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SEO

Google Search Console Internal Links: What It Tells You About Your SEO

Utilizing and optimizing your internal linking strategy can do SEO wonders for you if used correctly, and if it doesn’t cross the line of spam. And while we all love and rave about our favorite SEO tools (believe me, I have one too), the Google Search Console Internal links report is a valuable resource.

Of course, it isn’t as fancy as the customizations you can get in a paid SEO tool; nonetheless, it’s vital for the following reasons:

  1. The information comes straight from Google. This is huge, as it can give you a basic understanding or an idea of how Google crawls your website. And granted that the report doesn’t update until a few days to weeks, it’s still quite useful.
  2. It provides you high-level information about your most linked pages from your site, and conversely, the opposite. In most cases, the homepage would be the winner, but say you’ve pushed efforts to internally link to a specific landing page.
    • By looking at the report, you can verify, is Google actually able to assimilate this information? Is it able to, with every iteration of the report update, reflect your internal link changes?
    • If it isn’t, you likely have some technical issues preventing Google from seeing these internal link updates.
  3. On the other hand, say you have a page that severely lacks internal links according to GSC; however, it does well with traffic and other keyword rankings. By increasing internal links to this page, you now have an opportunity to bring even more visitors to your site, as well as capture new organic keyword rankings.

How to Use the Google Search Console Internal Links Report

As soon as you dive into the main Google Search Console internal links report, by default, you’ll get a list of internal links to individual pages, arranged by descending order.

a snapshot of the main google search console internal links report
A snapshot of the main Google Search Console internal links report. As you can see, the top 3 linked pages of my site are the homepage, the /seo/ category, and my author page.

Alternatively, if you wanted to get a quick glimpse of the least linked pages, hit the “internal links” column to sort by ascending order. On the most elementary level, you can find this information handy, and move on.

However, if you want to spend a bit more time with this, you can take advantage of the additional two filters.

Filter 1: Target Page

In the same main window, if you click on the hamburger icon in the top right corner, you’ll get two filter options.

google search console internal links filters
GSC Internal links reports has two filter options.

Choosing the target page will allow you to do the following:

  1. Take a shortcut to look at specific sets of pages. It can be immensely convenient for a large website.
  2. On the other side of the spectrum, you can exclude certain pages to get a narrowed view into your internal links report.

The “Target Page” allows you to precision your results by contains and does not contain.

google search console target by page internal links filters
Contains applies to what I discussed in point 1; does not contain to point 2.

A Few Use Cases for the “Target Page” Filter

  • To look at how a site section holds weight against the entire or other site sections. Here, you can get answers to questions like, does a particular category, theme, etc. needs improvement as it relates to internal links or, which site sections are winning?
  • To look at URLs with a target keyword in it — regardless of the site section. For instance, say you have a bunch of blog posts around site speed, and WordPress. The chances are, you may have a couple of posts about it under your categories of WordPress & SEO.
  • On a high-level, here, you can determine which paths may need some internal links love, which paths are already doing well within your definitions, and how else can you optimize your target pages.

Filter 2: Internal Links (Not to Be Confused With the Actual Definition of What an Internal Link Is)

Almost similar in functionality, the “Internal Links” filter works on a count level than a URL level.

To assist further, GSC provides four choices.

a. Equals
b. Not Equals
c. Greater than
d. Smaller than

google search console internal links extra filters
In this filter, you can elect any of the four, per your preference.

As you might have guessed, these choices work exactly the way you’d think it would.

A Few Use Cases for the “Internal Links” Filter

  • Check URLs by an exact internal links count. As a hypothetical, say you have a URL with 100 internal links, and despite that, it’s not performing as well as you’d expect. Having this knowledge may lead you to optimize the page further.
  • Check URLs greater than, smaller than, or not equal to a specific count.
  • Unlike the “target page” filter, you can now attain the knowledge to guide your optimization efforts based more on the number of links.

How to Use the Google Search Console Internal Links Report on a URL/Page Level

Up until this point, we’ve discussed the report on an encompassing level, to get an overall picture.

Pleasingly enough, GSC accommodates site owners to explicitly dive into individual URL details.

To get there, all you have to do is select any of the URLs (one by one) of your choice (or after using a filter), from the main report window. Once you’re in, GSC graciously bestows us with a “linking page” filter — that works akin to the “target page” filter, except, it would be restricted to one URL only.

gsc linking page internal links filter
The “linking page” filter works similarly to the “target page” filter; but, on a URL only level.

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Conclusion

The Google Search Console Internal Links report, while not that advanced, and definitely lacking anchor text information, is quite practical in reality where you can get direct answers about your internal linking structure and strategies.

My favorite part about the whole thing is accuracy — as the data comes straight from the source, albeit not real-time.

Best of all, you can export the data to work your Excel or Google Sheets magic.