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Hierarchical or Flat Menu Structure?

     
11:04 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I recently update my site's side menu to show both categories and sub-categories, with a view to linking to more pages from the front page to help with rankings in Google and the other SEs.

However, I am now not sure that this was the correct thing to do as I think that I have read on here that a hierarchical structure, rather than a flat structure, is better for Google.

What is the general opinion on this?

and if I revert back to just top categories will this affect shallow spidering in other engines? (not that I'm even in Yahoo!)

12:42 pm on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Put a site map on your index page. This should be all that Google needs. Alternatively have a look at Google site maps ...
[google.com...]
1:50 pm on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Put a site map on your index page. This should be all that Google needs.

Is it enough to put the site map only on the index page?

2:56 pm on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Put a site map on your index page. This should be all that Google needs

Do you mean a link to a site map?
4:22 pm on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes a link is generally enough.
5:38 pm on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"will this affect shallow spidering in other engines"

MSN probably for sure. They'll get the page if it is linked off the main page, but all bets are off if the page isn't linked from the main page.

Your question has no simple answer. Do you want to benefit more pages less, or less pages more? You just have to decide. Either way could be right.

9:54 pm on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"will this affect shallow spidering in other engines"

MSN probably for sure. They'll get the page if it is linked off the main page, but all bets are off if the page isn't linked from the main page.


I have to disagree. My new site, dynamic and launched less than 2 months ago, has links to categories and sub-categories on the menu bar on all pages and a link to a site map on the index page.

Since the launch MSN has indexed all pages (nearly 300) and is sending visitors, G and Y! are still at the cat and sub-cat pages and no product page is yet visited.

G and Y! used to index the same type of pages (now removed) on another site of mine so they can do it I'm just wondering why it is taking them so long this time.

12:18 am on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have read on here that a hierarchical structure, rather than a flat structure, is better for Google...

Dear Langers, according to my own experience flat structure is much better if the site is considered to be of high-quality from Google's perspective (PR>5).

If your site has lower PR, I would suggest to follow the hierarchical one.

1:13 am on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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just pick one section or two and make them heirchal then see which you prefer - maybe a mix would be good.
Generally it's a good idea to isolate some of the less attractive pages through a heirchy thus retaining more PR for the more attractive ones - until you get enough PR to start passing rank to new pages easily.
attractive - lots of text - targetted keywords
1:44 am on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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depends how many pages you have. From the front page, at least the main categories and /or smaller sitemaps should be linked. I've had great success with that.
8:35 am on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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According to me, the main issue is not spidering, but pagerank distribution and pagerank dillution. Getting in the Google index is only step one, then the hard work begins to get those indexed pages on Google's page one.

When you have a site structure like Homepage->Category->Subcategory->Group->Article, and most of your incomming links are pointing to the homepage, then the articles will hardly get any pagerank. My experience is, that for every step in the hierarchy you loose about one PR point. So my advice is to have a flat structure of Everypage->Sitemap->Article to distribute pagerank to the article pages as evenly as possible. Those articles are the pages that contain the keywords for the search engines. All the intermediate pages have no value for the SE's but they eat up PR.

9:43 am on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"I have to disagree."

With what?

1:11 pm on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Everypage->Sitemap->Article

lammert, you think it's best to have a sitemap link on every page as opposed to just the index page?