Can You Have Too Many Internal Links?

There have been several debates on whether an SEO page can have too many internal links. What’s a fact, and what’s a mere suggestion? What matters when it comes to using internal links, and how should you structure your internal linking strategy to get the best results?

Yes and No. 

According to Google, excessive internal links on the same page can dilute the links’ value and confuse Google on your site structure. Having ‘too many internal links’ can depend on the page’s quality and relevancy of the links to the target page.

Away from SEO, an adaptation of the law of diminishing marginal utility is that too much of everything is not good, and the value of an item declines as more is added.

Firstly, tons of internal links can communicate poor website structure and confuse search engines trying to understand your website.

Ideally, internal links help search engines to better understand how a page relates to other pages on a website. With fewer internal links pointing to relevant pages, Google will understand the hierarchy of your pages and the pages that are important to you. 

If there are too many links, with all pages linking to all other pages on your website, the website ends up having no fundamental structure. You get a website with a bunch of pages pointing to each other without a well-thought-out plan or strategy. 

This does more harm than good.

Another reason is that excessive internal links dilutes the value of every link on the page. The more unnecessary links are added, the more the link value is diluted.

With fewer outgoing internal links, search engines understand the importance of the target pages. However, too many links leave search engines guessing which target pages are the priority. It distributes the total value across the numerous target pages.

There are many thoughts on how many links are considered too many on a page. 

For a long time, ‘too many links’ was defined as ‘more than 100 links.’ How did this number come up? Is it a mere suggestion or a strict rule?

The origin is traced back to Matt Cutts’s post in March 2009, where he quoted Google guidelines, ‘keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).’

Back then, Google used to index only about 100kb of a page. Considering how many links a page might reasonably have and still be under 100kb, it seemed right then to recommend 100 links or less. This is because pages with more links stand a chance of being so long and heavy that Google would truncate the page and wouldn’t index the entire page.

Google has developed massively and can process way more than 100kb.

So, is ‘not more than 100 links’ a suggestion or a strict Google rule?

It’s only a suggestion to help people avoid link stuffing and has never been a penalty situation. There are successful pages out there with over 100 links. If your page has quality, Google will be interested in its internal links and target pages.

Once again, ‘quality content over everything.’

To answer the question, no exact number of links is considered excessive. ‘Too many links’ is relative and can be determined by the links’ relevancy and page quality, amongst other factors.

The rule of thumb among SEOs and website owners is to add internal links only when necessary. Priority should be on link relevancy, user experience, and content quality. 

Two to Three Internal Links

Databox statistics reveal that 51% of SEO experts agree that a blog post should have two to three internal links. Another 36% preferred four to five, while 10% said the number of links doesn’t matter.

If a link doesn’t meet these requirements, adding the link might not be a good idea. 

don’t add too many links

Adding unnecessary links to a page tends toward link stuffing which is terrible for SEO. Link stuffing might have worked back when search engines were basic. Search engine algorithms are intelligent now, and stuffing your page with unnecessary links can give your website a lower ranking or completely blacklist your site. 

How to Do Internal Linking Right 

To avoid wondering if excessive links will affect your site or not, you should develop an internal linking strategy that matches your website structure. That way, you’re helping search engines understand your site map better while giving value to value pages where necessary.

For instance, you can internally link your pages in a way authority flows from the homepage down to the product/service pages. 

Homepage => Category => Sub Category => Service/Product Page.

You can also channel value from your blog pages to a pillar blog page, guide, course, service page, etc., or vice versa. For example, you can have all blog posts relating to Service A internally linking to the service page.

The goal should always be to align your linking strategy with your website structure and communicate a flow of information with contextual internal links.

Expert Tips

If you must use internal links, optimize them. Here are expert tips on the best ways to execute such a strategy on your pages.

  • Create text links using contextual anchor texts.
  • Anchor texts must not exactly match the primary keyword of the target page.
  • Do not link entire paragraphs. A word, phrase, or, at most, a sentence is the best for user experience.
  • Avoid using generic phrases like ‘click here.’ They add zero value.
  • Avoid adding all your links in the first or last paragraph. Distribute them evenly across the page.
  • Avoid having orphan content on your website.
  • Align your linking strategy with your website structure.
  • Your quest to add a link shouldn’t supersede your quest to produce quality content.
  • Make your internal links DoFollow.
  • Link to high converting/value pages
  • Ultimately, don’t overdo it.

Balance Is the Key

Having too many internal links is relative. Instead of forcing in as many links as possible, focus on giving your readers an excellent user experience by creating quality content with relevant internal links to value pages. That way, even when the internal links seem too many, it’ll be negligible.

Seven Oaks Consulting can help. Our talented content writers understand the rudiments of search engine optimization and produce quality SEO content with the right amount of internal and external links to yield results. Reach out to discover how our services can take your business to the next level.

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