Does using a drop-down menu negatively impact page authority?

Today’s SEO question comes from Joe in Croatia. This one deals with an issue that I’m sure all SEO pros have seen – or will see at some point in their careers.

Joe asks:

“I have a question regarding the impact of dropdown / hidden link on page authority.

So, our webpage is about sports data and statistics, where on our homepage we show various sports matches played in various countries. For the user experience and for the technical part of the page, these correspondences will be put in a drop-down menu for each country. If the country menu is not clicked, these matches are both invisible to users and to Google. Will this negatively impact authority correspondence pages and impact crawl? “


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Navigation and menus are an important area where SEO professionals can either improve their site or do more harm than good.

Why navigation menus are important in SEO

There’s a lot of thought going into menus, not just from an SEO perspective, but also from a UX, creative, accessibility, and development perspective.

In technical SEO terms, navigation is your best chance to influence the PageRank of your internal pages.

This is where you can control the links and how an authority (can we all stop saying “link juice”?) “Circulates on your site.

Navigation menus also help search engines understand how your site looks.


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I’m often asked, “If the link is in the sitemap, do we need it in the main navigation menu as well?” “

The answer is yes, you do!

If the link isn’t important enough that you can put it in your navigation and show it to users, why would search engines think it’s important for them to show it to users?

So back to Joe’s question, is there a negative impact on the authority of your dropdown pages?

It depends!

Depending on how your menu is coded, these secondary and tertiary links may not be visible to search engines. It won’t impact these pages negatively, but it’s also not ideal in terms of overall optimization.

It can also have an impact on exploration.

Many SEO professionals believe that Google crawls pages based on their PageRank, so more internal links to the page increase the chances of it being discovered and crawled, as well as PageRank!

While I don’t believe in the concept of PageRank sculpting, it’s important to think of your navigation from a link graph perspective.

Side note: A few years ago at a conference, Dixon Jones gave a great talk about how CNN’s navigation change was affecting the PageRank of sites with multiple links to them because it changed their internal linking graph so much. . I can’t find this presentation online, but here is a blog post talk about theory.


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Important considerations for the navigation hierarchy

When designing a nagivational hierarchy, it is important to keep in mind the flow of users and the pages that are important.

All pages do not have to be in the menu. However, there should be a clear crawl path from the home page to all other pages on the site – a path that does not involve the sitemap.

You will notice that many top retail sites have a top level menu on their homepage, but then add a secondary menu with more links relevant to that category on the pages or subpages. category.

They chose to transfer their “authority” to this subset of pages, and then leave those pages all linked to everything else. This is not a bad strategy and it is the one I have used in the past.


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Always create an internal linking chart to make sure you are really sending the signals you want to send.

You can do this easily using tools like Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Majestic, PowerMapper, or even on your own using Gephi and a list of internal links.

Also make sure that your navigation does not constitute the majority of the content on the page.

Search engines have become very good at figuring out what content is in what parts of the page, but I still see tons of sites with so much navigation that it makes up around 90% of the content on the page.


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This is not ideal and can be confusing for search engines (and people).

To learn more about browsing best practices, see How to Improve Your Website Navigation: 7 Essential Best Practices.

In conclusion, the answer to Joe’s question is that it is different for each site. I hope my answer gives you some food for thought and some resources to help you determine the best course to take in your unique situation.

More resources:


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Editor’s Note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts who have been handpicked by the Search Engine Journal. A question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO article!

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