Google’s John Mueller on Ranking Important Pages
Google’s John Mueller answered a question about important of links from the main page. John’s answered the question and shared how to signal which pages on a website are important.
Is it Important for Pages to Be Close to the Home Page?
The question that John Mueller was asked was about the importance of how far a web page is from the home page.
This is 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?”
This is John Mueller’s answer:
“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.”
Many sites have more links to their home page than they do to any specific web page. Google crawls the web from link to link.
So for most websites Google will begin crawling a website from the home page. There’s a little bit left unsaid. The reason Google may start at the home page is because that’s the page that is linked to the most.
“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 organised website the major category pages and any other important pages are going to be linked from the home page.”
Mueller then explained:
“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 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.”
That’s a great explanation of how to signal to Google that any particular page is important to the site by giving it a link straight from the home page. That link could be to a popular category, to a trending topic or a page that describes a service your business provides.
Clearly not every web page in a website is as important as every other web page. But that’s the signal that a flat site structure sends.