And we’re back again to serve you information as big as it is awesome.
For today, we have Google’s John Mueller’s answer to a question concerning the importance of links from the main page.
Also, he answered the question and let us know how to signal which pages on a website are important.
Also called Information Architecture is described as a strategy for organizing web pages in a manner that is intuitive for users and makes it easier for the site visitor to locate information.
For this term, we have two approaches.
Flat Site Structure
A usual approach is to make a navigational structure which makes it easy for search engines and its users to locate all or most published pages. But this approach gets harder for users when the site in question is large. This creates what is described as a Flat Site Structure.
This flat site structure is a situation where every single web page on a website is within one or two clicks from the home page.
What occurs in this situation is that every page possesses an equal amount of importance and is simply reached by search engines.
The bad side for the search engine and the publisher would be that every page contains a virtual site map of the entire site.
Regarding search engines, this means that a group of associated pages are hard to understand as belonging to a specific topic.
This makes it more difficult for search engines to comprehend what a page is about and hard to rank individual web pages.
So, flat navigational structure leads to an unusable navigational structure. This means that a site visitor will have a hard time locating their content.
Also read 5 Questions About Redirects For SEO
Taxonomical Site Structure
Now, we move over the second approach which is the taxonomical site structure. Taxonomy in the context of site architecture can be described as a system for classifying information.
This site structure divides the site according to topic categories and goes on to keep sub-dividing these topic categories into increasingly specific categories.
This results in a site structure that can easily be comprehended by various search engines and can be simply navigated by site visitors.
The first approach is driven by the idea of shifting as much PageRank/Link Equity from the home page to the inner pages to aid the inner page rank better.
However, this isn’t the way search engines rank pages anymore.
Search engines tend to rank webpages that contain links from other sites. But this isn’t the same across all keywords.
Competitive keywords tend to require links to prove they are authoritative and relevant for a specific topic. This is true even if a site is built with a flat or taxonomical site structure.
The main difference between the two approaches is that a taxonomical site structure makes a lot more sense to both the users and search engines.
While on the other hand, the flat site structure makes it easier for a search engine to reach all webpages in a site but to the detriment of a meaningful site structure.
Now, we’re done with the background behind the question that was asked.
Is It Important For Pages To Be Close To The Home Page?
John Mueller was asked a question about the importance of a web page’s distance from the home page.
And the question:
Is it important that all pages of a site are accessible…from the main page? For example, some news from 2015…is accessible in ten plus steps. Is that okay?
And John Mueller’s answered:
“That’s perfectly fine. Usually…what happens here (or where this comes from) is that on a lot of websites the home page is the most important part of the website. So, we re-crawl that fairly often and from there we try to find new and updated pages or other important pages.”
A lot of sites have more links on their home page than they do to any particular web page. Google crawls through the web from link to link.
So, for a lot of websites, Google will start crawling a website from the home page. There’s a little bit that hasn’t been addressed.
The reason Google may begin at the home page is that that is usually the page that is linked the most.
John Mueller continues:
“So, what will happen is, we’ll see the home page is really important, things linked from the home page are generally pretty important as well.
And then… as it moves away from the home page, we’ll think probably this is less critical.”
That pages linked directly from the home page are important is fairly well known but it’s worth repeating. In a well organized website the major category pages and any other important pages are going to be linked from the home page.”.
Important Content Signals
John Mueller then continued to explain:
So that’s something where you might see things like this where it’s like someone will say, well some amount of steps is… the minimum steps from the home page. From our point of view that’s less about SEO and more about, well we have to discover all of these pages somehow.
So if news articles from 2015 are behind some archive where you have to kind of like find the archive, find the year and then look at the month and look at maybe a category and then find the news article, usually, that’s perfectly fine.
On the other hand, if there’s something that you really really care about, you think it is really important and you hide it away like that, then probably we’ll think it’s not as important.
So, if you think it’s important then make sure it’s really easily findable within your website.
This acts as a great explanation of how to signal to Google that any specific page is important to the site by giving it a link right from the home page. The ink could be to a famous category, to a popping topic or a page that says more about a service your business provides.
Not every web page on a website is as important as every other web page. However, that’s the signal that a flat site structure sends.
In our experience, sectioning a site according to topics then making deeper pages reachable from those topic pages is the greatest way to structure a web site, both for Google and for the users.
John Mueller’s advice to link important pages from the home page is awesome!
Watch this video where John Muller answered the questions