What you need to know

Serious question: Are internal links a ranking factor?

Too often, chatting about internal links as a ranking factor seems more like it comes from an endless phone game rather than the real source, the search engine.

Certain mythical SEO stories about internal links have been passed down through generations of SEO professionals. It can be difficult to distinguish facts from fiction.

In an effort to correct the record, I used our resources to verify that internal links were a confirmed ranking factor. Drumroll, please: You will find the truth about internal connections.

Claim: Internal connections are a ranking factor

An internal link is a hyperlink from a page on a domain to another page on the same domain. Internal links help people navigate websites and create a website architecture for the hierarchy.

Okay, but what about the smaller issues, like:

  • Do total number of internal links referring page thing?
  • Do the quality of those internal connections pointing to a page have a powerful effect?
  • What about the anchor text of those internal links – Is that another signal of relevance? Does longer anchor text add more value?
  • Is there something like too many internal links on the page?


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Evidence for internal links as a ranking factor

Since there are still a lot of questions about internal connections that need to be answered, and I want you to have all the facts clear, here they are.

Are internal links a ranking factor?

Google confirms that internal links are their rank A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).. Google states:

Create a natural flow hierarchy.

Make it easy for users to move from general content to more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively incorporate them into your internal link structure. Make sure all pages on your site are accessible via links and do not require an internal search feature to be found. Link to linked pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.

And Google’s “How Search Engines Work” establishes internal links as a ranking factor.

Some pages are known because Google has indexed them before. Other pages are revealed when Google tracks a link from a known page to a new page.


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This is also the reason why the Google Search Console has Best Linked Sites Report.. Used to “verify that the site’s home pages (homepage, contact page) are properly linked within your site.”

The SEO Beginner’s Guide also recommends the use of internal links in the markup of structured data on crumbs, stating:

“Breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of a page that allows visitors to quickly return to the previous section or home page. Many bread crumbs have the most general page (usually the base page) as the first, far left link and list the more specific sections on the right. We recommend using markup structured data via breadcrumb when pretzels are displayed. ”

The PageRank algorithm alone, and its internal flow, rely on internal connections.

Does your website rank faster if you have internal links to high-traffic sites?

Since Bill Slawski shared his analysis Google’s Reasonable Surfer patent, there have been arguments in the SEO community about whether pages with or without traffic affect ranking signals from internal links.

Slawski stated that “… based on the probability that a person who randomly follows links on the web may end up on a particular page.”

The patent talks about the position of the link on the page.

Basically, it’s about giving more weight to relationships that people believe will do in fact click, including links placed in higher positions on the page.

Matt Cutt confirmed this at PubCon 2010.

The patent does not apply to trade.

Slawski too dive into the patent for page segmentation this explains more about setting up internal links on the page. And he shares further insights about it how search engines use internal links to understand the website.

Is internal anchor text a ranking factor?

The SEO Beginner’s Guide clears up the confusion if internal link anchoring text is a ranking factor as it says:

“Consider anchoring text for internal links as well.

You may usually think of linking in terms of linking to external websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and Google do better on your site. ”


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Google’s John Mueller too resolved this claim on Twitter, where he said:

“Most links provide a little extra context through their anchor text. At least we should, shouldn’t we? ”

I 2019. Mueller talked more about how internal connections help you rank in the Google Webmaster Hangout.

However, the claim that long anchor text within your internal links at this point is just speculation. Search engines have not confirmed this myth.

In fact, the SEO Beginner’s Guide clearly recommends avoiding “using overly keyword-filled or long anchor text for search engines only.”

Rand Fishkin also deals his experiments with anchor text prove the value of quality anchor text.

And Roger Montti of the Search Engine Journal is investigating Mueller’s response if anchor text helps improve rankings.

Are internal links used as a ranking signal in the architecture of your site?

Internal connectivity can have positive or negative effects:

  • NinjaOutreach has increased traffic to its website for 50% in three months with its internal link structure.
  • The Daily Mail therefore failed to outperform its competitors poor internal connection.


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Google’s patent on Ranking documents based on user behavior or feature data explores the architecture of the site in more detail.

So what happens if your internal connections are broken?

Improper internal links make it difficult for search engines to index your pages and for users to navigate your site. Invalid links are a sign of poor site quality and can affect your ranking.

Google Decay Patent Website confirms this claim as it stands,

“If a website has a relatively large number of dead links, it is assessed as an outdated website.”

Now, how many internal connections are too many?

Back in 2009, Matt Cutts said it existed a limit of 100 internal links per page.

In the past, Google didn’t download more than 100k of a single page (no longer the case), so the idea of ​​links distributing your Rankings made sense.

In 2013 Matt Cutts withdrew this statement saying to “maintain a reasonable number”. Therefore, the rule of 100 internal links no longer applies.


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Internal connections as a ranking factor: our judgment

Internal links as a ranking factor: what you need to know

Yes, there is little truth in the myth that internal links and your search engine rankings have a link.

Think of it this way, as Cutts said:

“… if there is a site that is important or that has large profit margins or converts really well – escalate it. Put a link to that page from your home page, it’s the kind of thing that can make a lot of sense. ”


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Featured image: Paulo Bobita / SearchEngineJournal


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