Shari Thurow wrote an wonderful piece that is worth presenting here because it remains a discussion topic with site owners and client work. It is about the 3-click rule.
User Experience Myth Or Truth: The Three-Click (Or Tap) Rule
The theory was that if your site visitors did not find what they wanted in 3 clicks or less, they would abandon the site. SEO's jumped on this and decided that the most important content should be no more than 3 clicks away from the homepage.
Years ago we discussed here at these forums this ever topic and it asked if members really believed this 3-click rule. The majority of you said that as long as the content is interesting and easy to find and read, you simply keep on clicking. That is exactly why the 3-click rule is a myth.
When I create an information architecture for a client, some of them have enormous inventories of pages - thousands and thousands of them. They want them ranked and findable. They want them easy to find by their site visitors. Add to that content management systems that "push" content based on who is logged in or what a user is clicking and you can clearly see the importance of getting information on demand, while also creating the desire and momentum to keep them on the site looking around. It's a HUGE project when I do these (and I love it.)
I don't ever measure clicks to anywhere.
Every page is a landing page and is designed to be one, rank as one and perform as one.
The "information scent" (or "scent of information") and "sense of place" have to be designed into the pages, IA and navigation. This is done in many ways, including link label descriptions, anchor text, breadcrumb navigation...
Which brings me to a site I'm working on now.
It has one goal, which is to get people to fill out a free quote form. The homepage has 7 call to action buttons to that form, a mix of text and buttons that simply say "Apply Now". The inside pages contain at least 4 links to the same form, with the same label or a slight variation. On one page, two buttons are placed side by side, with two different labels. One is to apply now and the other is to ask for a representative. To the user, the expectation is totally different and yet both buttons go the exact same form. The task is identical.
We've seen this practice done on sites that sell vitamins and weight loss products for example, where the content runs on and on and on and every paragraph has the call to action button. It's ugly but people fall for it. This site I'm referring to is a parallax design, meaning it contains images and buttons but very little content. The content is so weak that it does not ever convince or persuade the visitor to click any of those 7 buttons.
So, rather than the 3-click, the site is desperate and not letting the user enter the site unless it is to the quote form. There are no links inside the pages to any other pages. Those are found in the header global nav and it doesn't take for the user to discover that those pages are designed to drive them to the quote page rather than learning anything else, including why they should choose that company.
Most websites are designed to drive their visitors crazy.