No advantage for an artificially flat URL structure



Google’s John Mueller says there is no benefit to having an artificially flat URL structure over one that shows directory depth.

The number of slashes in a URL is by no means an indicator of how important a page is or how likely Google will show the page in search results.

This topic is discussed during the Google Search Central SEO Hangout recorded on March 26.

A site owner submits a URL structure question asking Mueller what he thinks about short URLs versus URLs that display directory depth.

Here is his response.

John Mueller of Google on URLs with Directory Depth

When it comes to directory depth in URLs, the site owner understands that it’s not a bad thing to show users where they are on a site.

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Mueller agrees with this presumption, saying “Yes absolutely.”

The URL structure of a site is something that can be used as the site owner prefers, Mueller says:

“So if basically the URL structure you have on your site is something you can use however you want. Google doesn’t count the number of forward slashes in your URLs and says, “Oh, it’s like five levels down, so we won’t show it as visibly in search.” “

It is not necessary to have an artificially flat URL structure. This refers to a structure where it looks like every page is one click away from the home page, when in reality they can be multiple levels deep.

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Fewer clicks are needed to access a page from the home page is a signal to Google about the importance of the page. But there is no way to fabricate this signal with a flat URL structure.

“You don’t need to have some sort of artificially flat directory structure. So from that point of view, if you have a directory structure that users can recognize and where you can tell that sometimes people are even like typing the URL, or copying and pasting parts of a URL together, I think it’s perfectly fine. There is no need to hide this kind of URL structure from users by doing a URL rewrite or something like that.

Google treats URLs as content identifiers, not as a way to understand the structure of the site. This is what Google’s crawlers are for.

It is entirely up to the site owner whether they prefer a flat URL structure or one with depth. It won’t help or damage a site one way or the other.

“For the most part, we treat URLs like content identifiers. We are not trying to understand the structure of the site based on the URL. So basically configuring your URL the way you want is our recommendation. It’s definitely not the case that you need to make it artificially different.

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Listen to the full question and answer in the video below:


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