If I have a domain with the URL
example.com/section-1/abc, should there also be a dedicated web page for
example.com/section-1 from a SEO point of view?
Assume that there is no bread crumb navigation or any links to this page.
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Not necessarily. I have directories on almost every site I build that have empty index pages to prevent people from poking around. Example: 'localhost/mysite/images/' contains an index.php that will redirect them to 'localhost/mysite/'. It's a silly little thing, but SEO really doesn't need to sort through all of my images. And I certainly wouldn't want to give anyone access to a member directory, or one where I store my databases.
Google recommends to “Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically”. So, for example, having such a URL
example.com/news/astronomy/we-are-not-alone, for me it would be illogical not to have such pages as
example.com/news (personally, I quite often delete some parts of the URL to go to the parent directory). Also, in this case it would be a mistake not to receive some traffic for “News” or “Astronomy News” search queries.