As part of a study, the SEO tool provider Semrush analyzed 150,000 randomly selected websites worldwide – and examined 175 million individual pages and 15 billion links. The aim was to determine which errors in internal links can lead to problems and which of these weaknesses are particularly common.
What the reader likes, usually also reaches the crawler
“Many errors can be fixed relatively quickly and easily,” explains Evgeni Sereda, Marketing Manager at Semrush. “Backlinks are a well-known ranking factor when the quality of the source providing the link is right. When a page attracts a lot of external links, its authority grows and Google promotes it to the top of the search results. ”Internal links, on the other hand, rarely get the attention they deserve. After all, they guide the search engine’s crawler through the page and play a role in evaluating the relevance of the subpages. This is certainly not new, but the result shows that a large number of website operators (or their service providers) have not done their homework completely.
These are the 5 most important results and their solutions:
SEO Mistake # 1: Broken Internal and External Links
The first and most obvious problem with links is that they don’t work – and that happens more often than expected. It may be due to a faulty URL, but also because the linked page simply no longer exists. 42.5 percent of the websites had broken internal links and 40.5 percent had broken external links. This affects the quality rating of your website on Google and last but not least causes frustration among users. You should therefore regularly check the correctness of the link URL with a link checker and, if necessary, make changes promptly, change or remove the link. This is especially true for multilingual pages – here an English-language page is better than a link in the void.
SEO Mistake # 2: Persistent Redirects
A redirect from an old to a new URL with a 301 redirect is called permanent and the old URL is declared no longer available. Almost three quarters of the websites have set up such permanent redirects. What at first glance might seem a reasonable final solution shouldn’t be permanent. Because from the second redirect, the probability increases that the search robots will no longer consider subpages for indexing on Google. It is therefore advisable to keep the number of redirects to a minimum. Also, check all URLs with redirects and replace them with the website address of the landing page whenever possible.
SEO Mistake # 3: Orphaned Page in Sitemap
84.1 percent of the websites examined had pages in their sitemap that were not linked to any internal links; this is known as an orphan page. Such sites usually have no valuable content, so it is not necessary to have them crawled. Here you should check whether there are any that have valuable content and should be indexed. If so, look for ways to link there internally. Otherwise remove the URL from the sitemap.
SEO Mistake # 4: Crawl Depth of More Than Three Clicks
The crawl depth is the number of clicks it takes to reach a page from the homepage. The more clicks are necessary, the less likely it is that users will visit this page or that the crawler will search and index the page. Organize the link structure so that important content can be accessed with as few clicks as possible. However, especially with larger and more extensive web projects, you will notice that this is hardly possible – especially if you want to adhere to an international structure.
SEO Mistake # 5: Pages with Only One Inbound Link
88.8 percent of the websites had pages with only one inbound internal link. The more internal links refer to a page, the higher the chance that users and search robots will find it. If more links point to pages with important content, you make sure that the linked websites are relevant to each other. At this point you should of course also exhaust the potential of news sites, social media presences and other “healthy” links.