Google’s John Mueller Shares Tips For Simplifying Site Structure


Earlier than making adjustments to your web site construction, you should think about the affect it may have on search rankings and consumer expertise.

Google Search Advocate John Mueller not too long ago shared worthwhile recommendation on this topic in a Reddit thread.

Along with his suggestions, you may discover ways to simplify your web site construction with out affecting its website positioning.

Learn on to be taught extra about Mueller’s recommendation and the way it may also help you obtain your web site simplification targets.

Eradicating Subdirectories – Good Or Dangerous Concept?

A Reddit consumer requested about streamlining their web site construction by retiring /fr and /de subdirectories.

As a substitute, they’d direct all European site visitors to the /eu subdirectory.

They ask if that’s an excellent or dangerous thought and search details about its affect on website positioning and rankings.

Mueller’s Suggestion

Mueller advises to not retire the subdirectories and shift every little thing to /eu, saying it’s a variety of work with nothing to achieve.

As a substitute, he suggests transferring “/” (en-us) right into a “/us” folder, which permits for extra exact separation of the elements. This fashion, “/” is all US, “/fr/*” is all French, and so forth.

Moreover, he recommends including hreflang on all pages, not simply sections, to pages that get confused essentially the most by incorrect nation guests.

“My advice can be to not shift /de & /fr into /eu/de or /eu/fr. There’s no website positioning benefit you’d get from that, and site-moves like this are a variety of work. If something, I’d think about transferring “/” (en-us) right into a “/us” folder. That manner you’ve gotten clearer separation of the elements (”/us/” is all US, “/fr/*” is all French, and many others). It will make monitoring a bit simpler, and make it simpler for search engines like google to know the sections (vs transferring /fr into /eu/fr, which might make it even tougher to know sections).

Additionally, hreflang is on a per-page foundation, so you’d do it on all pages. You talked about it as being sections, and maybe you’re already doing it correctly, so that is only for completeness. In the event you’re not doing it on all pages, I’d think about checking your stats for pages that get confused essentially the most (incorrect nation guests), and no less than add it there. Chances are high that is largely your homepage, so for those who’re solely doing it there, you’re in all probability getting a variety of the worth of hreflang already.”

The Significance of X-Default

Mueller highlights the significance of x-default, particularly when doing geo-IP redirects.

His recommendation is to ensure that the foundation homepage redirects to the suitable model and that it’s specified because the x-default for the set of homepages.

With out doing this, to Google, it will probably appear like the foundation homepage is a separate web page from the others.

Setting the foundation homepage because the x-default will keep away from this subject and permit Google to see it because the default for particular international locations.

“And … for those who do any of this and robotically redirect “/” (simply the foundation homepage) to the suitable model, you should ensure that it’s specified because the x-default for the set of homepages. With out doing that, to Google it will probably appear like “/” is a separate web page from the others.

(edit to elaborate solely on that final half… – that is particularly when you’ve got /us for US, and do geo-IP redirects, which I typically don’t advocate)

If for US customers, “/” (simply that web page) redirects to “/us”, AND you’ve gotten hreflang throughout /us, /fr with x-default assigned to /us, what can occur is that Google sees “/” as being an English web page, additionally acknowledges /us, /fr as separate pages, after which exhibits each “/” and “/(one of many others” within the search outcomes. You may keep away from this by setting “/” because the x-default (even when it redirects). Then Google will see “/” because the default “/us” for US, “/fr” for France.

This additionally means that you would be able to’t have “/eu” as x-default (there can solely be one #highlander #xdefault), however you may nonetheless use that by specifying it as hreflang for a bunch of your widespread international locations (you may specify a number of international locations per URL). So ultimately you’d have “/” = x-default, “/us” for US, “/fr” for France, “/eu” for a bunch of nations, and redirect from “/” to one of the best model.

All of that is just for the homepage, I wouldn’t do it for any of the opposite pages of the location as a result of it’s so advanced & exhausting to handle, and since the homepage might be the web page that will get essentially the most search impressions.”

Extra On Geo-Redirects

Relating to geo-redirects, Mueller advises utilizing them solely on the primary homepage of the web site and never on any of the opposite pages.

This helps to simplify the method for customers typing within the area identify to seek out the closest match to their location and permits them to simply click on on a distinct nation to entry that model of the web site.

There are different choices to geo-redirects, akin to dynamically altering the language of the homepage, however this method can add extra complexity to the web site.

An alternative choice is to make use of a country-picker on the homepage, however this may negatively have an effect on usability, significantly if there are lots of international locations to select from.

In Abstract

If you wish to simplify your web site construction, it’s greatest to not do it by shifting subdirectories round.

On this case, a web site proprietor needed to shift /de and /fr into /eu/de or /eu/fr.

As a substitute, Mueller mentioned they need to think about transferring “/*” (en-us) right into a “/us” folder, including hreflang on all pages, and specifying the foundation homepage because the x-default for the set of homepages.


This can assist keep away from confusion amongst search engines like google and make it simpler for them to know the web site’s completely different sections.

Featured Picture: GoodStudio/Shutterstock

Supply: Reddit


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