4 SEO & UX Tips: Ecommerce Website Navigation to Grow Sales
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4 SEO & UX Tips for Ecommerce Website Navigation That Grows Sales

Website navigation menus are interactive visual lists that serve as directionals, steering consumers to key areas of your website. They signal areas of interest and serve as quick guides to services and products offered by your brand.

Did you know that 88% of online shoppers say they won’t return to a site where they had a bad user experience?

Navigation menus are crucial to ecommerce websites for both user experience and SEO purposes. When created and implemented thoughtfully, your navigation lists can improve your website’s traffic and search engine rank!

Great website navigation is critical to ecommerce success. A lack of clarity in your website navigation causes a confusing user experience (UX)—a major inconvenience for your website visitors. Shopper frustration sends your customers to competitor sites. Thus, poor navigation can cost your brand traffic, sales, and SEO rankings.

On the bright side, our team has many strategies for making website navigation menus clear, concise, and user-friendly—helping consumers find the products they’re looking for and the listings you want them to find.

Here are 4 SEO/UX tips for great ecommerce website navigation:

1. Make your website navigation as visible and organized as possible.

Make sure you have proper SEO labels for your page categories. Descriptive labels that incorporate keyword optimization can improve website ranking in search engines while also enhancing your user experience. This includes using a proper color and spacing pattern for your categories.

If your goal is to sell, don’t make your shoppers struggle to buy from you. Place your navigation in an expected and predictable area. After decades of ecommerce shopping experience, online consumers have been trained on where to look for navigational cues. Ensure your websites’ navigation menus are clearly separated from your page content and distinguished using high-visibility methods, such as contrasting colors.

Pro Tip: Consider how important Amazon has been in shaping the marketplace user experience, especially cart and checkout.

The Nielsen Norman Group confirms that hidden navigation menus hurt your user experience in terms of task completion time and success. Research also shows that users are less likely to use navigation menus that are hidden, causing your users to miss internal content links hosted in your navigation. Why hide your great content or helpful pages that help users convert?

2. Include a search bar near your website navigation.

Search bars are essential for ecommerce websites. Not only do they improve your user experience by providing shortcuts to products, but they also boost your conversion rate. Various studies confirm this, indicating that the overall ecommerce conversion rate doubled when users were offered a search bar in the website navigation.

Search bars not only improve user experience, but they can also improve overall SEO for your website. Strong UX and conversions signal to Google that your website matches user intent, so Google perceives your site as higher quality and worthy of a better organic rank in the SERP.

Given the screen size constraints of mobile devices, search bars are even more essential (and expected) on mobile. If you don’t have a search bar as part of your navigation, consider adding one. If you do have one, make sure you optimize its design and functionality, such as match types and results display.

3. Know your audiences.

Consider how you can optimize the positioning of your navigation categories. Ideally, the categories of your navigation menu should be arranged based on your audiences’ preferences to help your shoppers reach their destination as quickly and directly as possible.

There are multiple methods for gleaning which categories you should include in your menu and where to place them. Here are a few:

  1. Utilize key metrics data from Google Analytics (sessions, revenue, transactions, etc.) and place categories with the highest traffic toward the upper left. Why there? The upper left corner of your website should house your most important content because that is where users start when scanning your site, and that is where they expect to find the main menu. Operating systems and applications have trained us all to look in the top left first.
  2. Utilize user flow data from Google Analytics. User flow data displays how users move through your site, so you can optimize your navigation menu for both user experience and conversion rate.
  3. Look at heatmaps using tools such as Hotjar. Heatmaps are terrific for identifying the clicks, scroll patterns, views, and other user-interaction information on your website. Using heatmaps to identify which navigation categories have the most clicks gives you an idea of how to rearrange your navigation menu based on user preference.

To get a full picture of how shoppers are moving through your site, why not try all three methods? Site visitors will tell you what they want, and you can optimize from there.

4. Limit the number of categories in your website navigation.

We all know that sometimes less is more. Still, some merchants and website designers insert as many categories as possible in an attempt to maximize user access. Unfortunately for them, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach creates clutter and confusion. Let your search bar do some of the heavy lifting.

There are SEO disadvantages of having too many items in a navigation menu. Specifically, an excess of categories diminishes the authority of your homepage, leading to lower ranks within search engines. If you find you have too many navigation menu categories, you can fix it relatively quickly and easily by thoughtfully relocating some of your menu links to the header and footer as appropriate.

Keep in mind that navigation menus with too few categories are also problematic, requiring users to spend extra time and effort manually searching for products.

Therefore, it’s critical to ensure your website’s navigation menu has the optimal number of categories—which most research indicates is around five to seven categories. Based on an assessment of your website’s size and content, apply the right number of categories to improve both your user experience and SEO rank.

Next Steps

Above are just four of many ways to improve your website navigation structure. Each method can help you drastically increase your website’s user satisfaction, as well as key metrics likes traffic, search rank, and conversion.

Ensure experts perform all changes to your website methodically. While optimizing your website navigation menus alone may not take your ecommerce business to the next level, it is a step in the right direction toward maximizing your UX and SEO. We have plenty more proven techniques where this came from if you’re looking for next-level conversion optimization.

While your data will show what your site visitors want, you need to know how to gather and interpret the right data. At Agital, we have the specialized systems, tools, and expertise required to understand and implement your site’s user data. To help you, we offer conversion testing run by experts who get results that optimize websites and grow businesses.


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