Google’s John Mueller offered his insights into internal linking and whether it makes a difference whether the internal links are in the header, footer or the content. His answer was short and direct with zero ambiguity.
Does 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 created a difference in “value” of the link, which presumably means SEO effectiveness.
Whether a link has more value depending on its location on a web page is a legitimate question.
Google’s Martin Splitt made it clear that Google divides a web page into sections and that the main section where the important content exists is called the Centerpiece Annotation.
This is documented in the article, How Google Analyzes Web Page Content and Weights It.
In the article, Martin explains that the main content section is what Google uses to understand what the page is about.
Moreover, Martin said that the different sections are “weighted” differently.
“And then there’s this other thing here, which seems to be like links to related products but it’s not really part of the centerpiece. It’s not really main content here. This seems to be additional stuff.
And then there’s like a bunch of boilerplate or, “Hey, we figured out that the menu looks pretty much the same on all these pages and lists. This looks pretty much like that menu that we have on all the other pages of this domain,” for instance, or we’ve seen this before. We don’t even actually go by domain or like, “Oh, this looks like a menu.”
We figure out what looks like boilerplate and then, that gets weighted differently as well.”
There are older Google patents and old statements by Googlers where they confirm 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 John Mueller this specific question.
Google’s John Mueller Discussing Internal Links
Value of a Link
The question is about the “value” of a link.
But what does “value” even mean?
Does value mean effectiveness for communicating information or does it mean SEO value as a ranking related factor?
- Google sometimes uses information in order to understand what content is about.
For example, structured data communicates specific information about web page content. Google can’t rank what it doesn’t understand, so clarity is important. Structured data is not a ranking factor yet it nonetheless can help Google better understand the web page and promote the content to a prominent spot in the 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 what the meaning of a web page is and also serves as ranking related 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 become quite blurred.
So when the person asks what the value of a link is and John Mueller answers the question, what is left unclear is what the meaning of the word “value” is within the context of the question.
The Value of Internal Links
The question asked of John Mueller is straightforward:
“Today I’m going to ask if the value of internal links are similar.
For example, is there a difference… of value of internal links in header, footer or in content?”
John Mueller answered:
“It’s pretty similar.
I don’t think there is anything quantifiably different about internal links in different parts of the page.
I think it’s different when it comes to the content in different parts of the page, where we try to figure out what is unique to a page.
But with regards to links, I don’t think that’s anything.”
Location of Link Isn’t Quantifiably Different
The word “quantifiably” means something that can be measured. So when Mueller says isn’t anything quantifiably different that means there is no measurable difference.
So overall, when everything is considered, the location of the internal link essentially doesn’t matter.
SEO Value of Internal Links
Does it matter if internal links are in header, footer, or in content?
Watch at 0:49 Seconds in the Video: