Click Depth SEO, What is it and Does it Matter?
There has been some debate about the importance of click depth in SEO. So we wanted to clarify things.
What is click depth?
SEO Click depth is how many clicks it takes to reach a page from your homepage. So if it takes a user 3 clicks after landing on your homepage to reach a blog post, then that post has a click depth of 3.
When counting click depth, the homepage can be assigned 0. Any pages linked on the homepage have a depth value of 1. Any links on a 1 page will have a value of 2. Any links on a 2 page will be a 3, and so on.
Is click depth important?
Yes. Click depth is one of the ways in which Google identifies which pages are important. It’s also connected with how far Google will crawl your website.
In a Google Webmaster Central hangout in 2018, John Mueller talked about click depth. He states that;
“What does matter for us… 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.”
He goes on to say:
“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.”
He indicates that Google does place a low level of attention on how easy it is to navigate to content on a website. He highlights that if the homepage is the strongest place on the site, Google gives more weight to pages that are one click away from it, over pages that are two or more clicks away.
Check out John Mueller’s full Google Webmaster Central hangout.
There is consensus that Googles web crawlers are less likely to browse pages that are over three clicks away from the homepage. The exception here being if your site is extremely authoritative. In which case, Google will crawl beyond three clicks as it recognises all your pages as having some authority and importance.
Click depth and user experience
Aside from the technical reasons why click depth can improve your rankings. It also has an impact on user experience. If you land on a website and you want to navigate to a particular page, you expect it to be easy and quick to find right? You don’t want o be clicking multiple links on multiple pages in a never-ending search to find your desired content.
Making life easy for your users by introducing a navigation menu will not only reduce the click depth of your pages, but it also improves the user experience. Which in the end, is what matters the most.
How to use click depth
Knowing that Google takes how deep into your website a page is can be very useful when putting together your cluster content strategy.
You essentially want to position your pillar page as close to your home page as possible. That way it’s guaranteed to be crawled and be considered a more important page by Googles spider. Furthermore, make sure that your subtopics and surrounding cluster content is linked as closest to your homepage ADN pillar page as possible. This ensures that your subtopics and pages are also passed some authority from your homepage so that they’re considered important enough to boost your pillar page a little too.
Want to know more about topic clusters? Check out our article on SEO BOMB: THE UNIQUE DIGITAL CONTENT STRATEGY FOR EXPLOSIVE RESULTS
What is the ideal click depth?
At ROAR our SEO team lean towards 3 being the ideal click depth, with a maximum of 4. Any deeper and Google may struggle to crawl the page. If Google can’t crawl the page, it won’t be able to index it, thus it won’t appear in any search results, meaning all of your content and SEO efforts could bring no added value.
Looking to build a top-notch content strategy? Check out our SEO Bomb® to launch your page rankings.