Pardon me if this has been discussed before but Microsoft, in Dec 2011, filed a patent [patft.uspto.gov...] that covers "click distance" which is described as an added ranking factor that measures a pages link distance from a perceived root or index page.
Interesting notes within the patent
- there is a maximum value
- click distance values are merged with other factors upon ranking
- each document receives a score
- a "Uniform Resource Locator" depth property smoothes the effect of the click distance on the relevance score
- arranged in a descending order of relevance
With the above in mind it is seemingly important to make a lot of pages easily accessible from links on the index page and that the links had best lead directly to pages that are highly related to the index page.
The possible impact of this on sites that simply post the latest content on their index page, along with a list of categories, are being held back because those posts aren't always highly related and the category page is in effect a middle man between the index and additional content.
Best practice? link your best and most on topic content from the index page, within the context ?
Impact on Google rankings?