Should You Ever Target Click Depth Pages?





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Should You Ever Target Click Depth Pages?

Should You Ever Target Click Depth Pages?

As a Java developer turned UI enthusiast, I’ve learned a thing or two about the challenges of building modern web applications. When I first started a side project a couple of years ago, I was determined to get it up and running quickly using the latest and greatest technology stack – Angular, React, Spring, the whole nine yards. Little did I know the road ahead would be paved with unexpected hurdles, especially when it came to search engine optimization (SEO) and social sharing.

You see, single-page apps (SPAs) are all the rage these days, but they don’t always play nice with the traditional web paradigm. I quickly realized that my shiny new SPA was struggling to get noticed by search engines and social media platforms, despite having tons of unique, informative content.

As I learned the hard way, SPAs have a fundamentally different architecture compared to traditional multi-page websites. Instead of the server sending full HTML pages to the client, the SPA relies on JavaScript to dynamically update the content. This can create some challenges when it comes to making your site discoverable and shareable.

For example, Google’s web crawler had a tough time understanding the content on my site because it wasn’t executed by the browser. All the crawler saw was a bare-bones HTML template, with little indication of the actual page content. As a result, my site was only ranking for a single, irrelevant keyword. Not exactly the SEO success I was hoping for.

Social media platforms were facing similar challenges. When users tried to share links to my site, the preview snippets were completely generic, providing no useful information about the actual content being shared. Not exactly a recipe for engaging social media posts.

And don’t even get me started on the caching issues I ran into. I thought I had a brilliant plan to offload all my server-side rendering to a CDN, but that plan quickly fell apart when I realized the CDN was only caching the same old HTML template, not the dynamic content.

Needless to say, I ended up doing a complete rewrite of my application using a more traditional, server-rendered architecture. It was a painful but valuable learning experience. I learned firsthand the importance of optimizing for on-page SEO factors like title tags, meta descriptions, and structured data, as well as the challenges of maintaining a high-performance web application.

But as I reflect on that experience, I can’t help but wonder: should I have even bothered with the SPA approach in the first place? Were the benefits worth the significant drawbacks I encountered? And more importantly, should you, as an SEO agency, ever recommend targeting “click depth” pages – those deeper, more complex pages that are common in SPA architectures?

Let’s dive in.

The Allure of Single-Page Apps

There’s no denying the appeal of SPAs. They offer a seamless, app-like user experience, with instant page transitions and dynamic content updates. No more waiting for the entire page to refresh – just the bits that need updating. And from a development perspective, the SPA approach can be more efficient, with a clear separation of concerns between the client and server.

But as I learned, that efficiency can come at a cost. The very nature of an SPA, with its heavy reliance on JavaScript to render content, can create significant challenges when it comes to SEO and social sharing. Search engines and social platforms simply aren’t as adept at understanding and parsing dynamic, client-rendered content.

This is where the concept of “click depth” comes into play. In a traditional multi-page website, the homepage is the entry point, and each subsequent page is just a click or two away. But in an SPA, users can navigate through multiple “pages” without ever leaving the initial URL. This can create a deep, complex information architecture that’s difficult for search engines to crawl and understand.

The SEO Challenges of Click Depth Pages

So, should you ever target these click depth pages as part of your SEO strategy? The short answer is: it depends.

On-page SEO is all about optimizing the content and structure of individual webpages to make them more discoverable and relevant to search engines. And in the context of an SPA, this can be a real challenge, especially for those deeper, more complex click depth pages.

Think about it – search engines like Google are essentially web browsers themselves. They need to be able to crawl and render your content just like a human user would. But if your SPA is relying heavily on JavaScript to dynamically load and update content, the search engine may struggle to fully understand and index that information.

Even something as seemingly simple as providing a way for users to reload the current page can be tricky in an SPA. Suddenly, you’re having to resort to JavaScript hacks or knowing the absolute path of the page, when in a traditional website, a humble <a href="">Reload</a> would do the trick.

And let’s not forget about social sharing. When a user tries to share a link to one of those click depth pages, the social platform is going to struggle to generate a meaningful preview. Without the ability to properly parse the dynamic content, you end up with generic, uninformative snippets that do little to entice potential visitors.

When to Target Click Depth Pages

So, should you ever target click depth pages as part of your SEO strategy? The answer, as with most things in the world of digital marketing, is: it depends.

If your client’s website is built on a traditional, server-rendered architecture, then by all means, target those deeper pages. Optimize the content, structure, and metadata of each page to make them as discoverable and shareable as possible. This is textbook on-page SEO, and it’s a proven strategy for driving organic traffic.

But if your client’s site is built on an SPA framework, you’ll need to tread more carefully. Focus first on optimizing the critical entry points – the homepage and other high-traffic pages. Make sure the content and structure are solid, the metadata is on-point, and the site is easy to navigate.

And when it comes to those click depth pages, you may need to take a more nuanced approach. Evaluate each page individually – is the content truly valuable and unique, or is it just adding unnecessary complexity? If the former, then by all means, optimize it to the best of your ability. But if the latter, you may be better off streamlining the user experience and directing your SEO efforts elsewhere.

Remember, the ultimate goal of any SEO strategy is to provide the best possible experience for your target audience. Whether that means optimizing for search engines or making your content more shareable on social media, the focus should always be on the user. And sometimes, that may mean resisting the temptation to chase the latest and greatest web development trends.

As I learned the hard way, there’s a balance to be struck between technological innovation and practical user experience. So, when it comes to targeting click depth pages, approach with caution and a keen eye for what truly provides value to your audience. The rewards may not be as immediate, but the long-term dividends will be well worth it.

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