Click Depth: What is it and why is it important?

The scale and size of websites are variable, but people may overlook how this affects click depth. As part of technical SEO, it is one of the ‘behind the scenes’ elements that should be drawn to attention.

Click depth is often overlooked, neglected and swept under the rug when considering SEO practices. However, its importance is not to be undermined. But what is click depth and why is it so important?

All pages on your site should be accessible to a user. The click depth determines this and can either help or hinder how reachable your content is for an audience.

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What is click depth?

Click depth is the number of clicks it takes the user to reach another page from the homepage as the starting point. The clicks come from internal links that are situated throughout the site’s pages.

Ideally, your users should only be three clicks away from the content they want to access- anything past three clicks fails to be crawled by the search engine bots.

Each click signals a step into the website’s hierarchy. The best practice that prioritises a user’s experience is one that allows them to find the content easily in no more than three clicks.

Why is click depth important?

If it wasn’t obvious already, click depth is important for your users but also for Google’s understanding of your site. But why?

Well, click depth has a direct impact on your site structure. With a lower click depth, it’ll take fewer clicks for a user to reach the content on your site. This means important content pages are accessible and less tangled in a complex site that becomes hard to navigate, allowing Google to crawl and index as appropriate. A lower click rate facilitates an easy navigation process.

Less clicks mean more user satisfaction- no one wants to face a hard slog just to find content that could be found much more easily on a different page. Keep your bounce rate low with a lower click depth.

Here’s an example of what click depth could look like on a digital marketing site:

  1. The Homepage
  2. A user’s first click goes to ‘services’
  3. A user’s second click goes to ’SEO’
  4. A user’s third click goes to ‘Local SEO

And in the fewest clicks possible, just like magic, a user has been able to smoothly and swiftly find the desired service. No complications, just clicks.

Is click depth a ranking factor?

Despite its obvious importance, can we consider click depth a direct ranking factor?

While click depth is not identified by Google as a direct ranking factor, a page rank algorithm is utilised by Google to check a site’s number of pages and the quality of these pages. The home page usually carries the most authority and so will rank the highest.

The search engine bots crawl from page to page following the links, but won’t index or crawl a page more than three clicks away. This content essentially exists in the void and won’t see the light of day unless you change your click depth.

So, even though it isn’t a direct ranking factor, it does impact your rankings. The best practice is to link the highest-ranking, most authoritative pages at the front.

Our five top tips for optimising click depth

If you’re looking to lower and alter click depth, there are some top tips to keep in mind to ensure the process is at its most effective. Here are our five top tips to ensure best practice.

1. Fix 404 errors

If anything clickable on your site leads to a 404 error page, this must be rectified ASAP. Appropriate redirects must be implemented, as an error page ruins the smoothness of a user’s experience.

Error pages also lead your site to encounter indexing issues that make it harder for search engine bots to crawl and index your site. Regularly monitor your site for any potential 404s and add the corresponding 301 redirects to help users out.

2. Optimise your internal linking

A strategic approach to internal linking helps users to find content much easier. Finding opportunities for when you can add an internal link further increases your authority and the flow of organic traffic to other pages on your site.

Descriptive anchor text helps a user to know where they’re going on the journey across your site. You don’t want to mislead them or take them the wrong way, so keep anchor text relevant and naturally place links within the site.

3. Use breadcrumbs

Adding breadcrumbs to your site allows users to understand how they’ve gone from A to B, and then to C. This handy navigational tool keeps users on your site as they can trace back to the previous page if they don’t find what they’re looking for.

Breadcrumbs also help your site to be crawled and indexed, so paired with an optimised click depth makes the dream team.

4. Add an HTML sitemap

An HTML sitemap can improve user experience by showing every page available on your site, so is especially helpful for sites with lots of pages or pages that are difficult to categorise.

An HTML sitemap has the added benefit of helping search engines locate your content in a much easier way. All in all, sitemaps provide accessibility, clear overviews and accurate direction for a user, therefore improving their user experience when on your site.

5. Create a flat site architecture

Neatly organising every page into a relevant category creates a ‘flat site architecture’. This helps paint a picture of site hierarchy, especially when paired with an internal linking structure.

The more pages organised into categories, the fewer clicks it takes a user to get there. A flat site architecture forms a streamlined structure. Again, the most important and authoritative pages should be at the front of this architecture.

How Embryo can help optimise your click depth

At Embryo, our SEO experts use a holistic approach that never overlooks any aspects of SEO, especially the nitty and gritty details of technical SEO. A site cannot rank without proper technical performance, and our knowledge creates strategies that are tailored to your every need.

Want help with optimising click depth or with SEO in general? Get in touch with the team today by calling 0161 327 2635 or email [email protected].

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