There is an unofficial rule when it comes to website navigation design that everything should be accessible to a visitor within three clicks. The rule is problematic because it presumes three clicks from the home page, leading web developers and businesses to reduce the number of pages by compressing a lot of information onto one page or reducing content to the bare minimum.
But what if instead of considering how many clicks it takes to get to content from the home page, we look at how many clicks it takes from a search website such as Google?
Take for example, how we handle hours and locations.
As many sites are designed, there is one page with all of the business hours and locations. The assumption is a customer will go directly to the home page by typing in the URL (in the example below, www.bankofamerica.com), then click on the link to the locations page – information acquired in just two clicks.
The reality is, of course, that it is not how most people find what they are looking for.
Many years ago, I heard the then head of marketing for Coca-Cola describe Google as the soft drink giant’s home page because people don’t type coca-cola.com into their browser, instead, they would search “Coke” and click from there. The same can be said for finding nearby locations.
Sticking with our example of Bank of America, a would-be visitor is either going to search for “Bank of America locations” or “Bank of America near me” which brings up the locations in Google’s Local Pack. From there you can click on each website link and are directed to a page specifically about that location, on which you can find directions, hours as well as links to featured services that support the bank’s SEO efforts.
According to Hubspot, in the past two years, “near me” searches, such as “bank near me” or “ATM near me” have increased by 150%, while 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
With this in mind, if a would-be visitor found you through Google, are we making it easier or harder to get the information they are seeking. We would propose that reducing the number of pages on the site is doing the opposite of what is intended – making things more difficult.