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Google’s John Mueller revealed that more weight is given to pages in search results based on how many clicks it takes to get to them from a site’s home page versus the URL structure.
This topic came up in a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, where an ecommerce store owner asked about the best way to structure their site.
This was the question from the store owner:
“We have a multi-location brick and mortar store. We have a single website. For various reasons the two locations have separate inventory. We need separate e-commerce store fronts. We’re trying to decide whether to link those stores directly from the home page, or if we should have kind of a homepage link to ‘/stores’ and then link to them from there.”
In Mueller’s response, he stated that the number of slashes in a URL does not matter.
What does matter is how many clicks it takes to get to a page from the home page.
If it takes one click to get to a page from the home page, then Google would consider the page more important. Therefore it would be given more weight in search results.
On the other hand, Google would see a page as being less important if it takes several clicks to visit after landing on the site’s home page.
So the key takeaway for site owners is: if you want a particular page to rank better than others, make sure it’s easy to get to from the home page.
The full question, along with Mueller’s response, can be seen in the video below at the 31:09 mark.
“In general, both of these setups would work. So I don’t see any big advantage in having the URLs in separate sub-directories even further. From our point of view we don’t count slashes in the URLs. If you put it into ‘/stores’ and then ‘/location’ and that’s how you want to kind of keep your website on your server that’s perfectly fine.
What does matter for us a little bit is how easy it is to actually find the content. So especially if your homepage is generally the strongest page on your website, and from the homepage it takes multiple clicks to actually get to one of these stores, then that makes it a lot harder for us to understand that these stores are actually pretty important.
On the other hand, if it’s one click from the home page to one of these stores then that tells us that these stores are probably pretty relevant, and that probably we should be giving them a little bit of weight in the search results as well.
So it’s more a matter of how many links you have to click through to actually get to that content rather than what the URL structure itself looks like.”
Site Search 360 Trends