Msg#: 4385629 posted 9:47 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
I don't think it makes all that much difference from an SEO perspective.
One consideration, though, is that if you have subdirectories like widget.com/food/recalls and you decide to move an individual page from one category to another, the URL of the page will change. That's not a huge deal, especially if you can easily do a 301 redirect, but it's something to think about.
With the flatter structure, the URL doesn't necessarily have to change when content changes category, so there's no need to do a 301 (which results in a tiny loss of link juice).
Another consideration is the effect on site management -- that's going to depend on your setup, whether you're using a CMS and which one, etc.
Msg#: 4385629 posted 10:09 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
IMHO website structure is much less important for SEO reasons. The search engines are looking at so many different quality signals that url structure often does not make a significant impact to your ranking score.
I would be much more concerned about building a url structure that #1 - will be easy to maintain in the long term and #2 - will help branding and usability efforts. A very long url with special characters makes it less likely for a user to pass it along to their friends.
ps hypens have been abused by spammers for so many years that I would suggest you be overly cautious and avoid them as much as possible