SEO taxonomy is a method for structuring your website to make it easier for search engines to crawl and users to navigate. Learn how our experts use it to improve search rankings and user experience.

Here, you’ll find:

While content may get all the glory in SEO, it’s not the only factor impacting your search engine rankings.

Website taxonomy also plays an important role in search engine optimization as it impacts user experience and how search engines understand your content.

Let’s dive into what SEO taxonomy is, why it’s important for your business, and how to optimize your site taxonomy for SEO.

What is SEO taxonomy?

SEO taxonomy is the process of organizing and categorizing pages on your site to improve visibility on search engines. Website taxonomy is a technical SEO element that helps search engines better understand the relationships between web pages so they can serve your content to relevant users.

What is site taxonomy?

Site taxonomy is the way a website structures its content as part of its website architecture. Ideally, you’ll create a structure that logically organizes content into categories and subcategories so users can easily navigate the site and find what they want.

The URL taxonomy depends on how you’ve set up subfolders in your URLs. The subfolders and slugs will change depending on how you categorize your content.

For example, let’s look at the following URL:

“hawksem” is the domain. “blog” is the subfolder where all our blog posts are held. And “enterprise-SEO” is the slug that refers to the page’s name (or, in this case, the blog post’s title).

Why is SEO taxonomy important for your business?

SEO taxonomy is important because it impacts how search engine bots crawl and understand your website. The better search engines can understand your site’s content and structure, the more relevant traffic they can drive to your site.

“We believe SEO Taxonomy is an important aspect of organizing your site’s content. A well-thought-out approach to how your content is laid out can enhance the overall user experience — something we know Google appreciates,” says Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM. “Sites with a superior user experience tend to have higher conversion rates.”

Here are several reasons to optimize your site’s taxonomy:

  • Boost SEO: Optimizing your site taxonomy makes it easier for search engines to understand and index your content. The result? Improved visibility and higher search rankings.
  • Improve user experience: Clearly and consistently categorizing your content improves the user experience. Customers can easily navigate your website, leading to increased engagement and conversions.
  • Support content strategy: When you have a well-organized site taxonomy, it’s easier to create an effective internal linking strategy. You can also easily spot gaps in content to prioritize in the future.

Different types of taxonomy

There are different types of taxonomies and each offers unique advantages. It may seem logical to organize your categories hierarchically, but this isn’t always the best option.

Let’s explore the differences so you can determine which taxonomy is suitable for your website.

Hierarchical taxonomies

A hierarchical taxonomy arranges categories based on their importance. You’ll often see this used with large websites with many pages.

The top-level categories are broad. Then, as you move down the hierarchy, the taxonomy gets specific. This allows site visitors to get in-depth information the deeper they go.

For example, on the HawkSEM website, one of our top-level categories is services. From there, you can dive deeper into specific services like PPC Management or SEO Services.

The URLs look like this: and, respectively.

Flat taxonomies

A flat taxonomy uses top-level categories with no subcategories. Businesses with small, simple sites with little content often choose this taxonomy.

With a flat taxonomy, each category is just as important as the next. With just a few pages to explore, users don’t need more navigational options.

You may see this taxonomy type for a service provider with a few pages on their site. Here’s a great example of a flat taxonomy from a local Austin photographer:

flat taxonomy example

These categories don’t have sub-categories. In other words, there are no additional pages for each top-level page.

Faceted taxonomies

A faceted taxonomy organizes topics into multiple criteria or facets, each with multiple options. Ecommerce sites use this structure to allow visitors to find content by filtering for specific attributes.

Faceted taxonomy offers a customized customer experience by making it easy to sort through content. Users can combine different options from different facets to find exactly what they’re looking for.

For example, clothing stores like Nordstrom use faceted taxonomy to allow customers to filter by size, color, brand, price, material, and more.

Network taxonomies

A network taxonomy organizes content into interconnected categories with meaningful relationships. This taxonomy type is common among ecommerce stores and blog or news sites to add context between pages.

For example, Content Marketing Institute publishes various articles around different content marketing topics. The site uses network taxonomy to categorize articles under “latest stories,” “top stories,” and “upcoming events.”

The articles in the “latest stories” category are on different aspects of content marketing but have one thing in common — they were published recently.

8 best practices for SEO taxonomy optimization

The goal of SEO taxonomy is to organize your site’s structure so it’s user-friendly and optimized for search engine algorithms. In other words, it makes the site easy to understand and navigate.

Here are some best practices to optimize your site’s taxonomy:

  1. Choose a clean, logical site structure
  2. Organize your content into categories
  3. Consider your audience and how they search
  4. Do comprehensive keyword research
  5. Incorporate keywords into metadata
  6. Add relevant internal links across pages
  7. Be mindful of URL structure
  8. Measure taxonomies traffic and search ranking

1. Choose a clean, logical site structure

Choose a clear, logical taxonomy structure based on your site and audience. Review the different types of taxonomies above to determine which makes the most sense for your website.

Remember, the site taxonomy you choose will help search engines crawl your site and make it easy for visitors to navigate and find what they need.

2. Organize your content into categories

Whatever site taxonomy you choose, organize your content into categories. This makes the SEO process easier.

Even if you don’t choose a hierarchical structure, organize your content into categories. This will show how new content relates to other site content and ensure you build a successful site structure.

For example, when HawkSEM’s team put together the structure for our blog, we listed general categories covering all topics we write about regularly.

These categories help our readers find the articles they’re most interested in and help us find internal linking opportunities for new content.

3. Consider your audience and how they search

It’s easy to forget you’re still designing your site for human users when you’re focused on SEO. So consider your audience and how they typically search for things, then structure your site’s content to match their behaviors.

This will require user research to determine how real visitors use your site and what they expect to find there. This information will help you develop a navigation menu and category pages that make it easy for users to find what they want.

4. Do comprehensive keyword research

Keyword research is central to any good SEO strategy. And site taxonomy SEO is no exception. 

Determine which keywords your target audience uses to find sites like yours, then create relevant content around these search terms. Use a keyword research tool like Semrush, Moz, or Ahrefs to find relevant keywords with higher volume and lower competition.

These search terms inform your taxonomy organization by allowing you to group related keywords and create new categories and subcategories. 

5. Incorporate keywords into metadata

The keywords you research inform the topics of the high-quality content you’ll create. Also, add these search terms in the metadata for your categories, subcategories, and product pages.

Including your keywords in the page titles (or title tags), meta descriptions, and image alt tags will improve SEO and increase your visibility on search engines.

Here’s a great example from Darn Good Yarn with the keyword “crochet kits.” It uses the keyword in the title tag (“Crochet Kits – Supplies – Beginners”) and meta description.

Using keywords in your metadata helps Google understand what your website pages are about to serve your content to relevant users searching for those keywords. Ultimately, this leads to higher click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates.

6. Add relevant internal links across pages

Internal linking is a vital part of on-page SEO. Creating internal links across your site pages helps search engines understand the relationship between different types of content.

SEO tools like Semrush will identify topic clusters and inform your content organization and internal linking strategy. For example, let’s say you’re looking for topics and keywords around “leadership development.”

Semrush identifies a topic cluster with high-ranking potential around the keyword “difficult conversation examples.” This cluster contains keyword phrases like “types of difficult conversations at work” and “examples of difficult conversations with employees.”

If you create a pillar page around “difficult conversation examples,” you may also create separate blog posts on these two subtopics within the cluster that link back to the pillar page and each other.

7. Be mindful of URL structure

URL taxonomy, or URL structure, plays a role in your overall site taxonomy SEO. Keep the URL structure simple and consistent across pages so Google understands what the pages are about.

Use categories to group pages together with a URL structure that’s easy for both humans and search engines to understand.

For example, a blog URL structure like: is complex and doesn’t reveal the category.

However, if you use, it’s easy for everyone to understand this is a blog post on content marketing.

Here’s a great example of good URL structure from our blog:
URL taxonomy example

The URL is, which shows this page is a part of the blog category. And the slug “enterprise-SEO” explains exactly what the post is about using the SEO keyword. 

We use this URL structure for each blog post. It clearly shows this content is in the blog category and what the post is about.

Use good URL taxonomy across your site so it’s easy for your target audience to navigate and search engine crawlers to understand and index. 

8. Measure taxonomies traffic and search ranking

Monitor your taxonomy SEO performance to find improvements. Use a tool like Google Analytics to track your website’s performance over time, monitoring key SEO metrics that indicate your taxonomy’s effectiveness.

Here are several metrics we recommend monitoring:

Search traffic 

Search traffic determines the effectiveness of your site taxonomy. For example, high search traffic for certain categories or subcategories is a sign the taxonomy effectively categorizes content so it’s simple for users to find what they’re looking for.

Search engine rankings

Search engine rankings also help you measure and improve your taxonomy SEO. Look at the keywords and phrases your website ranks for. Do they accurately reflect the content on your website? If so, this is a good sign search engines can index your content accurately.

Conversion rates 

Conversion rates show how well you optimized your taxonomy. They determine which website pages are most effective at driving conversions and which need adjusting. Revisit the taxonomies of categories and subcategories with low conversion rates.


How users engage with your content is one of the greatest indicators of the effectiveness of your SEO taxonomy. Look at engagement metrics like the number of clicks, time spent on page, number of pages visited, and bounce rates. High user engagement suggests your site is easy to navigate, while higher bounce rates suggest the opposite.

“Tracking is an essential part of any marketing campaign. We use ConversionIQ (CIQ) to granularly track every step of the buyer journey to understand what aspects of a campaign are working and where we should trim the fat,” Yadegar says. “This allows us to optimize towards a higher ROI year over year.”

Monitoring these metrics alone isn’t enough. Use the information you gather to make data-driven decisions about refining your taxonomy SEO for better results. 

The takeaway

Taxonomy SEO plays an important role in your overall search engine optimization, so don’t overlook it when creating and implementing your SEO strategy.

Optimizing your taxonomy is an ongoing process that involves monitoring performance and making ongoing optimizations for the best results. However, updating and maintaining your taxonomy SEO can be challenging without an SEO consultant on your team.

With our SEO strategies, HawkSEM helped Moneta Group increase conversions by over 23%. And we’re ready to help you get results too.

Need support with SEO taxonomy? Let’s chat.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation