optimize your site’s architecture for efficiency, use caching, and regularly audit your taxonomy to remove redundant or unnecessary categories and tags.

Q3: How Frequently Should Taxonomy Structures Be Reviewed and Updated for Optimal SEO Performance?

Answer: Taxonomy structures should be reviewed and updated at least bi-annually to stay ahead of current user search behaviors and content trends. And, hey, regular updates help maintain site relevance and effectiveness in search engine rankings, which is never a bad thing.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Remember, the goal of well-planned site taxonomy is to make your website not just a collection of pages but a well-organized repository of information that users and search engines can easily navigate.

But achieving this level of mastery isn’t always a walk in the park—it requires expertise, time, and a keen understanding of both SEO and user behavior.

That’s where Loganix comes in. Our suite of SEO services is designed to take the complexity out of the equation for you. Whether you’re running an eCommerce platform, a content-driven blog, or any other type of website, our team has the expertise to craft a tailored SEO strategy that’ll align perfectly with your goals.

🚀 Visit Loganix’s SEO services page to start your journey towards a more discoverable, user-friendly, and search-optimized website. 🚀

Written by Aaron Haynes on January 9, 2024

CEO and partner at Loganix, I believe in taking what you do best and sharing it with the world in the most transparent and powerful way possible. If I am not running the business, I am neck deep in client SEO.