Q: If I add a top navigation with mega menu of all the pages of the website (html as well as indexable by Google), will this defuse the link juice?
Many of you might not know that a major part of the “code base” for Google search engine was written in 1999, when things like pull down navigation didn’t exist. So, you want HTML code written in an “old” vs “new” way, in terms of SEO. This is why, major sites place “simple navigation” at the bottom of the page and pull down nav at the top (for Google).
Remember that Google always says that it can interpret all of this, but it actually:
- Watch what it does
- Pay attention to what’s on the top
Though, Google still is following some old rules, but it likes its followers to be cool.
Mega menu is a large drop down menu with multi-level expansions. With the help of such menus, one can put their website’s entire navigation into a single menu. Take popular websites such as kogan.com.au or catch.com.au as examples and you would understand what we are talking about. These types of menus can contain a massive amount of links enhancing the user experience.
Therefore, a visitor can easily access the deepest sections of your website via the main menu. Now, the question is whether a mega menu is bad for SEO or not. In this article, we will discuss the impact that a mega menu could have on your SEO success.
The impact of a mega menu for SEO purposes Mega menus are pretty much eye candies. A website owner can make a mega menu visually attractive and thus, improve conversion rates for large websites. These menus can make content that’s not readily available to the user right away more accessible. So, a user doesn’t need to click 3/4 times in a row to reach their desired section of your website. This is a plus point when it comes to these menus. However, they are not so great if we are talking about your website’s Google ranking.
It’s a proven fact that the use of mega menus on your website can negatively affect your website’s Google rankings. These types of menus can hamper hierarchical URL structures. Also, they can damage the logical PR flow of your website. That means, when you use a mega menu, the PageRank is more equally distributed across your entire website. Now, you might ask, “How is that a problem? Isn’t it good for my website”?
Well, SEO experts hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work as you think. As a general rule of thumb, the most important pages of your website should get the lion’s share of PR. More even distribution of the PR means only one thing. Even the least important pages of your website will get the same PageRank as the most important ones. That is not something you would want, right?
Nicely structured and logical websites get the most favor from Google. And as a result, they get the best rankings. It is, however, not the case when it comes to mega menus. Here, tons of links reside on the same level. So, Google gets the wrong message that they all are of similar importance.
Apart from that, mega menus tend to group some contents that are not even remotely close to each other. And, consequently, indicates a type of relationship that would not exist in normal circumstances. Such menus also tend to enhance link building on a single page. They keep continuing it throughout all the other pages of the website.
Besides that, there some other issues as well:
Hundreds of links on a page A mega menu adds too many internal links on a single page. As we know, Google recommends website owners to keep the number of links on a page as few as possible. The keywords in the links can also create uncertainty regarding the page themes. To say it more precisely, it becomes very hard for Google to comprehend what the page is all about. So, because of not understanding the context of the contents, Google also fails to understand how to rank it.
Code bloat Another big issue that arises out of the use of a mega menu is known as code bloat. Mega menus usually utilize a large number of codes to function. As a result, it could bloat the source code of your pages. It causes your pages to load slower than before. Besides that, the repetition of such a huge number of codes may produce internal duplicate content. Both of these are harmful to Search Engine Optimization.
Another aspect of the mega menu is that its code stays at the top of your page source. This, in turn, leads to the downfall of some of your most important content necessary for SEO visibility. This can also have a negative impact on your website’s SEO rankings. Google tends to look at pages from a top-down position. So, it is crucial to keep your most important and relevant content at the top of your page.
Application of mega menus on mobile phones Truth be told, mega menus have no use when it comes to mobile phones. To offer a mobile user a responsive website, mega menus simply vanish. Following its mobile-first policy, Google ranks websites based on how they’re optimized for mobile devices. Mobile phone screens are not as large as computer screens. So, it is not rational to use these menus on mobile phones. Considering these, as a website owner, you should make sure that the mega menu vanishes on mobile version of the website. Otherwise, you risk hampering your competitive SEO metrics.
There’s also another thing to consider. High domain authority websites don’t take that much damage from using mega menus. It’s because their authority makes up for any serious negative impact such a menu may have on the website’s ranking. However, as you may understand, it is not the case for smaller or newer websites. Therefore, they should avoid using these menus for mobile phones altogether.
Can you evade the issues arising from using mega menus?
Here are some tips on how to avoid the mega menu problems:
- Keep them elementary. Do not shove too much internal linking into one menu.
- Don’t assemble random internal links together. Be logical.
- Utilize Navigation Markup in HTML5 for distinguishing your page’s navigation parts.
SEO professionals suggest that using these menus on your website could be a risky move for search engine rankings. It could hamper your SEO. It is true, especially if you have a small or relatively newer website and lack any serious authority. So, until you’ve established that, you would be better off opting for a simpler menu for your website from SEO perspective.