Question: How important is it to use the child/parent relationship when building out WordPress pages? I know I can set them anywhere I want within the menu, just wondering if google cared if the hierarchy matched? Example should I have a parent page of “Communities” with each community page a child of that page? Thanks!
Answer: How you design pages is more about navigation than SEO. At one time, having the parent page keywords in the URL was known to boost SEO. Today, it’s still a best practice but doesn’t seem to be impacting SEO the way it once was. Search engines are more concerned with what’s on the page and the consumer experience. This being said, a great user experience absolutely can help in higher rankings. Google is measuring clicks and if you have clear navigation that the visitor uses, it can result in more clicks and stronger user interaction which is known to be rewarded in the SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages)
The parent page allows you to organize your child pages. Think of it as a broad idea for the parent and then more focused idea (target) for the child pages.
It allows your visitor to see the relation between the pages. They may only be somewhat interested in the child page, but when they see the link to the parent page, it can increase clicks as that might be more their interest. Below is an example as to how that can show on your WordPress Blog using breadcrumbs. As you drill down, each of the parent pages can be shown and linked at the top of your blog. You also have the ability to show your parent pages and your child pages in a navigation menu.
The bottom line with this question and answer is this. When you focus on a great site that creates a great user experience, you will bereward by the search engines. Think QUALITY in your content and in your architecture and you solve many goals. Thanks for Asking!