Navigation Removal Trick Impacting Google Rankings Algorithm?

Apr 18, 2019 - 8:36 am 31 by

Google Navigation Remove Spam

An SEO, I believe his name is Alexander, asked John Mueller of Google in this morning's video hangout if Google is aware of a trick some sites are using to combat any negative impact from the August 1st medic update. John was unaware and confused by the strategy, saying he would only see a downside to removing a site's navigation in terms of how it would hurt the site's ranking in Google.

The question came up 31 seconds into the video. He basically asked if Google was aware of this navigation removal trick some SEOs were using. It sounds to me that they are doing this to preserve PageRank and link weight on specific pages. In fact, he said the only way to navigate some of these sites is to click from page to page, one at a time, creating a horrible user experience.

I never heard of this either - but it doesn't mean this is not floating around.

John said he will investigate this if he would share more details but based on everything he knows, removing navigation, even if you have an XML Sitemap can cause huge issues for ranking in Google.

Here is the embed:

Here is the transcript:

John Mueller: I don't think that would be that useful for a website. So yeah, I think it's one of those things where maybe there's some misconceptions. But essentially if there's no internal linking within the website then it's really hard for us to crawl the website and even with a sitemap file it's hard for us to index that content properly.

So I think there would only be downsides in search if you didn't have any internal navigation. So from from that point of view, I don't think the user experience would be the first thing I would worry about as a site owner. If I remove the user experience I think like in within search, a lot of things would just not work as well as they could otherwise with internal linking.

Alexander: Well there are several competitors doing that. And after I actually saw some tests on that field there and I think that even some big names trying to replicate the same technique without being too obvious. So they remove most of most of their navigation elements and leave for example only the category block and they don't have any kind of search on their website. So it's really hard to navigate and you have this 100 pages that you have to navigate one by one in order to reach out the correct page. And it's bad user experience, so I think that Google if Google puts the usability in terms of navigating through the website, it will be better. Because there is really a trend there, I know that trend I know why why they are doing that. So I think that Google should take a look at that thing for for sure. It's not a myth people are doing that now on a large scale.

John Mueller: If you can send me some examples I'd like to take a look. Because in general if you remove the internal navigation I only see downsides with like the normal search things because we we can't pass any PageRank through the pages.

Alexander: Exactly.

John Mueller: And eventually all of the pages get lost. So it's not something where I would see that as an advantage. So I I don't know. 'm happy to take a look. Always curious to see what people are up to.

Forum discussion at YouTube.

Update: Here are some tweets with some explanation of what they think is going on with this trick. I am not sure if they are correct or not, but figured I would add it here:


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