Can internal linking hurt your SEO rankings?

August 17, 2010

On a recent WebmasterWorld thread, one Webmaster wondered if doing a lot of internal linking with keywords in the anchor text would hurt his rankings in search engines. The Webmaster notes that the site in question was consistently ranking on the second and third pages of SERPs.

In an effort to boost the site’s rankings to the first page, the Webmaster added a “blogroll” of keyword rich links to internal pages. In the end, hundreds of internal links were created across every page on the website. The Webmaster soon noticed that the rankings for the keywords were now slipping off the map.

What likely happened was a case of over-optimization, where this person tried to build links to the same website and ended up doing nothing for the users of the site. The new style of the site and all of the links pointing back and forth likely confused Google crawlers and could have resulted in a penalty, which caused the rankings to drop.

Take this case as an example; just because you are building links on your own site, too many links will cause Google and other search engines to see your website as confusing for visitors and will penalize you. This can bring an abrupt end to any SEO campaign.

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