Speed up re-crawling of previously noindexed pages by temporarily linking to them on important pages
Temporarily internally linking to previously noindexed URLs on important pages (such as the homepage) can speed up recrawling of those URLs if crawling has slowed down due to the earlier presence of a noindex tag. The example given was of previously noindexed product pages and John’s suggestion was to link to them for a couple of weeks via a special product section on the homepage. Google will see the internal linking changes and then go and crawl those linked-to URLs. It helps to show they are important pages relative to the website. However, he also stated that if significant changes are made to internal linking, it can cause other parts of your site which are barely indexed to drop out of the index—this is why he suggests using these links as a temporary measure to get them recrawled at the regular rate, before changing it back.
To better control page indexing, use ‘noindex’ on pages rather than ‘nofollow’ tags on internal links
Adding rel=”nofollow” tags to internal links is not recommended as a way to control indexing. Instead, John suggests adding noindex tags to pages that you don’t want indexed, or removing internal links to them altogether.
How to encourage Google to recrawl ‘back in stock’ product pages with internal linking
For eCommerce websites, it’s recommended to keep URLs live when a product temporarily goes out of stock. To encourage re-crawling by search engines once the item is back in stock, John suggests only temporarily removing internal links to the product page while the product is out of stock and then re-linking to it once the item is back. Deliberate internal linking (such as including internal links from the homepage) can give Google the best opportunity of finding and recrawling the page quickly.
Internal links coming from the homepage can be an indication of content importance
Google spreads external link value through your internal linking structure, so internal links coming from the homepage can be an indicator of relative importance. These pages may therefore be given a little more weight in the search results, although it’s not guaranteed that rankings will improve.
Google Will Ignore Links on Noindexed Pages Over Time
If pages are noindex, Google will ignore those links over time. If you have pages which are only linked from noindex pages then Google may not see the linked pages as important.
Repeated Links to the Same Page Will be Ignored
Multiple repeated links to the same page won’t be seen as spammy, and it won’t change anything.
It’s Important to Have a Clear Heirarchy of Internal Links on a Site
Internal linking is the best way for Google to understand the context of individual pages on a site, and the number of clicks to a page from the homepage helps them to understand how it fits in. However, having a clear hierarchy of pages further helps Google to understand which parts of the site belong together, and once this is in place the absolute number of clicks is less critical.
It is Not Recommended to Link Internally to Cached Versions of URLs
Generating a website structure by pointing internal links to the cache URL is generally bad practice, as the URLs can change overtime and a lot of the caches are blocked by robots.txt. In this case, John recommends keeping internal links within your site, particularly for crawling and indexing purposes.
No Need to Remove Internal Links on Non Canonical Pages as Google is Able to Figure Out Connections
Google sees links from a canonical page to a canonicalised page, and sometimes there can be multiple internal links that are associated with each. In this case, Google will combine all of the signals and keep them with each page, but is able to understand the connection between the canonical and canonicalised pages.