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    Should I move all pages to root level

    Currently the site I have been working on is organized by url hierarchy such as /category/sub-cat/product-page/ or /support/category/sub-category/product-support-page with a page at each 'level'.
    Some products fall into multiple sub-categories so they show up under multiple urls with the same content exactly just in another url.
    I would like to know if placing all the urls at root level would be SEO friendly. For example: example.com/category, example.com/sub-category, example.com/product-page, example.com/everything-else.
    This would fix my duplicated pages issue. Would this be hurting user experience not showing where they are? If I redirect all the urls correctly would this hurt or help SEO?

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    Hi Crumb,

    Shorter URLs can help to encourage a higher click-thru-rate, the longer the URL, the harder it is for users to remember them (additionally if the URL is too long the full URL may now be displayed in the SERPs). As for users knowing where they are in the site, you can use breadcrumb schema to give users a sense of place and improve user experience through additional navigation options.

    A few things to think about here are how deep are your pages, how many clicks does it take to get to important pages on your site (this should be under 4)? How are you internally linking to the important pages, is it easy for the users to navigate to the different areas on the site? If you were to redirect all your URLs to the new ones make sure that you are updating your internal linking to point directly to the new URLs and updating your sitemaps.

    Hope that helps some

    Comments on this post

    • dzine agrees : 'how many clicks' is important indeed
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    Since you are asking a question such as this. I am under the assumption that you have a certain level of SEO understanding and from the cellmate, the following comment.

    It is very easy to be distracted by the small things in your implementable as SEO strategy and all activities is rendered useless if we allow this to happen.

    For me the Issues such as the one that you describe above falls under the distracting category.
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  7. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    Look before you jump!

    Having a flat URL structure is SEO friendly, but making massive structural and URL changes to your site is NOT SEO friendly. Often, it is a recipe for disaster an ruin. If you have an established, working site with some history. The best advice almost always is, do not make massive URL changes to your site.

    OK, if you have no valuable organic Google rankings, perhaps you can go to the change. If you do have rankings and organic traffic, there is no guarantee that that they will not be affected negatively.

    It is easier to deal with duplicate content issues via URL canonicalization by using rel="canonical" links.

    If you must radically change the site, make sure to implement 301 redirection: each old URL should best redirect to the most relevant new URLs. (Having a lot of 301 redirects can get cumbersome though.)

    But think hard whether you really need to make these radical changes.

    Comments on this post

    • dzine agrees
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  9. SEO Insultant
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

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    Originally Posted by poojaseo
    Yes definitely you should do it.
    No you should not. Please read the other comments above.

    Also: please note that "a flat URL structure" is not the same as "root level"
    A flat structure is about the number of clicks it takes visitors/bots to reach a page, starting from the homepage. It doesn't really matter how many slashes, underscores, hypens, hashtags, query strings or extensions your URLs have, as long as they still look more or less decent and as long as it doesn't take half a dozen clicks for people to actually reach the pages you want them to find.
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  11. Super Moderator
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    Coherent and 'flat' are worthy. Depending on how big your website is would dictate how many clicks it takes for visitors to reach their destination. 2 is ideal. At the end of the day flatter may be more conducive to PR flow, but it doesn't mean the importance of getting links to some of those internal / 'deep' pages is less.
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  13. SEO Consultant
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    It sounds like you need to look into canonical domains and identifying which are canonical and or redirecting to a main URL where appropriate.

    Making a major structural change is a big deal and unless there is a really compelling reason to do so its not usually advisable. I think you will get the biggest practical benefit with the least amount of effort by designating canonical URLs appropriately.

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