On July 2, 2021, during the Google Search Central SEO hangout, John Mueller, Search advocate on the search relations team - Google, answers all the questions submitted by the website owners.
We know that external linking and backlinks help google understand the network of our website.
Similarly, the internal linking we give helps google understand the structure of our website.
But, internal link building over done is not any better than having fewer internal links.
What is important is having an easily understandable structure for the website. This happens when most of your internal links are pointing to your primary page.
What should not be done is linking every single page to every other page on the site. This is not a good strategy of internal link building
Website structure gets only more confusing when every page is linked to every other page of the website.
When a website owner asked if more internal links on a page could do more harm than good, this is exactly what John Mueller said,
“Yes and no. 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.
So regardless of what PageRank, and authority, and passing things like that, you’re essentially not providing a clear structure of the website. And that makes it harder for search engines to understand the context of the individual pages within your website. So that’s the way that I would look at it there.”
And another problem with using so many internal links is that it dilutes the value of the pages. Several pages linking to fewer pages makes google understand that those few pages are the most important.
If the number goes up, the value gets diluted as there are all pages which are seeming important.
“And similar to the second question you had there, with regards to internal links doing more harm than good — yes, if you do dilute the value of your site structure by having so many internal links that we don’t see a structure anymore, then that does make it harder for us to understand what you think is important on your website.
And I think providing that relative sense of importance is sometimes really valuable, because it gives you a little bit more opportunity to kind of fine tune how you’d like to be present in the search results.
If you tell search engines pretty clearly and directly, well this is my primary page, and from there you link to different categories and the categories link to different products, then it’s a lot easier for us to understand that if someone is looking for this category of product, this is that page that we should be showing in the search results.
Whereas if everything is cross-linked then it’s like, well any of these pages could be relevant. And then maybe we’ll send the user to some random product instead of to your category page when you’re actually looking for a category of products.”
What is your internal link building strategy?