Overlapping Navigation

In the past it made sense to cross reference categories and locations to make hundreds of thousands of pages, but with duplicate content filters improving that is a fast track to nowhere. In some cases though it still may make sense to make pages which will still rank for geolocal queries.

One way to do this is to create local pages as their own categories, but to make the page linking to the local pages a category page which shares navigation common to the rest of the section of your site. That will allow you to rank for many modifier rich keyword phrases without requiring you to generate 50 pages per topic.

Published: November 21, 2006 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


November 27, 2006 - 10:01pm

Hi Tobto
I would probably be more inclined to use folder names to structure the site rather than putting the categories and subcategories in the filename.

November 21, 2006 - 2:48am

Aaron, thanks alot for sharing your tips and tools, they come in really handy!

I might not be an advanced seo yet, but that post I really have pain to figure exactly what you mean.

Maybe an example would help out?

Thanks alot


November 21, 2006 - 3:06am

I second that Flavio. An example of what you're talking about would be great, or just more explanation in your post Aaron.

November 21, 2006 - 3:23am

This will be a bad example but in theory, based upon using a clever title and navigation this page could rank for the following terms:

Overlapping Navigation
Overlapping Navigation book
Overlapping Navigation blog
Overlapping Navigation tools
Overlapping Navigation glossary
Overlapping Navigation events
Overlapping Navigation videos
Overlapping Navigation archives
Overlapping Navigation aff
Overlapping Navigation about

page topic + nav = numerous ranking possibilities

I think what he is saying is that auto generated/geo-vertical pages may now be much harder to rank for, and authoritative topical articles about a location can be mixed with the navigational elements to bump you into the geo+vertical rankings?

Awall, I third the rewriting, as the only reason I slightly new what you were talking about was due to a call we had.

November 21, 2006 - 3:24am


was afraid that post would come out as thick, and it did ;)

OK...so what I was saying is that in many instances you can make a subnavigation type become the content of a page using the main navigation...and thus have that subnavigation text cross references the main navigation text on that page to set up a keyword matrix.

think of stuff like this
types of services * locations
on that one page

November 21, 2006 - 3:57am

Yep an example is needed, done this on any sites Aaron?

November 21, 2006 - 7:03am

Hi Aaron, good post. I've been using this on many sites, works excellent as far as indexing and Yahoo! SERPs (especially Yahoo! Local).



November 21, 2006 - 11:12am

Hi Aaron

Now maybe I'm just thick, but the follow-up muddies my waters rather than clarifies them, if you know what I mean.

Further explanation requested please :)

November 21, 2006 - 11:26am


So I am not going to link to a site doing this because it would be silly for me to open all my sites up to prying eyes, but...

Imagine your navigation is

topic 1
topic 2
topic 35

now imagine that you wanted to be relevant to for local search queries, and wanted that relevancy to cross reference those 35 topics, but did not want to create 35 * 50 pages

so instead of creating 35 * 50 pages you opt to make one page for each specific state. each of those pages is more heavily focused on the state and the broader topic of the 35 pages... not on covering all 35 topics and the state.

for each of the 50 states you can place the state related navigation in the navigation column, but for the main page listing all 50 states you could list them in the main content area with a bit of content, and place the 35 other topics in your navigation portion of that page, such that on that 1 specific page you are relevant for

topic 1 state 1
topic 2 state 1
topic 35 state 1


topic 1 state 50
topic 2 state 50
topic 35 state 50

I think that is about as clearly as I can explain it.

November 21, 2006 - 11:58am

How about when you have to do this and... you have different languages?

The example is ok but only for the U.S persons who know that exists 50 states.

What happen if a Chinese or Chilean like me see the example?

I need to develop the information Architecture of 50 countries + 12 languages = 600 possible variations.

Of course some countries use the same language, but the local content is not possible to be "reused" on a different language.

I´m reading information architecture books and is complicated to found the really optimum one.

I imagine some kind of multidimensional cube.

Any sparks of wisdom?

Thanks for the post, opens the topic for a good discussion.

November 21, 2006 - 12:04pm

Hi Gugo
I think language or market (if there are different dialects within a language...like US English vs UK English) are a natural breaking point for how to structure sites...so that should make your issue a bit less complex.

For most sites I think languages should be cleanly broke at the domain or subdomain level.

November 21, 2006 - 1:36pm

Yep, get it now all right.

Cheers :)

November 22, 2006 - 5:32am

So are there 35x50 links in the navigation on the main page?

topic 1 state 1
topic 2 state 1
topic 3 state 1


topic 1 state 50
topic 2 state 50
topic 3 state 50

Is that what the navigation on the main page would look like?

November 30, 2006 - 5:23pm

Aaron, that is strange. I would have though you would like the PR juice that comes from being closer to the root of a site than two levels deep.

November 30, 2006 - 8:14pm

2 levels deep is not bad for a multi-thousand page website.

November 23, 2006 - 12:25am

Hmmm... Here is my interpretation of it. One main page with 50 state links. 50 state pages with 35 topic links on each page.

Main Page:
State 1 link
State 2 link
State 3 link

State 1 Page:
blah, blah, blah
Topic 1 link
Topic 2 link
Topic ...

State 2 Page:
blah, blah, blah
Topic 1 link
Topic 2 link
Topic ...

January 1, 2007 - 3:12am

Ok, I am sorry I am beating a dead horse here. But I am on a simular problem and am not having any understanding on the best way to aproach this. Here is my delimia;
I have a site for a major cross state company (in about 30 states) that offers a few products (the same for every area). In each state, they do not offer their services in the whole state but in certain cities/towns. I would like to cover local searches and place high for the products they sell too. So I am having a problem on how to set these pages up so that they do not have duplicate content.

If I do a something like domain.com/new-york/brooklyn/someproduct/ then the "someproduct" page will be repeated a few hundred times through out the site.

How do I lay it out so that these local areas are covering in the search but not killing our listings for the main purpose of the site which is to sell these few products they offer?

November 26, 2006 - 2:04am

Today i saw a good example of possible overlapping navigation.

This is www.howstuffworks.com

Look the sitelinks.

Maybe i understood wrong but it is interesting to watch how the page rank is not divided by sub levels and also they achieve the objective of multiple themes.

November 27, 2006 - 5:53pm

Well. Are there any difference between links like that:
website.com/category-subcategory-pagename.html ?

I don't mean human factor, I mean SEPR alchemy.

Thank you!

December 10, 2011 - 2:48pm

Good post. works excellent. Thanks for your hardwork.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.