Internal linking within a website can be effective, according to a study by Zyppy. Cyrus Shepard, a well-known specialist in technical SEO, the founder of Zyppy, shared the results of an analysis of 23 million internal links on 1800 sites. The expert warns that this is a correlational study, and correlation does not mean causation.
Key findings of the study
Pages with more incoming internal links tend to get more traffic. For example, URLs with 0 to 4 incoming internal links get an average of 2 clicks from Google search, pages with 40-44 links get 4 times more clicks. However, for pages with more than 45–50 internal links, traffic from search begins to decline.
The more variants of anchor text for internal links used on the site, the higher the correlation with traffic from Search. The variety of anchors is important not only for external, but also for internal links, notes SEOnews.
Using a URL as an anchor in a link does not hurt traffic. Moreover, pages with URL anchors get 50% more traffic than pages without URL anchors. At the same time, experts note that there were less than 1% of such links with anchors to “bare” URLs in the study.
Anchors with exact keywords work great in linking. The study showed that pages with at least one direct occurrence of the key received 5 times more traffic than pages without it. At the same time, experts remind that such a correlation may indicate that pages with such anchors are simply better optimized for targeting certain terms.
Cross-linking/navigational links for large sites with high authority have a particularly noticeable effect on relinking. The effectiveness of such links is not obvious on small non-authoritative sites, notes NIX Solutions.
You can read more about the study on the Zyppy website.