Google’s preference for links in certain positions within a page has long been a subject of heavy debate among SEOs. In particular, whether additional value is given to internal links in header and footer has been quite the contentious issue.
Putting the debate to rest once and for all, John Mueller has gone on record to clarify Google’s view on INTERNAL LINK positioning.
In a nutshell, the answer is no – page position makes no difference whatsoever, when it comes to the value and prioritisation placed on internal links by Google.
No Difference in SEO Value
Mr Mueller was presented with a question by an SEO, who (like many) wanted to know exactly where Google stands on the subject of internal links positioning:
“You recently reiterated the importance of internal linking to signal to Google how important specific content on a site is,”
“I want to know, are links within certain sections of a site looked at differently,”
“For example, if a page is linked within a header or a footer and therefore included on every page of a site,”
“Does Google use those links differently thank links within the body of the page?”
To which, Mr Mueller stated outright that there is no differentiation at all between these positions:
“We don’t really differentiate there,”
“So if like, things are linked in your footer of the page and they’re linked from across the whole website then from our point of view you have those links from across your whole website,”
“It’s not the case that we would say, Oh, like links in a footer have less weight or are not as useful we will ignore them or anything like that,”
“So from that point of view, when it comes to links we essentially just see them as links on a page.”
Body Text Location a More Important Issue
While the position of an internal link may have no relevance to Google, the same cannot be said for the main body text on a page.
As Mr Mueller explained:
“It’s slightly different when it comes to text in there, in that we try to understand what the primary content is of a page,”
“And when it comes to ranking relative to the other content on your website, we’ll try to focus on that primary content section of the page,”
“But links from our point of view just help us to better understand the site’s structure and whether they’re in the header or in the footer or the sidebar or the main content, that doesn’t really change anything for us.”
Recently, Mr Mueller discussed the extent to which internal links can essentially be used to manipulate Google’s crawlers, in order to point them in the direction of a site’s best and most authoritative pages.
But in terms of where on a page those internal links are placed, no additional value is assigned in accordance with positioning alone.