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Link Depth and the Trend Towards New Online Content

In our last blog post, we recounted a recent study that found that lots of blogs have two basic structural problems: They have lots of logistical pages that are not blog posts, and their blog articles are far from the site’s home page.

That second issue did not surprise us, given the slow evolution in legal blogging away from evergreen blog posts and towards targeted pages. It does, however, highlight the need for law firms to regularly talk to online marketing professionals or risk missing these tectonic changes in the search engine optimization (SEO) world.

Study Finds Blog Posts Tend to Have a Link Depth Problem

The study looked at over 100 blogs and more than 1 million blog posts. One thing it found was that lots of those posts had a link depth problem: They were only accessible from the home page with more than a dozen clicks.

This is not a theoretical problem. When search engines have to dig deep into your site, they can have problems finding blog posts down there. Even if they do find the post, they consider a high link depth as a sign that the post is not very important and lower its ranking accordingly.

How Blog Posts Develop Link Depth Problems

Without a solution in place to prevent it from happening, the link depth of a given blog post grows and gets worse as it gets buried by newer blog entries. As the link depth grows past 5 or 6, the SEO impact of those buried blog posts will diminish.

There are several ways to reduce or nearly eliminate the problem – like creating archive pages for older posts or, better yet, creating a sitemap and linking to it from the home page of your law firm’s website.

According to the study on blogging structure, though, many sites don’t have these solutions in place. As a result, their blog posts are hemorrhaging SEO points.

How Link Depth Fits Into the Broader Picture of Legal Blogging, Today

Google and other search engines have taken extreme pains to bring their users relevant and important results for their search queries, and have realized that many of those searches require recent information. Google’s Freshness Update is just one example of the steps Google has taken to promote new information over what is old and possibly stale.

The impact that link depth has on blog posts is another example of this effort. Blog posts that are old are going to have antiquated date lines, but are also going to be buried beneath newer posts. Frowning upon blog articles that come with high link depth scores – those that take over a dozen clicks to find from a site’s home page – is just another way of demoting them at the expense of newer, and therefore probably more sought-after, results.

Link depth for old online content grows