We are currently discussing tweaking our website's navigation in an effort to optimize the flow of page rank via internal links. I am a web dev in a team of 3, with an SEO guy and a copywriting guy.

Currently our main navigation consists of a single tier dropdown menu, which matches the architecture of our site exactly (besides one or two second tier pages). As a result every page effectively links to every other page, all of the time, via the navigation. I was under the impression that Google, and other search engines, would see that this is a navigational element that appears in every single page, in exactly the same way, and not spread link juice in the way that internal links in the content would.

However we are talking about only having the nav menu just be single links, with no dropdown menu, just linking to the initial sections, which in turn have a sidebar nav menu that links to all the sub pages, which appear relative to the section you are in.

Would this have an actual effect on link juice 'flow' or not? This is just something I am curious about in order to broaden my knowledge on SEO and how the search engines view our pages.

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In the good old days of SEO things like controlling the flow of juice worked like a lucky charm. Many people even went to great lengths to use things like the nofollow meta on pages such as terms and conditions that hold little weight in the search results.

Juice Manipulation

Nowadays, people that believe that the flow of juice is important try manipulating the flow of 'Google loving' by purposely not using things like drop downs menus, widgets, footers and so forth. While it's highly debatable that this even helps, it is however certain that this results in a negative user experience.

User experience trumps SEO

User experience and content trump all such like SEO methods and in fact Google algorithm's even can detect good experience, to what extent is left to guess but we know it helps. Sites that have poor accessibility only frustrate the users and will possibly result in less conversions, less visits and this has the knock on effect of resulting in less natural links.

Natural Flow

Good SEO promotes a natural flow of incoming juice through building a great website, content and user experience. Of course this is can be very hard for sites saying selling services that such repairing boilers and many people would assume that it would be insanely hard to get people to link to a boring niche such as plumbing. But with this said it's still not impossible, its harder I admit but you still have the opportunities to promote your site in a SEO friendly way by great building content.

Bad Advice

Let's pretend for a moment that your niche is about plumbing in a city, now many businesses will think narrow mindlessly and receive poor advice. What I mean by this is they think all what matters is "niche name + city name". There are many ways of increasing the rankings of "keyword + cityname" indirectly without actually thinking of ways to directly improve that rankings.

Nowadays I strongly believe the most important factor of SEO is how Google refers to the importance of your site in terms of authority. Rather than spending hours and hours improving the placement of one page which will likely to slapped by Google its best to spend the time to get Google to trust your site, then everything else comes with little effort.

Link Flow is Irrelevant Nowadays

I'd say in this day and age controlling the flow of juice is simply silly. Some of the best ranking articles on the planet link out endlessly and still rank on top. You only need to spend 10 mins searching some really broad keywords and your see most of the sites have great accessibility, navigation, user experience and link out to other useful sites. Your time, money and effort is best spent actually focusing more on your visitors and less on Google. Yes, Google is important, after all whats a good site if you can't be found. But what's a site if it can be found and results in a quick bounce. My advice is that you put your visitors first and get good advice (flowing juice is extremely bad advice, never-mind dated).

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