Internal linking is critical to search engine optimization (SEO)

Google’s John Mueller answered a question about internal linking and asserted that internal linking beyond navigation in a site’s breadcrumb is one of the “biggest things” a publisher can do to tell Google what content is most important.

Navigation Navigation

In children’s stories, the protagonist may venture into a forest and leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs that they can follow to avoid getting lost.

The website similarly provides a “breadcrumb” path in the form of a breadcrumb site navigation so that a site visitor can navigate back through the website’s website structure.

The navigation path usually starts on the home page, then moves to a category page, and then moves to the article.

Home > Category > Article (You Are Here)

Navigation path structured data

The breadcrumb structured data is a reflection of the breadcrumb navigation which is part of the so-called Inland mobility.

Internal navigation makes it easy for website visitors to navigate the website, going back and forth between categories and subcategories of the website to find interesting things to read.

Navigation path structured data It tells Google what the website category is about.

  • This class is about x.
  • This class is about y.
  • This class is about z.

Navigation of the breadcrumb site is reflected in the structured data, which is the context of what is being discussed.

Is the breadcrumb structured data sufficient for internal linking?

The person asking the question wanted to know if setting the navigation through the structured data of the breadcrumb is sufficient for internal linking for SEO.

this is the question:

“If you have structured data to set up your breadcrumbs, does internal link still matter to SEO?”

Internal link is important

Google’s John Mueller responded by saying that an internal link is an opportunity to communicate something more to Google than internal navigation links can convey.

John Mueller replied if internal correlation matters:

“Yes sure.

It’s something where internal linking is critical to SEO.

I think it’s one of the biggest things you can do on a website to sort of direct Google and direct visitors to pages that you think are important.

And what you think is important is entirely up to you.

You can decide to make things important where you earn the most money or you can make things matter when you are the strongest competitor or perhaps the weakest competitor.

With internal linking, you can really focus things on those trends and those parts of your site.

And that’s not something you can replace with structured data.

So just because there is structured data on a page somewhere, I wouldn’t see that as a replacement for a normal internal link.

Even if you also provide URLs in the structured data, we do not use those URLs in the same way that we use regular internal links on a page.

So it is certainly not the case that hreflang annotations replace links between country versions or breadcrumb annotations replace links between different levels of a website.

You should already have regular HTML links between the different parts of your website.

Ideally, you should not only have a core set of links, but you should look at them strategically and think about what matters to you most and how you can highlight that through your internal linking. “

Why internal linking is important

John Mueller did not say that internal correlation was a ranking factor. He just said it’s a good way to tell Google which pages are important on a site.

If we step back a bit and look at how a website is structured, the site structure of a traditional website is like a pyramid.

The top of the pyramid is a small point that usually contains general information about what the site is and what it offers.

As you click through the categories and subcategories layers through the site navigation, the topics go from very general (at the top) to an increasingly very specific way, at the bottom of this hierarchical site structure.

The larger the site, the more pages it has, and the more likely it is that one of the important pages will be buried and remain forgotten in the torrent of content.

What John Mueller suggested is that Strategic interconnection It is a way to direct Google and site visitors to the most popular or important topics.

Thoughtful use of the internal link can help Google and site visitors quickly reach important content.

As Mueller recommended:

“…You should look at it strategically and think about what you care about most and how you can highlight that through your inner connection.”

The importance of an internal link is not to “trick” Google into believing that a web page is appropriate for XYZ.

It tells search engines which pages are the most important.

Internal linking is just a way to point out your important content and make sure search engines can find and rank for it.

the quote

Internal linking is critical to search engine optimization (SEO)

Watch the video at the 25:14 minute mark:

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