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What Is Click Depth And Why Is It Important?

In this article, we will talk about click depth and its importance to search engine rankings. Page depth is one of those often neglected ranking factors. Thankfully, it is easy to fix and can have an impact not only on where you show up in search engine results but improves your user’s experience. Let’s dig in a bit deeper.

What Is Click Depth?

“Click depth” is a term that describes how many clicks it takes to reach a specific page, starting from the homepage. Often information on the homepage is considered cornerstone material. Information on the first page and that linked directly to that page symbolize the essential content on the site and carry higher ranking significance. 

Let me give you an example:

  • Example:
    • Home Page – Zero Clicks
    • First Click – New Books
    • Second Click – Fiction
    • Third Click – Stephen King
    • Fourth Click – ‘It’  
flow chart counting page depth through website structure
Example Homepage> New Books> Fiction> Stephen King> It

What is the optimal click depth of a page?

Ideally, your most important content should be within three clicks of the homepage. Any further than this and it becomes more difficult for users and bots to locate these pages. User experience best practice states you must make it easy for users to find the content they need, as fast as possible.

Click depth is one of the many search engine ranking factors, clearly stated by Google’s John Mueller. Mr. Mueller openly said that Google judges the importance of a page by how easy it is to reach it from the home page. 

google search engine page showing results based on click depth

Of course, he assumed that your home page is the “heaviest” and most important page of your website. So, if it takes more clicks to get to the desired page, Google will think it is less critical.

Moreover, Google doesn’t value the number of slashes (“/”) your URL contains that much; it values click depth more than that. However, that doesn’t mean URLs are unimportant, as they improve user interface, and how your page looks in the search results. “…com/bog/click-depth” looks much better than “…com/location/blog/articles/2019/11234312135112511235“.

How Will Click Depth Help Me Rank On Google?

Nobody but top Google employees understand the factors that most important to search results. Algorithms and artificial intelligence power sites like Google and often use over 200 different metrics to rank sites.

Although Google gives us instructions and insights from time to time, the algorithm itself is top secret. The reason is simple—if people knew exactly how it works, they would manipulate it, trying to get to the first page of Google, even if their site doesn’t deserve that.

Some ranking factors are public and are very valuable for SEO. Google itself publishes one of the best SEO 101 documents and its Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide.

Big And Small SEO Ranking Factors—They All Matter Major factors are content quality and length, quality links to your site, but also site speed and responsiveness, as more traffic gets from mobile devices than from computers. However, because taking care of the site’s content requires a lot of time and resources, especially if you have an unoptimized blog, which will require updating and rewriting.

What is the best URL structure?

The best way you construct your URL’s matters for search engine results rankings. You can use sub-directories to structure content and logically direct viewers around your site. Your URL should contain logical category & sub-category names. For example:

  • Root – www.tinastreeservice.com
  • Category page: www.tinastreeservice.com/trimming
  • Sub-category page: www.tinastreeservice.com/trimming/large-tree

As you work to link pages together, you’ll want to find different creative ways to include links for your users without ruining their experience. You want to help your potential customer find the information they want quickly and hopefully expose them to the content they didn’t know they needed. 

website structure flow chart homepage to category to sub category
Use logical categories and sub-categories to help your users find the content they need.

Do Internal Links Matter For SEO?

Internal links are links between pages of the same site. So you can think about click depth as a part of internal linking—your home page links to other pages of your website, or at least to categories.
But, internal linking is so much more than links between your home page and other pages; links among your other pages also matter. That’s why it’s vital to improve click depth with internal linking.
So, for example, your Home page leads to Services, Pricing, Contact, About us, Blog. While it is evident that your Services page should link to Pricing and Contact, people usually neglect their Blog.

list of book accessories that can reduce a page's click depth
Promote different categories

Does It Matter How I Link My Blogs And Articles For SEO?

Every article you write is an excellent opportunity to link to other pages of your site. Create calls-to-action by creating a link to different blogs and articles you wrote. You will want to develop ways to connect to your highest-rated content so you can get a boost from their high ranking.

If you have an established blog with hundreds of pages, it will take some time to improve your internal link structure. The first thing you will want to do is review your sitemap and identify all the pages and their performance.

What are strategies to improve the click depth of a page?

It wouldn’t make sense to link all pages to each other – they would be overwhelmed with choices. Your website would look horrible and not very helpful to your potential client. A best practice to linking pages for is through cross-promoting similar products or services. These cross-promotions will likely increase sales and increase the SEO and click the structure of your entire site.

How Do I Link To Top Performing Pages?

One of the best ways to link to your best content is through bestseller or reader-favorite sections. Creating a place to showcase your best items isn’t merely good for business; it also improves for your search engine rankings.

Your best selling product, service, or top read articles are likely to rank higher on search engines. Often their bounce rate is lower, and time on page is more prolonged, signaling that they contain quality information. Linking to these pages can give a small boost to underperforming pages.
When adding cross-links to a page, you want to make sure you do not over-optimize the page. Making every other word or image a link can hurt your page because your reader will find it challenging to find the information they need quickly.

Promote your best content

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How Do I create an SEO Friendly URL?

To create a search engine friendly URL, you need to identify the basic structure of your site. From your homepage, determine what the main categories or pages you need to link are. Often these are your service/ product categories, an about page, and a contact page. Next, identify which specific products or services need their own unique sales page, which will be your sub-category. 

In this example, you see that Carol’s Book has a basic homepage with all the necessary information. Their most basic categories for books are Used and New books. If you were to click on Used books, you would retrieve the sub-category of fiction, autobiographies, etc. 

It is best to create your website’s structure before you start to code or even consider its design. You want to identify the most basic categories of your product or service. After you identify the basic categories, you must determine the sub-categories. If you are unsure of how to categorize your site, talk to a friend or family member. Often fresh eyes can help you understand how a potential customer views you or your service.

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301 redirects can share rankings from an old page with a new page

What If I need To Delete A Page?

It is common to delete out of date content if you are working on a pre-existing site. Often pages need to be removed when their content is obsolete or the URL needs a refresh. In either case, what you will most likely want to do is create a 301 Redirect. There are various types of redirects, but 301 is what you need more often than not.

Will A 301 Redirect Hurt MY SEO Rankings?

Generally, No, as long as you place them correctly, you should not see a significant loss of traffic when you create a redirect for a page. It may take some time for bots and page crawlers to follow and index to your new page. Thankfully, via 301 redirect, backlinks and rankings for the old page are transferred to the new page.

Why Would I want to Use a 301 Redirect?

When you are performing routine maintenance on the site, you will want to review which pages are performing and those that are not. You will either want to combine similar underperforming pages or delete them altogether. Pages that you delete will need a 301 redirect, meaning that the content permanently moved.

It is essential that when you are performing routine maintenance to have a plan for the content you are going to delete, otherwise users will land on a 404, not found page. If you delete content that you have no intention of redirecting or replacing, simply give it a 401 saying you have permanently removed the content. You can even redirect entire domains if your domain no longer suits; just be sure to make a plan before you get started.

301 redirects can share rankings from an old page with a new page

Can I Use a 301 Redirect to move my site from HTTP to HTTPS?

Yes. HTTPS sites are more secure and contain the little green lock on the left side of the URL. You must install an SSL certificate, which will turn your website from HTTP to HTTPS. Plus, having an active SSL is a well-known ranking signal for search engine results pages. Adding an SSL certificate makes more secure, and are often included free in your hosting plan. 

Conclusion

Click depth is a simple concept that can improve your search rankings if done right. Because it is easy to implement, we advise you to check your site and see how your home page looks. Then, consider adding links to essential pages of your website straight from the home page. It will let Google know which ones are important, and it will make it easy for site visitors to navigate the site, improving your conversions.

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