Google highlights the importance of internal linking in SEO
In a recent English Google SEO office-hours session, Google’s John Mueller discusses the benefits of having a proper internal linking structure for your website.
Internal Linking indicates to Google which of your pages are important
Internal linking is one of the most significant aspects of SEO, according to John Mueller. When a page is internally linked inside the content, it is an indication to Google that the page is valuable.
“With regards to internal linking, I do think this is one of the most important elements of a website. Because it’s a great way for you to tell us what you would consider important on your pages”, says John Mueller.
You can read more about this, in our article here.
Proper Internal linking can result in faster crawling and indexing
Google says that it crawls and indexes pages faster when they are internally linked on important pages.
“For example, if you have an e-commerce site, and you link to your new product from your home page, then that’s a really fast way for us to recognize those new products, and to crawl and index them as quickly as possible, and to give them a little bit of extra starting weight when you’re starting off”, says Mueller.
He also went on to say that Google will recognise the links almost immediately as soon as the page is indexed.
Here’s what he said:
“And with regards to how quickly that is picked up, I would assume that’s essentially picked up immediately, as soon as we recrawl and reindex those pages. So it’s not that there’s any kind of an extra latency.”
Don’t go overboard with internal linking
Internal linking has various advantages. However, too much of anything is harmful. The same is true for internal links. Over-optimization of internal links can dilute the value of that link and become ineffective in your SEO strategy.
Here’s John Mueller’s take on this:
“I think, in the sense that we do use the internal links to better understand the structure of a page, and you can imagine the situation where if we’re trying to understand the structure of a website, with the different pages that are out there, if all pages are linked to all other pages on the website, where you essentially have like a complete internal linking across every single page, then there’s no real structure there.
It’s like this one giant mass of pages for this website, and they’re all interlinked, we can’t figure out which one is the most important one. We can’t figure out which one of these are related to each other. And in a case like that, having all of those internal links, that’s not really doing your site that much.”
Internal links are weighted differently depending on the location on the page
Google has said on multiple occasions that the importance of internal links depends on a variety of factors. Internal links that are contextual in nature, seem to have more value. Similarly, links that are part of the content hold more weightage than links in the top navigation or footer.
Martin Splitt, who is the developer advocate at Google, explained this concept in a rather simple manner.
Here’s what he says:
“And then there’s this other thing here, which seems to be like links to related products but it’s not really part of the centerpiece. It’s not really the main content here. This seems to be the additional stuff.
And then there’s like a bunch of boilerplate or, “Hey, we figured out that the menu looks pretty much the same on all these pages and lists. This looks pretty much like that menu that we have on all the other pages of this domain,” for instance, or we’ve seen this before. We don’t even actually go by domain or like, “Oh, this looks like a menu.”
We figure out what looks like boilerplate and then, that gets weighted differently as well.”
To understand more about internal linking, you can read our detailed article: What Is Internal Linking & It’s Best Practices for SEO in 2022
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