Is there a difference between main navigation links and links in the page body content for SEO?

Is there a difference between main navigation links and links in the page body content for SEO?

Yes, the Google algorithm distinguishes between links in the website’s header/footer versus links used in the content body.

Links in the header/footer are considered to be sitewide links, while links in the content body are considered to be contextual links.

Google gives more weight to contextual links, as they are more relevant to the content of the page.

Read more from Google on the subject of internal links here.


Sitewide Internal Links vs Contextual Internal Links

It’s important to have both sitewide links and contextual links to your pages.

Sitewide Links

A sitewide link is a link that appears on every page of your website. These are usually found in the common areas of your website such as the main navigation or the footer area.

Sitewide links help Google understand the overall structure of your website and the relative importance of different pages.

These navigational links are also essential in providing a good user experience for the humans who visit your website.

Contextual Links

Contextual links help Google understand the specific topic of a page and how it relates to other pages on your website.

These internal links also help your human users discover more information that’s related to the current page.

Should I use an internal contextual link if I already have a link in my site header or footer?

If you have a link to a page in your main nav, you do not necessarily need to internally link from the website body.

However, in my experience as a private SEO Consultant, I’ve found it is a good practice to do so.

It will benefit the human readers of your site and also help Google to better understand the relationship between the two pages.

What about Backlinks?

Backlinks are kind of the opposite to internal links in that backlinks are external links that originate from another website and link to a page on your website.

There are a few different types of backlinks┬áthat have varying degrees of impact on your website’s overall SEO.

Sitewide Backlinks

These are links from another website that appear on every page of that website.

This usually results in multiple links to your site and if the linking website grows over time, the number of links you receive will naturally increase.

Contextual Backlinks

These are links to your website from another website, but they only appear once on the linking page and are positioned within the page content.

Generally, these types of links contain rich anchor text and signal relevance between the linking page and your web page.


Internal Linking Tips

Here are some additional tips for good on-page SEO practices:

  • Use anchor text that is relevant to the topic of the page you are linking to.
  • Link to pages that are relevant to the content of the page you are on.
  • Use a mix of sitewide and contextual links, but don’t be spammy – add relevant and descriptive internal links with the end user in mind.
  • Make sure to link to your most important pages from your high-quality pages.
  • Ensure that your internal links are optimised for mobile devices with accessible anchor text and clickable areas that are large enough for mobile phone screens.
  • Internal linking is an ongoing process. Regularly review your internal linking structure to adapt to changing content on your site and user behaviour.
  • Don’t ignore the practice of internal linking, it will help the search bots to discover and crawl your web pages more easily.


Closing Thought

By following these tips, you can help your end users have a better quality experience on your website and also assist Google to better understand your website, thus improving your SEO.

Everything you do about internal linking should always aim to help the end user first, and the search engine robots second.