Is there SEO benefit in having more than 1 navigation menu?

Having more than one menu on a page is an area of debate for many web designers. On one hand, there is the opinion that having multiple menus can benefit the user. For example, if there is a menu at the bottom of a page, it will save the user having to scroll to the top to access the areas they wish. On the other hand, there is the opinion that having multiple menus may reduce the “link juice” (the amount of power contributed by that link to page ranking) thus penalising the website with the search engines.

It is clear that there is a balance to be had between what is best for the user and what is best for SEO.

100 Links as the Max

Google have tried to address this by recommending that the maximum number of links per page is 100 (this includes both internal and external links). Their view here is that any more than 100 might be considered “spammy” and not in the best interest of the user.

Multiple menus contribute towards this maximum number of SEO links. So, if you have the same menu at the top and bottom, the links are essentially doubled, and this will reduce the link juice to each page. In this situation, you would be better placed using the area to link to deeper pages within your site or perhaps simply inserting a “back to top of page”button which allows the user to return to the top of the page with ease.

When your menu is in JavaScript

However, if your top menu is not SEO friendly (JavaScript for example), then having links in plain HTML format will be of benefit as the search engine will be able to index them easier.

What about "rel-no follow" in your navigation?

A temptation by many webmasters to overcome this use of dual navigation, is to enter the code “rel=no follow” to the bottom link. The idea behind this is that Google won’t count this duplicate link when crawling the page. However, this is fundamentally flawed as if Google see two identical links and one has “rel=no follow” it will simply ignore both links which is completely the opposite to what you want.  Afterall, why would Google “trust” one link when it has been told not to “trust” its identical twin!  (Read more on our Essential Guide to Using No-Follow)

Try contextual links in the body of text

A good way to increase the user experience as well as improve your SEO is that of internal contextual linking. Optimising internal links within the body of text (as opposed to the main navigation) is one of the easiest ways to get a real SEO boost and also one of the most natural. (You should be able to see some examples of contextual links within the body of THIS blog post). Internal links are links that link to another page within the same website. The purpose of these is to help users navigate the site, and Google will reward this. This really is a "win-win” situation.

SEO is important to consider, but ultimately a website should never be designed with this in mind. The user experience should always take precedence and if this means having multiple menus then so be it. However, if multiple menus don't add to the user experience, then SEO reasons are worth taking into consideration.

Correctly setup your website in an optimised fashion

At Whitefish Marketing, as digital marketing experts, we know how to best setup and structure your website for both; a more enhanced user-experience, whilst balancing the benefits and necessities of SEO.  Why not arrange a meeting at our Folkestone office and let us show you in more detail how WE would design your future website.

 


About Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson is a Digital Marketing Manager with a passion for helping businesses to develop their digital proposition. He has an expertise across the spectrum of digital, including search engine marketing, social media, website optimisation, email marketing and web analytics.