How to Create an Effective Ecommerce Site Map for SEO

Watch this video or read the article below


A sitemap is an outline of all the sections or pages on your website. This is kind of like the outlines you were taught to write in school before you wrote your paper, for example.

And what’s the purpose of an outline? Well, for a school assignment, if you write an outline first, you’ll typically find it much easier to organize your content and also make sure that you’re including all of the information that you want to include. So the same is true for a website. We want an organized place for all the information.

And a sitemap does just that. Now there are some basic pages that almost all websites will have, and those are Home, About, Contact, Privacy Policy, and a Terms of Service. For e commerce stores, other popular menu items are Categories for the items you sell, A blog, Frequently Asked Questions, My Account, Cart, return and shipping policies.

Now let’s talk about our product categories in particular. All of your products in your online store need to be in at least one category. This category should be descriptive of the type of product and also understandable by customers. Think too of how your customers refer to your products and whether or not you need to use specific jargon in your category names.

Category terms are important not only for visitors to easily find items in your store, Those terms are also indexed by search engines to understand what you’re selling. So this is a great place to insert target keywords for a boost in the SERPs. Now you may also have subcategories. If you do, they should be included in the drop downs on your main menu.


Let’s go over this a little more in detail


Having a well-organized site map is crucial for any ecommerce business looking to improve their SEO and site navigation. But what exactly should your ecommerce site map include and how do you structure it effectively? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process.

Follow along to create a strategically optimized site map tailored for ecommerce success!

Conduct Competitor Research

Before mapping out your own site, it helps to see what others in your niche are doing. Find 3-5 of your top competitors and analyze the pages and categories on their sites.

As you’re researching, consider questions like:

– What main pages and categories do they include?
– How is their information structured and labeled?
– Is their architecture intuitive or confusing?
– Are key terms and phrases well-incorporated?

Essentially, you want to borrow smart ideas from sites with effective navigation while learning how not to structure specific sections on poorer sites. Competitor research gives you a peek behind the curtain to inform your own site map creation.

Incorporate Relevant Keywords

Now that you’ve spied on the competition, let’s discuss working keywords into your site architecture. Your keywords should match target search queries for your ecommerce business.

Be sure to include relevant terms, especially for main site sections and product categories. This helps search engines understand your overall content focus.

For example, an outdoor apparel ecommerce site could utilize keywords like:

Site Sections:
– Hiking gear
– Camping equipment
– Outdoor apparel

Product Categories:
– Hiking boots
– Tents
– Rain jackets

These precise phrases accurately describe site content to search bots for better SEO. Plus they facilitate user navigation by clearly labeling pages and categories.

Craft Intuitive Information Architecture

With research and keywords included, now structure your actual site map architecture. Information architecture refers to how your website’s pages and content are organized and structured.

For ecommerce, consider separating major site sections into distinct groups based on relationships. For instance:

About Us
– Our Story
– Team
– Awards

Shop by Category
– Hiking Gear
– Boots
– Backpacks
– Camping Equipment
– Tents
– Sleeping Bags


This basic breakdown enables intuitive navigation between related sub-pages. Visitors can seamlessly move between hiking backpacks and boots for example.

Separate disparate pages like “About Us” and “Shop” for clarity. Creating defined sections tied to keywords also improves onsite SEO.

Build Out Site Menus and Pages

Now build out your information architecture deeper by mapping actual site menus and priority pages. Consider which pages you want to highlight in main menus vs. secondary menus like footers.

For instance, your main menu may include top-level categories:

Main Menu
– Hiking Gear
– Camping Equipment
– Outdoor Apparel

While secondary menus could cover one-off pages:

Footer Menu
– Contact Us
– About Us
– Shipping Policy

You can refer to our previous blog on THE DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF THE TOP MENU THAT SETS IT APART for more tips on menu layout.Additionally refer to your competitor research for menu inspiration if needed. But focus menus around keywords and content for your specific business.

Be sure to incorporate all necessary ecommerce pages like “Shopping Cart” along with general site pages too. Outline it however works best for your future content structure.

Review and Refine Your Sitemap

With your initial sitemap fleshed out, now take a look with fresh eyes. Print it out or open the Word document and review your architecture similar to an actual site visitor.

As you scan through, consider these refinement questions:

Does the site flow and groupings make sense? Or do some sections seem disconnected?
Are product categories labeled clearly? Will those labels resonate with my target customers?
Are contact pages and policies easy to locate? How about the shopping cart?
Does page structure reflect expected visitor behavior patterns?

Essentially, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Refine information architecture and menus that seem confusing or illogical based on their potential experience.

For extra assurance, you can even ask friends or colleagues to review your sitemap for additional feedback.

Revise and Finalize Site Map

With constructive feedback incorporated, finalize revisions to your sitemap. Hone your site architecture for maximum visibility + usability.

The refined sitemap serves as your master blueprint for actual site development later, so get it as polished as possible now to save major rework down the road.

You may still make tweaks once you build pages, but this provides critical directional guidance. Plus it gives you a prioritized content development checklist so you know exactly which pages and copy to tackle first!

Don’t settle for a boring, hard-to-read menu that blends into the background. Sign up for a Toto Coaching class today and learn creative ways to make your menu visually engaging and functional

Execute Ongoing Optimization

Even once your site launches, occasionally circle back to re-evaluate your information architecture. See if new pages should be added or if certain sections should be reorganized over time.

Monitor user behavior and update site mapping whenever changes could enhance user experience and on page SEO.


Creating a strategically optimized sitemap is crucial for ecommerce success, both for site navigation and search visibility.

Follow this comprehensive guide to craft site architecture tailored to your business, users, and target keywords.

Conduct competitor research, incorporate keywords, outline intuitive page structures, build streamlined menus, and refine repeatedly. Leverage your well-crafted sitemap to fuel effective site development and user experience!


This is the Toto way.