I want to implement good structuring practices for my website to optimize it for search engines.
My site is WordPress based. If I have some category pages - should I make the homepage the parent page of each category or is that a given?
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Edit: Stephen makes a good point about the nature of your question. - should you be using parent pages?
A parent page is a top-level page of a hierarchy - they have nested child pages.
If you are using your site’s default menu, parent pages will usually show in the menu with child pages as a drop down.
Child pages should be more specific than parent pages are. This is common with service pages:
The problem with this is that you risk your URLs becoming very lengthy. See my rules of thumb below about 3s
Including services there is a bit verbose. It increases the length for no reason.
Categories by contrast are applied to posts - they work the same way but are used to structure a blog, not the main pages of a site.
example.com/category/postname is very a typical URL structure for a blog. I consider it optimal because it removes
/blog/ from the URL, keeping post URLs concise.
You can also shed the category base:
^ that will still show up on the category page as well.
In this sense your home page I suppose is sort of like a parent page because
/category/ comes right after
/ but it is not technically. My original answer assumed you were alluding to that idea.
For SEO purposes, your URL structure is very much up to you. The answer to your question really depends on the style of site:
I could see it making sense if your website is like a documentation/wiki style structure with a sidebar navigation or a resume/personal profile.
Big Cats <- Homepage (parent) | -> Tigers //Child | -> Lions //Child | -> Panthers //Child
Otherwise, if your sites has a top "bar" navigation the homepage should probably not be the parent because then it would be in the navigation like this:
Home | Nav Item | Nav Item | -> Thing 1 -> Thing 2
Some general rules of thumb:
Some other advice that might be helpful now or in the near future:
noindexon pages that provide little value to users