Internal links are important. Unless you’re just starting out in SEO, this should be known as a fundamental part of optimisations done to ANY website. Whether a little local business site, a niche content site or a larger scale, dynamic/programmatic site like portals, directories or marketplaces, it’s important for all types of websites.
It’s one of the main elements I’ll look at with clients, and they’re often overlooked at scale. It’s surprising how easy it is to get some quick wins by just adding a link widget though.
For programmatic sites, you should have 3 types of links built into your template so that they’re ‘automated’;
✅ 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠
The ‘up-the-hierarchy’ links, and are easily accomplished via breadcrumbs. In addition to a well laid out site structure, these breadcrumbs help set the hierarchy to your site via helping to ‘parent’ content, which helps ensure your main content gets the value from its ‘child’ pages.
So a location page could link up to its parent category.
✅ 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠
Essential to passing authority down the site structure, these links are also extremely important to help Google crawl through key pages. These should link to pages that sit below the current page.
I recommend these are accomplished with footer/sidebar style link widgets, with filters applied to them to ensure only important / priority pages are included. This helps maximise the usage of your crawl budget, essentially just avoiding wasting Google’s time.
A parent category could link through down to its key location pages. In some cases, it could link to a region-type page, with the region-type page linking through to individual locations.
Also be known as related page linking, these links link across to similar pages. These links help connect similar pages together that may sit within a separate part of the site.
The links could be to pages within the same category but nearby locations, or the same location but in a different related category.
If you’re missing one, or all, of the above links then you should look at kicking them off asap. These can be extremely easy to integrate, and may actually show measurable impacts alone due to their importance.
Just keep in mind though, there are always risks with something like this done at scale. Automated widgets like these could expose URLs with issues that may not have been crawled before, or high quantities of low-value pages (ie 0 results search pages). Just make sure you’re adding some rules/intelligence/filters to the widgets, along with significant crawl-testing, and you’ll be good to go.