Google On Internal Linking Structure: Clean It Up!

Internal Linking Structure has become an important part of OnPage SEO. A clean structure can help search understand your site better, and in turn, rank higher.
Marie Aquino
January 22, 2022

In the Google Search Central’s SEO Office Hours January 21 episode, a user asked if it makes sense to look at internal links from important pages of the website to see internal links from other important pages, and to remove links to less important pages.

According to John Mueller, it is something that can be done but it can be a bit tricky, because they try to be smart with how they process internal links.

Some very common pages get a lot of links, for example, the about page, terms of service, etc., which are linked from across the website. But at the same time, they understand this kind of pattern is normal and it doesn’t mean that they should rank the terms of service page for anyone searching for the company name.

Internal linking is something that can be controlled, but he recommends not going overboard like removing links to those pages (about page, terms of service, etc.).

As an example, he provided the introduction of the nofollow and how people set all links to the terms of service as nofollow, which doesn’t change anything and is a lot of wasted work.

What Mueller recommends is to go through the website and try to create a graph of how things are linked.

Most SEO tools have the capability of crawling a site and its structure, and providing a graph of it.

When you look at the graph, you can tell at first glance if the structure is clean or if it is messy. If it is messy, then there is room to clean that up and to make it clear what the structure should be.

By making the structure clearer, you are helping search understand which pages are more important.

He clarified that it is not that he’s saying the site will rank better if the structure is clean, but it’s more, they would understand your website should rank in this range, and which of the pages are the most important ones.

It’s something that gives value and you get to send people to the pages that you are care about. That is something worth looking into and is a good use of time, most especially for large websites that have evolved over many years.

While he did state than he’s not saying the site will rank better if the structure is clean and organized, he said that it is something that you will see effects from, which I would interpret as, it can help you get ranked better.

A clean structure does help crawlers crawl and understand your site better, and being able to crawl your site, understanding the content, know the content is great and of value, can get you ranked.

Not sure how to clean up and set up the internal linking structure of your site? Check out our Internal Linking Guide to help you get started.

You can watch the SEO Office Hours episode here: