Do Internal Links Affect Your Google Ranking?
Internal links are often talked about but their importance is sometimes unclear. In this article, we’ll explore how internal links can affect search rankings and what optimization techniques can be used to ensure they are effective for SEO purposes.
We’ll be looking at Google Search Central, patents, tweets, and office hour videos to better understand this concept. Now let’s dive in!
Are Internal Links a Ranking Factor?
What are internal links and external links?
- Internal links are created when one page on a domain links to another page on the same domain.
For example: if you were to click a link on a page about search engine optimization tips that took you to another page with more detailed information about one of the tips, that would be an internal link.
- External links are created when a page on one domain links to a page on a different domain.
For example: if you were reading an article on the EverRanks blog and clicked a link to an article about Google Search Central, that would be an external link.
Check out articles from experienced SEO bloggers and marketers. You’ll probably find tips on how to properly optimize internal links to increase visibility for your key pages in search results.
But what does Google say about this topic?
The Evidence shows that Internal Links are a Ranking Factor
Google’s ‘How Search Works‘ page explains how links help the company discover new content.
“Because the web and other content are constantly changing, our crawling processes are always running to keep up. They learn how often content they’ve seen before seems to change and revisit as needed. They also discover new content as new links to those pages or information appear.”
In 2017, Gary Illyes – Google’s Chief of Sunshine and Happiness was asked if breadcrumb navigation links help improve the ranking of websites.
“We like them. We treat them as normal links in, e.g., PageRank computation.”
He said that internal links can help improve a page’s ranking in search results.
In 2017, John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, tweeted a response to the question: “Does Google look at the anchor text of internal links?”
“Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, right?”
During a Google Webmaster Central Office Hours Hangout in 2018, Mueller was asked if updating the anchor text of internal links to help users could have an impact on search engine results.
He responded that making the anchor text more useful to users would also be more beneficial for search engine crawlers.
In March 2022, John Mueller was asked if internal links were still crucial to SEO if structured data for breadcrumbs were present. He said, “internal linking is super critical to SEO.”
Then, he went on to call it one of the most important things you can do on a website to guide Google to your most important content.
The evidence is clear: Internal links make your website easier for both users and search engines to understand. And in order to determine which pages are the most important for you, Google gives internal links weight.
So, what makes a good internal link?
Let’s read it in the next part!
Google’s Advice for Effective Internal Links
Google Search Console (GSC) is a powerful tool that website owners and Google recommend that creators use to make their sites more accessible to web crawlers.
GSC provides comprehensive reports that help users identify their most linked pages and pages with the highest number of internal links. This valuable information can be used to improve a website’s overall ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
As for advice on how to help your website’s SEO, Google suggests writing good link text.
“Links on your page may be internal – pointing to other pages on your site – or external – leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you’re linking to is about.”
“You may usually think about linking in terms of pointing to outside websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users, and Google navigate your site better.”
Moreover, Google warns against using too many keywords in your anchor text or having excessively long links that don’t help users navigate around the website.
In 2008, Google discussed the importance of link architecture in a Google Search Central Blog article:
“Link architecture – the method of internal linking on your site – is a crucial step in the site design if you want your site indexed by search engines. It plays a critical role in Googlebot’s ability to find your site’s pages and ensures that your visitors can navigate and enjoy your site.”
This article provides answers to questions about internal linking. In short:
Google doesn’t recommend using the nofollow attribute with internal links for PageRank sculpting or siloing. Furthermore, they don’t have a problem with cross-themed internal linking, such as a website discussing biking and camping.
And does the number of internal links matter?
In 2013, Matt Cutts, previously the head of Google’s webspam team, answered a question about internal links in a Google Search Central video.
He said that website templates and architecture would usually result in many internal links with matching anchor text, but as long as it is done for user experience and not to spam the system, it is okay.
Final Verdict of Internal Links
The answer is YES! Internal links are an important ranking factor for your web pages in search results.
So, if you are looking to optimize your website’s internal linking structure to help Google better understand the most essential pages on your site? You can find advice from Google representatives on both Twitter and YouTube.
An internal link is a link from one page to another within your website. When you link one of your web pages to another on your site, you are telling Google that the two pages are related. As a result, Google will help people find those related pages by ranking them more highly in their search results.
We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of internal links and how to use them on your own website. If you have any questions about internal links or anything else, please contact us anytime at EverRanks.
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