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I'm taking over a website for a client after they ended their working relationship with the SEO company they was working with.

On the website, the SEO company repeatedly linked keyword phrases to the same page they were located on. So, for example, if you were on the home page, in the content they have multiple keyword phrases linking to the home page itself. Same case with the various other pages of the website. In the content for each page they keep linking the keyword phrases to the page itself.

My own personal understanding is that this is useless, and potentially even detrimental as it's clearly not how internal linking is supposed to work, but I thought I'd ask the community at large.

Is there any benefit to this practice that I'm simply not aware of?

  • Internal anchor text of any type hasn't been effective for rankings for the last 6 years. I don't know if self links have ever been effictive, but I can't imagine that the anchor text portion of that is working these days. – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 26 '18 at 19:06
  • I assume that this was done to associate keywords to a page. This is one of the simplest and first link schemes. There are two problems with this idea. One, search is not about keywords. Two, circular links were never considered in any ranking scheme. Why? Because circular links cannot pass value. The PR algorithm would pass the same value resulting in no change. I am sure the same would apply to semantic scoring a link to the same page since it does not make sense to. I would undo this as quickly as possible. – closetnoc Jan 26 '18 at 19:51
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The two comments above are both on point, and I'll add that it creates a horrendous user experience. Your understanding is absolutely correct.

Search engines discover the web by crawling links, and the same goes for your website. Internal links, while never as powerful as quality inbound links, still benefit your ranking if your website isn't seen as spammy. Search engines used internal linking schemes to help them understand your site's information architecture and hierarchy, and the importance of particular pages within that structure.

Best case scenario, search engines will ignore these links. Worst case, they decide the site is trying to pull something and take a more critical look. But think about how frustrating these links are going to be for your users. The only reason to link to the same page you're on is to use id's to scroll to different portions of a long page, in which case it's a navigation element and not really intended for search engines.

As for that SEO agency, these are the types of people who give our industry a bad name.

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    "The only reason to link to the same page" - and, in some cases, to link to the canonical URL of the page (a user benefit, not an SEO one). eg. The question title on the stack exchange sites conveniently links to the canonical URL for the question (I use it all the time: Context Menu > Copy link address). – DocRoot Jan 26 '18 at 20:55
  • @DocRoot Great use case - thank you for posting it! – Henry Visotski Jan 26 '18 at 21:02

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