How to Create an SEO & User-friendly Navigation for Local Businesses

Creating a website navigation that’s SEO and user-friendly is an important foundational element for any online business, and this is no different when it comes to local SEO. Use these steps and examples to create a website navigation that enhances user experience (UX) and adds value to your overall SEO strategy.

  1. The importance of navigation
  2. Content planning
  3. Logical website hierarchy
  4. Mobile-friendly navigation

The importance of website navigation

Before jumping in, it’s important to understand the role of navigation menus when it comes to ranking factors and user-experience considerations.

UX and SEO navigation overlap chart

Pro Tip: Consider adding high value pages (such as products or services) to your website’s navigation as outlined in this checklist for Local SEO.

Ranking factors

There are hundreds of ranking factors, and a website’s navigation plays a major role when it comes to search engine optimization.

1. User behavior – A website that’s difficult to use or navigate can hurt rankings indirectly by reducing time on site, number of pages viewed, and bounce rate.

2. Crawl depth – Pages included in the website’s navigation will have a crawl depth of 1. This is a powerful link signal that shows search engines that a page is important.

3. Site structure – A well-organized site structure can help add context about topics and subtopics related to your target keywords.

Pro Tip: A breadcrumb navigation (or secondary nav) can add additional context for users and search engines. This can generate rich results using structured data and positively impact click-through rate (CTR).

User experience

It’s important that SEO isn’t the only consideration when it comes to creating a navigation menu for your website.

  • Directionality – Most people read left to right. Place your most important pages to the left.
  • Functionality – The nav should function smoothly across all devices (mobile, desktop, etc).
  • Conversions – Consider including a call-to-action and / or phone number to help convert.

Pro Tip: You can also include other forms of navigation to help users (and search engines) access and index your content. This includes navigational footer links and sidebars.

Content planning

When it comes to creating and organizing a navigation for local businesses, content planning is one of the most important steps. This helps to identify existing content, determine content that needs to be created, and organize the content on the site in a way that is meaningful.

For many local businesses, content may be grouped as follows…

Example of a navigation for a local business

Depending on you business and its products / services, this will likely differ, but the basics are as follows:

💰 Product / service pages – These are high value or “money” pages that are closely associated with transactional keywords related to as business’s products or services.

⭐ Review and testimonial pages – Your business should have at least one page dedicated to showcasing reviews and customer testimonials. This helps to build trust with website visitors and can help turn traffic into customers. This can also include case studies or projects.

📍 Location or service area pages – If your businesses serves a large area or has multiple locations, it’s often a good idea to create local landing pages that target specific services in each location.

🌐 About & brand pages – Every business should have an “About” page that provides more information about the business. This can include company history, key team members, and other factual information. This can include team member pages, frequently asked questions (FAQs), or other helpful resources.

📚 Blog posts – Every local business should have a blog that provides value. Blog posts can be a great way to establish authority and rank for questions customers may have throughout the buying cycle.

📩 Contact form pages – All websites should have a general contact page that’s easily accessible (e.g. in the website navigation), and allows customers to find information about the business. This should include a contact form, directions, and phone number.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some examples of how these pages should be structured for SEO & UX…

Logical website hierarchy

For both SEO and users, websites should follow a logical hierarchy (structure) that adds a layer of meaning and organization to the content.

💰 Product / service pages


There are tons of ways to structure service pages. Generally, this comes down to whether you want to have a flat or hierarchical structure (both can be advantageous) .

General concept examples:

  • /service-name/ (flat structure)
  • /service-category/subservice/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /service-category/subservice-1/
    • /service-category/subservice-2/
    • /service-category/subservice-3/

Law firm example:

  • /st-louis-personal-injury-lawyer/ (flat structure)
  • /personal-injury/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /personal-injury/car-accident-lawyer/
    • /personal-injury/truck-accident-lawyer/
    • /personal-injury/motorcycle-accident-lawyer/

Pest control example:

  • /st-louis-pest-control/ (flat structure)
  • /pest-control/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /pest-control/termites/
    • /plumbing/bed-bugs/
    • /service-category/mosquitos/

Plumbing example:

  • /st-louis-plumbing/ (flat structure)
  • /plumbing/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /plumbing/drain-cleaning/
    • /plumbing/leak-repair-and-detection/
    • /plumbing/hydro-jetting/

⭐ Review and testimonial pages


For most businesses, a simple review or testimonials page will suffice. However, there are some niches (such as law firms or marketing agencies) that can benefit from having custom post types like case results.

General concept examples:

  • /reviews/ (flat structure)
  • /testimonials/ (flat structure)
  • /results/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /results/case-study-1/
    • /results/case-study-2/
    • /results/case-study-3/

Law firm example:

  • /$200k-car-accident-settlement-after-rear-end-collision-in-st-louis-missouri/ (flat structure)
  • /results/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /case-results/$200k-car-accident-settlement-after-rear-end-collision-in-st-louis-missouri/
    • /case-results/$100k-truck-accident-settlement-after-highway-accident-in-st-louis-missouri/
    • /case-results/$100k-motorcycle-accident-settlement-due-to-drunk-driving-accident-in-st-louis-missouri/

Marketing agency example:

  • /200-percent-increase-in-monthly-calls-after-seo-project-for-st-louis-plumbing-company/ (flat structure)
  • /case-studies/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /case-studies/200-percent-increase-in-monthly-calls-after-seo-project-for-st-louis-plumbing-company/
    • /case-studies/150-percent-increase-in-monthly-traffic-after-seo-project-for-st-louis-pest-control-company/
    • /case-studies/100-percent-increase-in-yearly-traffic-after-seo-project-for-st-louis-law-firm/

📍 Location or service area pages


Location and service area pages can come in all different shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most popular formats when it comes to local SEO…

General concept examples:

  • /city-name-service/ (flat structure)
  • /city-name-service/subservice/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /city-name-service/subservice-1/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /city-name-service/subservice-2/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /city-name-service/subservice-3/ (hierarchical structure)

Law firm example:

  • /st-louis-personal-injury-lawyer/ (flat structure)
  • /personal-injury/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /st-louis/car-accident-lawyer/
    • /st-louis/truck-accident-lawyer/
    • /st-louis/motorcycle-accident-lawyer/

Pest control example:

  • /st-louis-pest-control/ (flat structure)
  • /st-louis/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /st-louis/termite-control/
    • /st-louis/bed-bug-control/
    • /st-louis/mosquito-control/

Plumbing example:

  • /st-louis-plumbing/ (flat structure)
  • /st-louis/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /st-louis/drain-cleaning/
    • /st-louis/leak-repair-and-detection/
    • /st-louis/hydro-jetting/

Pro Tip: There are tons of possibilities for how to structure these. Take a look at what pages are already ranking and how those pages fit into competing sites. Then, use this to inform your own strategy.

🌐 About & brand pages


Brand pages typically follow one of the hierarchies below, but can have some variation depending on the purpose of the page(s) and niche.

General concept examples:

  • /about-us/ (flat structure)
  • /team/team-member-name/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /team/member-1/
    • /team/member-2/
    • /team/member-3/

Law firm example:

  • /john-doe/ (flat structure)
  • /attorneys/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /attorneys/john-doe/
    • /attorneys/john-smith/
    • /attorneys/molly-white/

Pro Tip: Consider other pages that might be helpful for customers who are in the buying cycle. This can include FAQ pages, resources, or pages that are dedicated to promotions (such as coupon pages).

📚 Blog posts


Brand pages typically follow the one of the hierarchies below, but can have some variation depending on the purpose of the page(s) and niche.

  • /post-name/ (flat structure)
  • /articles/post-name/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /articles/missouri-personal-injury-statute-of-limitations/
    • /articles/how-long-does-a-personal-injury-case-take-to-settle/
    • /articles/average-settlement-amount-for-car-accidents

Pro Tip: Adding structure here makes it really simple to understand how the blog is performing overall in Google Analytics or Search Console because all posts will share a common URL slug.

📩 Contact form pages


Contact pages should be simple and showcase all contact points for a business including phone, email, address, and a contact form for general inquiries.

  • /contact-us/ (flat structure)
  • /contact/city-name/ (hierarchical structure)
    • /contact/st-louis-office/
    • /contact/st-charles-office/
    • /contact/chesterfield-office/

Pro tip: You may want to create additional landing pages for other types of forms. For example, and estimate or consultation would likely have a different page and unique form to better segment your audience.

Mobile-friendly navigation

Whichever pages you decide to include in your website navigation, you’ll want to be sure that it’s mobile friendly. This means that the navigation is responsive on all devices and screen sizes.

Google's mobile-friendly test

You can audit this manually or use Google’s mobile-friendly test – using both methods is a good idea just to be sure.

Additional considerations

Making changes to a website’s navigation can have a positive impact on rankings. Because of this, it’s recommended to track rankings with a tool like SEMrush’s rank tracker (get a 7-day free trial) and LocalViking GeoGrid reports to understand the impact of any updates.

Additionally, there are other on-page factors to consider, which are often updated alongside navigation changes. This generally includes title tagsmeta descriptionsimage optimization, and headings tags but can also include other page elements like URLs and open graph tags.