When Google reveals a bit of information about how their search algorithm works, the words they use are very important.
For example, last year Google’s Gary Illyes mentioned that website speed is a “teeny tiny factor” in ranking, which came as a surprise to many people. It’s very important for user experience, but isn’t a major factor to Google.
However, in a recent post about the importance of internal linking on your website, Google’s John Mueller said that it was “super critical” and “one of the biggest things you can do” to help Google. Those are bold words!
I try to be very intentional about links on this site. Sometimes I’ll link out to other sources (such as the link a few paragraphs up), and many times I’ll link to old posts of mine that are relevant for the discussion at hand. For example, while John made it clear that internal links are important, I can point you to a post of mine from last year where he said that you can certainly have too many internal links and perhaps create problems.
Internal links are a huge, easy win, because they benefit both the user and Google. Really, most things that are good for users (unique content, mobile friendliness, etc) are good for Google as well. In most cases, you can think “Would this be good for my visitors?” and be pretty confident that it would also be good in Google’s eyes.
Back to John’s thoughts on internal links, though, here is an extended quote of what he said, and you can read even more over on this great post at Search Engine Journal.
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.