Google’s John Mueller explains that using too many internal links on the same page can dilute its value, and instead goes into what to do.
This topic will be discussed during Google Search Central’s SEO hangout that was recorded on July 2, 2021.
A website owner asks a question asking if there are any dangers related to excessive use of internal links.
The topic of external links is often discussed in these hangouts, but the effect of internal links is rarely discussed.
Internal links are important to SEO as they send signals to Google about which pages are most important to a given website. They don’t send the same ranking signals as external links, but they are important nonetheless.
In addition, Google uses internal links to better understand the structure of a website. A sitemap can also be used to communicate this information, but a logical structure of internal links helps make it even clearer.
With all the help that internal links provide, could too many of them be a bad thing? That says Müller.
John Mueller of Google on using too many internal links
Excessive use of internal links on a website can cause problems. The first problem is that Google cannot understand the structure of the website.
When asked whether too many internal links on a page do more harm than good, Müller answers:
“Yes and no. I think in the sense that we are using the internal links to better understand the structure of a page and you can imagine the situation where we are trying to structure a website with the different pages, which is there to understand, if all of the pages are linked to all of the other pages on the site, where you have essentially full internal linking across every single page, then there is no real structure there.
It is like this a huge mass of pages for this website and they are all interconnected, we cannot figure out which is the most important. We cannot find out which of these are related to each other. And in a case like this, having all these internal links doesn’t really do your site much good.
Regardless of PageRank, authority, and the spread of such things, they are essentially not providing a clear structure to the website. And that makes it difficult for search engines to understand the context of each page within your website. That’s how I would see it there. “
The second problem is that using too many internal links dilutes their value.
An internal link can signal to Google that a page is important to the website, but it seems to be less important the more links are added.
If a page contains twenty internal links, they are not all treated in the same way as if there were only one or two links.
“And similar to the second question you had about internal links doing more harm than good – yes, if you dilute the value of your site structure by having so many internal links that we have no structure see more, then it will be more difficult for us to understand what you think is important on your website.
And I think that getting that relative sense of meaning across is really valuable sometimes because it gives you a bit more options to refine the way you want to be present in search results.
If you tell search engines pretty clearly and directly, well, this is my main 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 someone is looking for that category of the Product, this is the page we should be showing in search results.
However, if everything is connected, then each of these pages could be relevant. And then we may redirect the user to a random product instead of your category page when they are actually looking for a product category. “
According to Mueller’s advice, site owners should strive for an internal link structure that is similar to the structure of their own site.
It could possibly look like this: Home> Category Page> Service Page> Request Offer Page.
For example, if you add internal links to a blog article, you can add context links to related articles on the website.
While some internal links are good, more is not better. They send stronger signals with fewer links.
Hear Mueller’s full answer in the video below: