The Importance of Internal Linking "It’s one of the biggest things that you can do on a website to guide Google"

author image Written by: Rabije Gashi Corluka           Categories - SEO

The real value of internal linking, John Mueller said, lies beyond site-breadcrumb navigation. Internal links tell Google and the reader what content matters most. When you visit a website, you can notice how it navigates you to follow breadcrumbs (just like Hansel and Gretel wanted to) to get to a certain location, a page.

For example: home > category > article:

creativetrnd.com > marketing > is-google-going-after-fluff-content

This assembly helps you, the visitor, and lets you navigate back and forth easily through the structure of a website – you can walk through different categories and sub-categories and find what you need, Search Engine Journal explained.

Breadcrumb structured data tells Google what the topic of a category is about. Often you can see websites that have their content organized into categories or topic clusters. For example, if you were to visit a certain cooking website, along with a bunch of stories and recipes you could find a homepage with offered categories:

  • Category A – Desserts
  • Category B – Main dishes
  • Category C – Snacks

Google can understand what the topic of a website category is from the breadcrumb structured data.

How Effective Is Structured Data for Internal Linking?

This was a question someone asked on Google SEO office hours. They wanted to know if setting up a breadcrumb structured data navigation is enough for internal linking. John Mueller said that internal linking is an opportunity to communicate more than internal navigational links can.

Yes, absolutely. It’s something where internal linking is super critical for SEO. I think it’s one of the biggest things that you can do on a website to kind of guide Google and guide visitors to the pages that you think are important. And what you think is important is totally up to you. You can decide to make things important where you earn the most money or you can make things important where you’re the strongest competitor or maybe you’re the weakest competitor.

With internal linking, you can really kind of focus things on those directions and those parts of your site. And that’s not something that you can just replace with structured data. So just because there is structured data on a page somewhere, I wouldn’t see that as a replacement for normal internal linking. Even if in the structured data you also provide URLs, we don’t use those URLs in the same way as we would use normal internal links on a page.

Why Is Internal Linking Important?

It isn’t a ranking factor, but it’s a good way of telling Google what pages are important. The purpose of strategic internal linking, according to John Mueller, is to point Google and site visitors to the most relevant or popular topics. Internal linking is merely a way of pointing search engines to your important content and ensuring they can find and rank it.

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Rabije Gashi Corluka

Rabije always enjoyed finding different angles to a story, so it’s not surprising her curiosity influenced a move to a new continent, widening her perspective. She enjoys hearing people's stories and learning about different cultures and places - but most of all, she loves putting her thoughts on a piece of paper. Her love for writing led to her studying Journalism and PR, but she actually became a storyteller during her radio-hosting era. Now, she uses her skills, experience, and love for writing to help your brand stand out.