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Page Level Content - three levels down

     
9:02 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from US 

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Quick, probably stupid question. If I have a page which requires you to drill down to a 3rd level due to the quantity of categories on levels 1 and 2, will the SERPS for that 3rd level page likely suffer?

I notice that PR, for example, remains high if a link is on page level one and usually goes down by 1 for each page level down. I know PR is just one factor (maybe not important), but is hierarchy that important? Should you really be able to go to any page on your site from any other page (seems hard to me apart from using an html sitemap on every page).

Thank you and you can ignore this if this is too facile, though after Panda, nothing seems clear-cut to me anymore.
3:20 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Are you speaking about links here - it takes three internal links to reach the page level you want to discuss? That is the kind of situation that can affect PR, unless there are external backlinks to the content page.

However, a single link from a higher level URL on the site also changes the PR situation.

Should you really be able to go to any page on your site from any other page

Not necessarily, especially on a large site. That would require too many links on a single page, and every link splits the available PR into a smaller "vote" for its target page.

PR is not the only ranking factor today, not by a long shot. So a deep internal page that is precisely relevant for a query still can rank well on that query phrase.

Also, PR is no longer calculated the way it used to be, and the exact details are not known with any precision. We do know that instead of a "random surfer" model (the original approach) today's PR supports a "Reasonable Surfer [webmasterworld.com]" model.
1:55 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thank you @Tedster. You answered both my questions very clearly. I guess that I have been overly concerned about how to handle the 3+ level hierarchy of links involved in huge sites that I manage based a notion mentioned in some communication (that I cannot now locate) which indicated that all pages on a site should be accessible from every page (which did not seem possible to me in the case of massive sites).