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Can Navigation Location Hurt Your SEO? #AskanSEO - Search Engine Journal

Last updated: 05-24-2019

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Can Navigation Location Hurt Your SEO? #AskanSEO - Search Engine Journal

Editor note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!

We’ve got a question today from Avinash Bikumalla of Bengaluru:

Your navigation provides important clues to visitors (and search engines) about the purpose of a website and what you’ll find there.

Where your navigation appears on a page is less important. That said, most visitors are accustomed to navigation being either on the top of a webpage or on the right side of a webpage (sometimes called the “right rail”).

However, with the rise of mobile-first websites being used on desktop, it’s becoming more common to have to scroll to get to navigation in a single column environment.

My suggestion: test your site with real visitors. If they engage with the CTA (call to action) and don’t seem to need the navigation, then there’s no problem with it being lower on the page.

I reject the idea of “link juice distribution” on a website. That old-school thinking is what caused people to start doing stupid things that didn’t work (e.g., using nofollow on internal links).

Use your navigation to expose the important sections of your site; to provide cues and insights about the content and products or services available.

Don’t think about “link juice” when deciding how to structure your site. Think about users.

It logically follows that pages that are linked to more frequently on your site will have higher value to your website as a whole. So some form of navigation is recommended.

Because search engines parse data in the order the code appears in your source, it logically follows that higher navigation would have more value than navigation lower on the page. But don’t think about that so much.

What you should focus on is the value your website brings to your visitors. Test and refine based on actual user behavior, not “theory” or “best practices” that may have no actual benefits to your website.

Have a question about SEO for Jenny? Fill out this form or use #AskAnSEO on social media. Featured Image: Paulo Bobita


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