Page depth related to SEO

Page Depth for SEO is an important SEO factor and one that I find under emphasized.

What is SEO Page Depth

Page depth is the number of clicks it takes a user to reach a piece of content, consider this without the use of a search function or sitemap.The deeper a page, the less likely it is to be found by your users and the less priority it is given to search engine crawlers.

Alot of advise if given on producing quality content, effective use of meta tags, URL canonicalization etc but this is all in vain if your content is buried too deep within your content. A good rule of thumb is too have all your content reachable within 3 clicks or less.

The home page is always your first level of page depth, pages linked from the home page will be on level 2. If you have alot of content, you could display them all on the home page but that could result in slower page speeds which untimatily defeats the purpose of fine tuning your SEO.

For smaller websites, a remedy can be easily achieved using categories. Categorise your content and add a list of categories on the home page, when a user clicks the category link all the content within that category will be shown. Your content can then be found with only one click and accessed with 2.

Even if the category contains bulk content, pagination can still be used without exceeding 3 clicks. The problem surfaces when we have multiple pagination links, Page 3, 4, 5 next and previous etc. The content on page 5 would take 7 clicks! And this is only the result page. The actual content from there on forth would be found on the 8 click. Anything after 3 clicks is a deep black hole of lost content.

If you produce content on a large scale, or if you are starting a website and thinking of publishing with a blast of content, Think again! There isn’t enough time for search engines to find the content on your deeper pages.> This may seem contradictory if you look at massive websites with 1000’s and 1000’s of pages nested down to page levels of 10+

The difference between us and those websites are that they’ve aged like a good wine. Their content has had enough time to settle down and believe it or not, they started off with the same problem. With gradual growth, search engines now crawl those domains constantly.

For a business, blog or one man show, there are two solutions to consider to the pagination problem: Increase results per page to reduce pagination levels.

The easiest would be to decrease the pagination by increasing the amount of results shown per paginated page. If you have 40 articles or products in a category and the category is set to show only 10 at a time, this would result in 3 pagination links and would leave you with the following page depth:

Home Page Paginate to page 2, from here on forth it gets challenging, If you increase the pagination result the page depth would decrease. Increase 10 results par page to say… 20, would half the amount of pagination.

There is another advantage with this: Your content will remain accessible within 3 clicks for a longer period giving search engines enough time to crawl and register your content. Add inbound links within the body on content

Link from on product or article to another. Make sure to link to relevant content and try to place links to other content that you feel maybe forgotten. This way, you are still showing your users what they want or closely related and your reduce the number of clicks to your other content

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