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Improving my Rankings
Any advice appreciated

 10:35 am on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)


Our site contains a directory of local business listing. Current rankings are poor although some pages are being trawled and indexed by google and others.

I'm concerned the folder structure is hampering progress and therefore I'm thinking of modifying this.

Our Home page links to a Main category page:


this page then displays links to the Sub-category pages:


this page obvoiusly lists all cinemas or whatever business type.

Should I remove the /directory folder, I'm concerned this is making the pages to deep and therefore unimportant.

Any help appreciated.

Thanks for your help.



 10:53 am on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

No - the folder makes absolutely no difference to the paths taken through the site.

A link from the homepage to


is the same as a link from the homepage to


as far as depth into the site is concernced


 12:38 pm on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Ian,

Thanks for you reply.

I was under the impression that search engine robots prefer not to spider further than two folders deep, they will, but they consider the content less important and rank accordingly. So I'm wrong?

I've divided our directory / business pages into relevant folders:

Sport, Property, Health, etc...

trying to maintain no more than 50 pages per folder. I read someonewhere you shouldn't exceed this number, once again this dilutes importance, is this true?

If the folder structure is ok, then perhaps the Main category pages are causing a problem. These pages are very basis and include only links deeper into the site. Example:

Main category page - Arts-Entertainment.htm

the above page contains these links:


Example url: co.uk/directory/entertainment/cinemas.htm

My keyword use is basic, as not to upset google, and I do not practice spam. Pages in the root folder and one deep often appear on the first page of google results.



 2:40 pm on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I was under the impression that search engine robots prefer not to spider further than two folders deep, they will, but they consider the content less important and rank accordingly. So I'm wrong?

Anything that is x folders deep is going to take longer to get spidered, so keep your most important material and pages as near to the root as possible.


 4:24 pm on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I totally disagree with you here engine.

The number of folders has absolutely nothing to do with the linking structure within the site and it is the linking structure within the site that determines the depth of spidering.


 4:42 pm on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

>it is the linking structure within the site that determines the depth of spidering.

Hmm, methinks there is a misunderstanding of what I was feebly trying to say. ;)

Of course, if you have a link structure that is not sequential, (interlinked, etc.) you'll get it spidered sooner, or a sitemap to lead the spider straight to the deep page, you'll get spidered sooner. If a spider has to trawl deeper and deeper, sequentially, it will take longer, and I stand by that, and of putting important material near to the root.


 5:38 pm on May 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Think about these situations:

I'm going to use the -> to mean links to


www.example.com/index.htm ->
www.example.com/page1.htm ->
www.example.com/page2.htm ->
www.example.com/page3.htm ->
www.example.com/page4.htm ->
www.example.com/page5.htm ->
www.example.com/page6.htm ->
www.example.com/page7.htm ->
www.example.com/page8.htm ->
(no other links on any page)


www.example.com/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/index.htm ->
(no other links on any page)

In my humble opinion


have exactly the same weight in the index as far as search engines are concerned - despite the fact that one is in the root folder and the other is nine folders deep in the site.

Now if we swap the linking round in the second example such that


www.example.com/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/6/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/5/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/4/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/3/index.htm ->
www.example.com/1/2/index.htm ->

You now have a situation where

has significantly greater wieght in the index than

Notwithstanding the fact that one is nine folders deep in the site and the other is in the root.


I do agree that most people tend to build their sites along very similar lines to their folder structures, and what you say is entirely true in this special case.

On the other hand I'm not sure that this discussion is actually answering Steve's question.

Which is personally I wouldn't touch the directory folder as I believe it is not affecting your rankings in the slightest. And removing it is going to give you even more of a headache as all your URLs would then change and you will need to wait for the site to be respidered to get the new pages in (and then there is the issue of 301 redirects to preserve all the external deep links.)

p.s. In general Google is pretty good at downgrading directories so that the top of the SERPs is not completely dominated by directory site after directory site for most local terms - which was the case about 4-5 years ago.


 1:15 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your comments.

I'm still confused as to why my root pages are ranking well, but deeper pages aren't. I know of googles dislike of local directories, however, my main competitorís directory pages often appear 1-3 in the results. Their site is purely a directory/links site, with a small description by each link, thereís no other content, whereas our site provides many content pages.

Iím doing something wrong, I just canít put my finger on it. I guess that SEO for you.



 8:28 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

You need to start looking at similar pages on your site and his.

So maybe take your

and your competitors page for cinemas.

(pick a category where he ranks top 10 and you do not.)

First look and decide - could these pages be deemed duplicate content - and if so which one existed first?

Then look at the on page factors, how does your competitor place his keywords, and how do you place your keywords - is there something obviously missing from your site?

Then look at internal links into the page - how many internal links to the category, what internal link text is being used.

Then look at external deep links to the specific page - how many does each site have, what is the link text.

Then look at external links to the homepage, who has the best authority site links, what link text is being used in these links.

It is very likely that doing this study will reveal why he ranks and you don't.

[edited by: IanTurner at 8:28 pm (utc) on May 13, 2008]


 12:35 pm on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Many thanks Ian.

I'm on holiday from 3pm today - going to Cornwall for a few days - so I'll research your recommendations this weekend, and reply later.

Have good weekend, and thanks to both of you.



 12:58 pm on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

steve, you might want to try the google webmaster guidelines page as it may uncover a few issues you had not thought of. Try this page:

for my own comment, i essentially agree with Ian that the really important thing to do is ensure your key content has enough internal link popularity to be deemed 'important'. If you key content is left out in the cold, you can have the most seo friendly directory structure around but it wont make much difference to rankings.

That said, i always try and ensure we keep site structures as flat as possible, keep urls friendly and use key word relevant directory names where sensible to do so. i work on the basis of keeping things as simple as possible for search engines.

If you cant see any real reasons why your competitor does better than you on page, it is likely they are better networked off page i.e. they have more links and of a better quality than you.

personally, thats where id start looking.

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