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I'm currently managing a website that offers a specific service across numerous cities in the country. To cater to this, I have created around 170 city pages, each focusing on a different city (e.g., Service in Los Angeles, Service in Pasadena, etc.). Each of these city pages contains roughly the same content with only the city name being different.

To make these pages accessible, I have placed links to all of these city pages in the footer of every page on the website under the section "Our Delivery Area". My concern is the sheer number of these internal links. I understand that having a significant amount of internal links isn't inherently bad for SEO, but I'm wondering if the volume in this case (170 links) could potentially be viewed negatively by search engines.

Furthermore, the content across these city pages is about 95% similar, only differing with the change of the city name. I know that duplicate content can be an issue, but I'm unsure of how this would apply in the context of city pages.

Finally, I wanted to ask whether including these city pages in the sitemap.xml would be sufficient for search engines to properly index them, or if the current practice of linking in the footer is necessary or beneficial.

I'd appreciate any insights or advice on this matter, particularly from anyone who has experience with managing a large number of city pages.

The main question I'd like to have answered is: Is it beneficial or detrimental to have all these city pages linked on every page? Or is it sufficient for indexing purposes if there's no internal linking, and the pages just appear in the sitemap?

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  • So basically you are spamming? Google knows these tricks.
    – user122122
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 12:47
  • @rohit-gupta I assure you we're not spamming. The business genuinely operates in all these cities. Most city pages are indexed (around 160) and none flagged as duplicate content by Google's Search Console. They often rank on the first page, but recently some dropped, like from 3 to 7. I'm investigating if this is due to the high number of internal links.
    – ballpumpe
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 19:28
  • I am sure that I have not implied that you are spamming. I edited your post to remove thanks, which is unnecessary in the question. Appreciation is shown by voting up. Commented May 16, 2023 at 15:23
  • @RohitGupta Apologies for the confusion in my previous comment. I mistakenly tagged the wrong user. I meant to respond to gantendo's comment. Thanks for your understanding.
    – ballpumpe
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 21:33

1 Answer 1

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In general, more internal linking implies to Google that a page is important.

  • I don't see why there would be a disadvantage in providing more internal links to a particular page, that's an internal matter for you.

  • However, if you overdo internal linking by making every page important then that particular preference factor is lost.

Having non-unique content, however, is a problem. I think you should try and add more city-related content on each page. Content can be in the form of images with appropriate title/alt attributes.

When asked if too many internal links on a page do more harm than good, Mueller responds:

“Yes and no. I think, in the sense that we do use the internal links to better understand the structure of a page, and you can imagine the situation where if we’re trying to understand the structure of a website, with the different pages that are out there, if all pages are linked to all other pages on the website, where you essentially have like a complete internal linking across every single page, then there’s no real structure there.

It’s like this one giant mass of pages for this website, and they’re all interlinked, we can’t figure out which one is the most important one. We can’t figure out which one of these are related to each other. And in a case like that, having all of those internal links, that’s not really doing your site that much.

So regardless of what PageRank, and authority, and passing things like that, you’re essentially not providing a clear structure of the website. And that makes it harder for search engines to understand the context of the individual pages within your website. So that’s the way that I would look at it there.”

From searchenginejournal.com

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