|Googler Matt Cutts Quote about internal website links will not cause you any sort of trouble|
A month ago Google M.C. answered a question about internal linking and their effect on Penguin 1.0 Update.
M.C. responded “Typically, internal website links will not cause you any sort of trouble. Now, the reason why I say ‘typically not’ rather than a hard ‘no’ is just because as soon as I say a hard ‘no’ there will be someone who has like five thousand links – all with the exact same anchor text on one page. But if you have a normal site, you know…a catalog site or whatever…. you’ve got breadcrumbs…you’ve got a normal template there…that’s just the way that people find their way around the site, and navigate, you should be totally fine.”
I think this statement should be revisited since Penguin 2.0. because I don’t see any other reason for regular white hat sites to get penguinized other than internal linking.
How can the algorithm make a collateral damage to dozens of websites without chasing their internal structure and nail them.
[edited by: goodroi at 11:38 am (utc) on May 30, 2013]
[edit reason] MC is Matt Cutts [/edit]
Yes, this doesn't match up with my experience - especially overly repeated keywords in internal anchor text. Maybe something has changed?
I don't understand this. If you have a page about Antique Widgets, then wouldn't it be natural to link to it from other pages with the anchor text "Antique Widgets" ? What am I missing?
|wouldn't it be natural to link to it from other pages with the anchor text "Antique Widgets" ? What am I missing? |
That's natural linking, yes. The sites I got out of trouble used many, many footer links in the template with anchor text like "widget history", "building widgets", "learning about widgets"... on and on.
Now I just realized that maybe that was the keyword stuffing part of the algorithm - but for me, this happened almost exclusively with footer links and sometimes those in a sidebar.
|five thousand links – all with the exact same anchor text on one page |
Taking that at face value: If you've got the identical text occurring five thousand times on the same page, wouldn't that be a problem in any case, independent of whether there's a link involved?
:: idly wondering if the word "Home" counts as a stopword for keyword-counting purposes, and if so, how they distinguish Home links from "Home Improvements" "Home and Garden" and so on ::
In my country this sounds like a "supercazzola"...
I have on site more than "five thousand links" with same exact anchor text pointing on a single webpage: it's normal, it's a breadcrumb. And I have "five thousand links" just because I have "five thousand" products under the same category.
Typically, you use these links in menus, breadcrumbs , "related widgets" and so on for the sole purpose of improving final user experience on site. In short, just Cutts has "bored" us with these things for years... "user, user, user"...
Now, assuming I have 500 related products and for every product I have a link for its own related category (that I assume it's a great thing "AS USER", a sort of "click-and-back" without do a site search)... well... is good or not?
Really, guys ... I begin to struggle to understand Matt. He says everything and the opposite of everything ...
|I have on site more than "five thousand links" with same exact anchor text pointing on a single webpage: it's normal, it's a breadcrumb. And I have "five thousand links" |
I think you've misunderstood. Lucy said on the same PAGE, not on the whole site.
For reference, here's the video...
Will multiple internal links with the same anchor text hurt a site's ranking?
Matt Cutts - Apr 15, 2013
|Do internal website links with exact match keyword anchor text hurt a website? These links help our users navigate our website properly. Are too many internal links with the same anchor text likely to result in a ranking downgrade because of Penguin? |
Matt's answer: "typically not..." 'though there's always the one person who takes that way too far and has a gajillion links all on one."
|...this doesn't match up with my experience - especially overly repeated keywords in internal anchor text. |
I was surprised by the answer too, but there's some ambiguity in the question... and it's not clear that Matt is answering the questions that we are considering.
Matt seems to be saying that you can have many links from the same page or from multiple pages in the same site to, say, your Red Widgets page, and even though all the anchors say "red widgets", this won't be considered over-optimization for internal links. He also seems to be considering links in a template. He mentions "template" several times, though he then gets less precise about it and just talks about links on a page, so it's hard to tell.
Several internal linking areas that it's not clear he's addressing, though ...
- over linking in contextual links (occurring in the content area paragraph text), where I've seen it done to ridiculous degrees and clearly just for SEO....
- keyword repetition in footer links, as tedster notes...
- and similar keyword repetition in link lists on pages, as in...
Fuzzy answer?... or has something changed?... or was Google looking at different signals associated with the above problems?
|I think you've misunderstood. |
The question is whether I misunderstood MC. The line I quoted seems to say "five thousand of the same thing on the same page"-- but is that what he meant? Why would a single page have five thousand links to the same place?
That's assuming for the sake of discussion that you don't have five thousand occurrences of "click here" on the same page-- which, again, would be a problem totally independent of either linking or SEO :)
In the Links section of gwt there's a list of "How your content is linked". It's a pretty useless list, because it mixes together external and internal linking text. But the one thing it doesn't show is page-internal anchor text. (In my case, that means "Back to thumbnails" is listed-- it's the gallery-page boilerplate-- but "Back to top" is not. I looked this up recently in connection with a vaguely related discussion.)
|Why would a single page have five thousand links to the same place? |
In the cases I dealt with it was misguided understanding of SEO.
"back to top" would typically be a link to a fragment identifier on the same page as opposed to thumbnails which I would assume is another document.
Its nice to get some clarification on this I was under the impression that overuse of a keyword in internal links could cause a problen.
Uhm, yes. It looks, I've misunderstood.
Sorry, guys... this is "stress for updates"!
yeah I know what thats like
|red widgets |
We've done this, I guess with a thought towards SEO. Then we user tested the pages and found that most people prefered:
red widget stuff
blue widget stuff
green widget stuff
pink widget stuff
purple widget stuff
yellow widget stuff
Making the change made no noticeable difference in rankings.
|Making the change made no noticeable difference in rankings. |
Absolutely. I've seen a trend towards this type of implementation for several years now, and those sites appear to rank well enough.
|Then we user tested the pages |
The user's preferences may well play positively into Google's quality assessments of the pages aka Panda etc. Good practice to dumb down the internal linking IMO
|"back to top" would typically be a link to a fragment identifier on the same page as opposed to thumbnails which I would assume is another document. |
Yes, that was my point. They don't distinguish between internal and external links, but at least they do distinguish between on-page and off-page links. With gwt, one can never be 100% sure of these things.
|Good practice to dumb down the internal linking |
Is it dumbing-down? I'd have thought the opposite. If the whole site is about widgets, you're trusting to the reader's intelligence to figure out that "blue" means "blue widgets".
btw, I don't think g### knows the difference between "thumbnails" and "top". They just know the difference between <a href = "http or <a href = "/ on one hand, and <a href = "# on the other. Unlike certain robots I could name, who find this nuance too subtle to grasp.
|Maybe something has changed? |
This is a possible Panda (or Penguin) recovery concept - "Stop linking from one site’s sector to another."
This is only an observation which hasn’t been proved yet by anyone (but it is good as any other speculation).
What I have seen since the first Panda hit until the latest Penguin round is that some big sites have changed their site’s structure in order to escape Google algorithm updates.
It started 2 years ago when Matt Cuts advised one of the big content farms to segment their site by dividing it to subdomains for every writer.
They followed his advice. Other similar sites went for the same structure as well. They even deleted millions of poor traffic page. Well, they made a quick recovery but it hasn’t last for long.
Since that partial recovery, they continue to fall in every Panda round until Penguin hit them even harder.
They took a step forward. They changed the layout of their sites even further.
1.On their pages, they removed the menu bar that presented links to other site’s sections, putting every page to link only to other related content from its specific sector.
3.They removed the subdomain structure.
Since the beginning of this year, they made a terrific recovery. [But I am not sure whether they slap again in this Penguin round].
Internal link building was discussed many times.
People thought that a weak link can harm a site, talking about its anchor text and the implication of over-optimization etc etc. I think that’s only part of the game. There’s something in the site’s links that might make a negative ranking impact.
Honestly we have a menu in wich the keywords are repeated, but not blue widgets, red widgets etc. as that is only irritating for users and is keywordstuffing to me.
We have for exampel a site about diferent types of widgets, widgets could be for exampel type small and big where the words small and big are important keywords, not only on my site.
Then the links in the menu are like:
productname, 4 small (4 persons)
productname, big (10 persons)
productname, 2 big (6-8 persons)
This is good for user as they get information of how many there are if they need more than one, but could be seen as repeating keyword as small and big are many times and menu are on all pages also.
I been thinking on changing the menu, however I like it that way, and if I changed it, it would be just to "please" google.
I done some category pages instead but keeping the productlinks, this is good for users and maybe for google.
And in this update we have improved and have had since monday the days with most visitors since at least this year.
Maybe if I took away the productlinks we would be even better, we always been on first 10 of all important terms until last autum.
So I really would like to know.
Here's what I wrote in the Penguin 2.0 topic:
|There is, of course, a difference between going overboard on internal links and having a strong internal linking structure. It's also possibly to under do it and get no additional benefit. |
I've had pages rank well based on internal links alone.
We do use contextual links, but they are related to the topic at hand. For example, if we're writing about blue widgets, we might link to the red widget page, if it's related to the topic. No over-optimized text. Like Shepherd said, more "red" than "red widgets."
And it works. Pages that are particularly linked strongly throughout the site do tend to rank highly, even in the absence of external links.
Edit: I should probably say that we are pretty well linked otherwise. I'm not sure how strong an effect even an internal linking structure will have without a strong external link profile.
What about navigational links to the homepage? The alt text used on a site logo, for example, which may point to the homepage?
Did anyone try variations of internal anchor text within navigation?
Say I want to target 4 main keywords to the a page. So 25% of my pages link to this page 25% with [Keyword One], 25% with [Keyword Two], 25% with [Keyword Three] and 25% with [Keyword Four].
With database, I could make it for bread crumbs navigation as well as for other links on the website.
Would that be OK or uber-spam?
Why would you make your navigational anchor text different? Seems like a bad user experience to me.
This is also true of the breadcrumbs, and maybe more so, as Google uses that in the SERP. If it's different on different pages, how are they supposed to know what to use?
|Typically, internal website links will not cause you any sort of trouble.....if you have a normal site, you know…a catalog site or whatever…. you’ve got breadcrumbs…you’ve got a normal template there…that’s just the way that people find their way around the site, and navigate, you should be totally fine. |
The problems aren't going to be the standard web navigation styles Matt Cutts mentioned above. Even if you don't trust him, these are common to the top sites that are still ranking above you. They are very useful to real human visitors, who understand them because they've seen them a thousand times. Google has always been keen on things that are useful to real people.
In my niche, Penguin just cleaned out a whole bunch of garbage that I never understood how it got in. The real sites all stayed, more or less in order, sliding up a few slots into the newly vacated spots. No sites run by local businesses or enthusiasts vanished. Wikipedia also did well, getting to #1. They've got lots of internal linking.
Probably a misinterpretation. The question was in context, I believe, of Penguin and not of over-optimization in general.
I can absolutely 100% guarantee, as most astute SEOs in this community can, that over-commercialized internal anchor repetition is hurtful.
|Why would you make your navigational anchor text different? Seems like a bad user experience to me. |
Users rarely start browsing the site from home page. And they rarely go to home page or go away from their target. That said, variations of bread crumbs would be invisible to them.
If pages A and B both link to page C, and they don't use the same text, your user may end up going to page C twice, not realizing it's the same page. That is an annoyed user.
|Martin Ice Web|
Our main competitor in our niche, a big reseller also branded, went with every panda and penguin up the serps. He is now #1 or #2 for every query in our niche.
Interestingly he links from every site to other related and unrelated widgets. There are more information for other widgets on the page as for the widget itself. The links are dynamic, means with every reload you will see other widgets. The links are all "follow".
I think because, the site got branded with first panda/penguin it will not hurt him. Small site would not get through with this heavy internal interlinking.
Means there are other tresholds for brands then for smaller sites for internal linking.
|Small site would not get through with this heavy internal interlinking. |
You mean "outbound linking", right?
|Martin Ice Web|
yes and no, he is doing both of it.