founder M16 Marketing Also a member of the Forbes Agency Council, Don is a leading marketing technologist whose mission is to create success stories.
Creating links is an important part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your pages. Visitors use them for navigation purposes. They click on your website’s internal and outbound links to discover new content. Search engines also follow these links. When you spider or crawl a website, you move from page to page via links. However, for a healthy on-page SEO strategy, you should avoid using too many links on any given page.
Why Every Page Needs Links
Every page of your website should have a link. Without links, visitors and search engines stay on those pages. Visitors will not be able to navigate to other pages, and search engines like Google will not be able to crawl other pages.
Pages without links are called dead-end pages. They don’t provide an exit point. Visitors and search engine crawlers can enter dead-end pages, but cannot follow links to leave the page.
Links are a form of content. And like any other form of website content, it is of value to your visitors. Direct visitors to important and relevant pages. Visitors stay on her website longer. A visitor may click a link on the first entry her page, navigate to a new page, and then click a link to yet another page.
Whether it’s a home page, category page, lower-level subpage, or blog post, you should use a link. However, when creating pages, you should avoid overusing links.
Google link limit
In the past, Google has reportedly said that pages should contain less than 100 links. Webmasters have not forced you to follow this link limit. Rather, Google’s guidelines state that webmasters should use a reasonable number of links per page, with a recommended limit of less than 100 links. Google no longer has explicit link restrictions. Google has since updated its guidelines to remove the link restriction.
In a blog post, Matt Cutts explained why Google previously recommended less than 100 links per page. At the time, Google’s crawler could only index his first 100 KB of a page. Links that count towards this indexing limit. That’s why Google recommended that webmasters use less than 100 of his links per page to ensure the page is fully indexed.
Google’s crawlers are getting more sophisticated every year. As in the past, Google has removed the recommendation of less than 100 links per page from its guidelines as crawlers are now able to index more page data.
Bing link limit
Bing has similar recommendations for how many links webmasters should use on their pages. According to Bing guidelines, webmasters should use a reasonable number of links per page. Furthermore, it states that pages should not contain more than a few thousand links.
Exceeding this link limit does not put your website into Bing’s penalty box, but it may limit your website’s organic ranking on Bing.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Too Many Links
What’s wrong with using too many links accurately? Bing’s crawler works just like Google’s. Look for links on the page and follow them to discover other pages. If your page has too many links, you may not be able to follow all of them. Search engine crawlers may follow some links on a page and ignore others.
If search engine crawlers don’t follow links to your page, they may fail to index that page. If a page isn’t indexed, it won’t rank in search results and won’t generate search traffic. If you want search engine crawlers to index every page on your website, you need to be aware of how many links you use per page. With the right number of links, more pages will be indexed.
Also, if you use too many links on a particular page, those links have less authority. Links are authoritative from the source page to the destination page. The source page is the page that features the link and the destination page is the page that the link points to. If a page has thousands of links, that authority is distributed across all those linked pages. The linked page receives a negligible amount of authority from the link. In contrast, using fewer links passes more authority to each landing page.
Another reason not to use too many links is that they look spammy. Web sites that contribute to spam may contain thousands of links on a single page. In fact, some spam websites consist almost entirely of links. Overstuffing your website pages with links can make them look spammy.
The more links you use on your page, the more difficult it is to maintain. Links may stop working. If you delete the landing page or change the URL of the landing page, it will stop working. Visitors can click the link, but they are taken to a 404 error page instead of the intended landing page.
A page can contain both internal and external links. Both types of links count towards the total number of links on the page. Using too many outbound links can be particularly harmful. An outbound link is a linked image or text that points to a page on another website. Basically, it drives visitors away from your site. A page with too many outbound links can have a hard time retaining visitors. A visitor may click an outbound link without returning to your website.
There is no limit to the number of links that can be displayed on a page. Some pages may require more links than others. However, using too many links can negatively impact your SEO efforts. Most pages should not have more than a few hundred links.
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