j.mueller google’s spokesman replied to a recent question on Twitter, on how to categorize links on the homepage? in menus and categories or within homepage content which is known as inner-linking. john’s answers are usually unmeasurable but this time it’s stated clearly!
internal linking is either obsolete, wrong, or misleading! suggesting to put the effort elsewhere.
let’s dig deep and overanalyze the whole question and statement and figure out what can be done and what to avoid.
link juice: a term used by new SEO’s, describing the authority – power – that link can carry, as a signal of importance and favourability for search engines.
the term is known formally “PageRank” the original algorithmic attribute Google used to rely on in its early days, measuring the value of a web page by the number of “quality” links referring to a webpage.
PageRank evolved much since it’s beginnings, introducing do-follow & no-follow attributes, while the intelligent algorithm learned to drop the majority of low-quality links by disavowing it manually and algorithmically, yet a backlink is a backlink, whether it’s internal or external, but not just that, it depends.
the premise – valid question
Surya Prakash volunteered to ask a question many SEO’s assume it’s self-evident! and formulated his question in a way that left no vague answer, he was wondering whether to promote category pages from the home page by listing in the navigation menu or within home page content?
mueller’s answer, unlike the majority of his answer, came straight! page rank/ link juice is “very likely” to be”
obsolete wrong misleading
below is the original tweet:
“Essentially, internal linking helps us on the one hand to find pages, so that’s really important. It also helps us to get a bit of context about that specific page.”
google’s john Mueller answered:
I’d forget everything you read about “link juice”
if john was a webmaster and an SEO, he would ignore endless articles from the world’s most respected journals and communities, Hubspot, Moz, Search Engine Journal, and others. stressing out the importance of link juice and site internal linking!
some link values and benefits standstill, like UX, and helping google bots discovering new content, especially for news websites, this is a must in some cases disregarding link juice.
martin split (developer advocate, google) and Alexis sanders (senior account manager, Merkle) in SEO myth-busting series discuss crawling in deep.
it’s very likely all to be: obsolete, wrong, misleading
1st, he surely didn’t mean all, but it’s very likely maybe, in that case, let’s go through the what and how:
obsolete: the value is demolishing and depleting over the years, it’s shifting towards user experience and ways that are harder and harder to manipulate, but a google search on “link juice” will return with freshly updated info from reputable sources! so it’s his word against the SEO community, both ways are neither wrong nor right.
wrong: Carl Jung mentioned that “most ideas are wrong” but science and community experts should provide inductive knowledge to take decisions, of course, we can’t know how it’s valuable or even how much! but decisions are inevitable! and john didn’t confirm whether to do it both ways, navigation and content, so we can be wrong & right at the same time! see? a dilemma! thanks, john!
and/or misleading: let us skip the and/or so you will not skip this read and discuss misleading instead.
yes it is possible, but john’s statement is already misleading, so you are assuming that link-juice info is intended to trick the algorithm so it would be misleading for SEOs? or for the algorithm? if so, and we applied the opposite of the intended info, would that make internal linking helpful?
instead, build a website that works well for your users.
that’s so general as expected, a website that works well should have internal linking for users, users click links within content, or at least mouse over the link to check it’s a domain at least, would that enhance the user experience? if yes, wouldn’t be worth sharing by Google to make the internet better?
test on your own, that’s the SEO’s job anyway.
why does google still show the internal linking pages on the google search console if it’s not important! if that’s not something they consider why we should ignore it! it would be lovely if a g shares our common sense, or become more transparent, the consequence is inevitable for SEO’s and google alike. one will never get better without the other.
not the most confusing statement from a googler, but SEO has always been a case by case scenario, every SERP is different, and we follow a checklist till it’s all implemented, then analyze and test like no tomorrow!
chill and sense the upcoming digital chaos, the future is amusing indeed.
let us know what you think, we like knowing.