Does the value of internal links differ based on page location?
Google’s John Mueller gave his thoughts on internal linking and whether it makes any difference whether internal links are in the header, footer, or content. His answer was short and direct without any ambiguity.
Does the value of internal links vary by page location?
Internal links are a reference to links within a website from one page to another page.
The person asking the question wanted to know if the location of a link within a web page makes a difference in the “value” of the link, which presumably means SEO effectiveness.
Whether a link is more valuable based on its location on a webpage is a legitimate question.
Martin Splitt from Google clarified that Google divides a web page into sections and the main section where important content is located is called the centerpiece annotation.
This is documented in the article, How Google Analyzes and Weights Web Page Content.
In the article, Martin explains that the main content section is what Google uses to understand what the page is about.
Additionally, Martin said the different sections are “weighted” differently.
“And then there’s this other thing here, which looks like links to related products, but isn’t really part of the centerpiece. It’s not really the main content here. It seems like additional stuff .
And then there’s like a bunch of boilerplate or, “Hey, we figured out that the menu is pretty much the same on all these pages and lists. It kinda looks like this menu that we have on all other pages in this domain,” for example, or we’ve seen this before. We don’t even actually go by domain or like, “Oh, that looks like a menu.”
We determine what looks like a boilerplate, and then that’s also weighted differently.
There are old patents from Google and old statements from Googlers confirming that the location of content on a page can make a difference.
So the person asking the question has a very good reason to ask that specific question of John Mueller.
Google’s John Mueller discusses internal linking
Value of a link
The question is about the “value” of a link.
But what does “value” even mean?
Does value mean informational effectiveness or SEO value as a ranking factor?
- Google sometimes uses information to understand what the content is about.
For example, structured data communicates specific information about the content of web pages. Google can’t classify what it doesn’t understand, so clarity is important. Structured data is not a ranking factor, but it can still help Google understand the webpage better and promote the content to a prominent place in search results.
- Google uses certain information as a ranking factor.
The anchor text of a link is said to be a ranking factor. It both communicates the meaning of a web page and also serves as a ranking factor.
The difference between a bit of information that tells what a page is about and a bit of information that is a ranking factor can get pretty blurry.
So when the person asks what the value of a link is and John Mueller answers the question, what remains unclear is the meaning of the word “value” in the context of the question.
The value of internal links
The question posed to John Mueller is simple:
“Today I’m going to ask if the value of internal links is similar.
For example, is there a difference… in the value of internal links in the header, the footer or in the content? »
Jean Mueller replied:
“It’s quite similar.
I don’t think there is anything quantifiable different in internal linking in different parts of the page.
I think it’s different when it comes to content in different parts of the page, where we’re trying to figure out what’s unique to a page.
But as for the links, I don’t think that’s anything.
The location of the link is not quantifiably different
Word “quantifiablemeans something that can be measured. So when Mueller says there is nothing quantifiable different, it means there is no measurable difference.
So all in all, when everything is considered, the location of the internal link is essentially irrelevant.
SEO value of internal links
Does it matter if the internal links are in the header, footer or in the content?
Watch at 0:49 seconds in the video: