John Mueller Says Internal Linking is Very Critical for SEO

how to improve my Google SEO ranking

Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller has recently confirmed that internal linking is “critical” in improving Google SEO rankings. When it comes to improving a site’s Google SEO, he recommends taking a strategic approach to internal linking.

Internal linking, according to Mueller, is one of the “biggest things” a publisher can do to tell Google what content is most important.

Navigating Content Using the Breadcrumb Approach

In a children’s story, a protagonist may enter a forest and leave behind breadcrumbs they can follow to avoid getting lost.

Similarly, a website may provide a “breadcrumb” trail in the form of a breadcrumb site navigation to help users retrace their steps through the website’s structure.

A breadcrumb usually begins at the home page and works its way down to a category page before linking to an article.

Breadcrumb Structured Data

Internal navigation is a component of what’s known as breadcrumb navigation. It provides users with clear directions to help them reach their page destinations faster or even go back and forth between pages.

The most common way for website visitors to get around a website is through internal navigation, in which the different categories and sub-categories are clearly labelled.

Breadcrumb structured data informs Google about the topic of a website category. For instance:

  • This category is about a.
  • This category is about b.
  • This category is about c.

The context of what is being discussed, as represented by structured data, is reflected in breadcrumb site navigation.

Using Breadcrumb Structured Data for Internal Linking

A person asked Mueller in an SEO Office Hours hangout if creating breadcrumb structured data navigation is enough for SEO.

In response to the above query, Mueller emphasised the importance of internal linking in sharing more data with Google than what internal navigational links can convey.

Mueller highlighted the importance of internal linking, saying that it is one of the biggest things website owners and admins can use on-page to help Google and visitors find the most relevant pages on the web.

He also mentioned that deciding what’s important is entirely up to website owners or admins since some content can help boost their revenue and highlight their strengths, or even address their weaknesses in the market.

Regardless of the direction of the website, Mueller says that internal linking can help site owners highlight essential parts of their websites – something that can’t be simply replaced with structured data.

He also emphasised that even if the structured content contains URLs, they aren’t used in the same way as regular internal links on a page.

This means that it’s nothing similar to hreflang annotations replacing links between country versions or breadcrumb annotations replacing links across various levels of a website.

There’s still a need for websites to have normal HTML links across their various parts.

And lastly, Mueller pointed out that it’s not enough to simply have a basic set of links. Rather, there has to be a strategic approach to what the website is about and how this can be highlighted using internal links.

Despite all this, Mueller didn’t say that internal linking was a Google SEO ranking factor. He pointed out that it’s just a good way to let Google know which pages of the site are most important.

Traditionally, websites are structured in a way that resembles a pyramid. The top is a point that typically contains basic information about the site’s goals and what it can offer to users.

When users go through the layers of categories and sub-categories via the site’s navigation, the topics become more specific, all the way to the bottom of that pyramid-shaped site structure.

The larger the site, the more pages there are, and the more likely an important page will be buried by an avalanche of information.

Strategic internal linking, according to Mueller, is a technique for directing Google and site visitors to the most popular or crucial content of a website.

How Websites Benefit from High-Quality Internal Linking

Google Search has evolved dramatically since the early days of straightforward keyword matching. Natural language (NLP) is now used to analyse one in 10 English search queries.

Algorithms, however, are far from perfect. They require context to comprehend what a page is about, how it relates to other sites, and how essential it is on a website.

That’s where the actual worth of internal links comes from. Internal links provide structure to a site, convey meaning, distribute authority, and much more.

However, not all internal links are created equal. To get the most out of internal linking strategies, SEOs need to focus on creating high-quality links. Here are a few best practices for creating high-quality internal links:

Integrate Google SEO into the content strategy: Create content that fits the audience’s immediate needs and expectations while keeping them engaged throughout the funnel.

Use topic clusters and pillar pages: Each pillar page presents a high-level topic and introduces various subtopics. These subtopics are then linked to each other, and the resulting blog posts are referred to as cluster pages.

Link out from authoritative pages: There’s no need to use algorithms or build PageRank. Instead, just make sure to add links to relevant pages with great backlinks.

Use keywords in internal link anchor text: It would be inconceivable for Google to resort to manual actions and penalties on an excellent website for linking to their content using their domain, utilising appropriate, keyword-driven anchor text. It is crucial to know how Google’s manual action affects SEO and how to avoid one.

Mix up anchor text: If there are plenty of internal links with exact match anchor text, it’s good to mix things up a bit. Using broad match variations, for instance, will help convey the context and search intent of the target keyword.

Prioritise relevance: Consider including links in the most relevant areas of a page. For instance, a page may have multiple subheadings that contain a keyword. A solid strategy would be to link to each of the corresponding pages in those sections with broad match anchor text.

Boost Your Page Rankings Using Internal Linking Strategies from Position1SEO

Internal linking is an important part of SEO that can help you increase your rankings. Not only does it help your readers move around your site more easily, but it also helps search engines understand your site better. Get the most out of this feature by hiring us at position1seo.co.uk. You can be sure to get a high-quality internal linking structure that brings the most value to your website.

At Position1SEO, we specialise in link building to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). This shows that your site is well-known and trusted by customers. We can also help improve your website’s overall design and user experience, keeping visitors on your site for longer and increasing the chances that they will return in the future.

Our team of experts are always on hand to provide you with support and advice, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or queries. For further information on our services, please contact us at jason@position1seo.com or call us on 0141 404 7515.

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Author: Jason Ferry
Jason Ferry is an SEO specialist based in the United Kingdom. Taking pride in his many years of experience in the search engine optimisation industry, he has honed his skills in various digital marketing processes. From keyword marketing, website auditing, and link building campaigns, to social media monitoring, he is well-versed in all of them. Jason Ferry’s excellent skills in SEO, combined with his vast experience, makes him one of the best professionals to work with in the industry today. Not only does he guarantee outstanding output for everyone he works with, but also values a deep relationship with them as well.

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