I’m about to publish a blog post with a ton of links in it — almost two hundred of them. So before I did that, it seemed like a good time to talk about Google’s recommendation to “Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).” Why do we provide that recommendation, and what if you decide to ignore that guidance?
The original reason we provided that recommendation is that Google used to index only about 100 kilobytes of a page. When we thought about how many links a page might reasonably have and still be under 100K, it seemed about right to recommend 100 links or so. If a page started to have more than that many links, there was a chance that the page would be so long that Google would truncate the page and wouldn’t index the entire page.
These days, Google will index more than 100K of a page, but there’s still a good reason to recommend keeping to under a hundred links or so: the user experience. If you’re showing well over 100 links per page, you could be overwhelming your users and giving them a bad experience. A page might look good to you until you put on your “user hat” and see what it looks like to a new visitor.
But in some cases, it might make sense to have more than a hundred links. Does Google automatically consider a page spam if your page has over 100 links? No, not at all. The “100 links” recommendation is in the “Design and content” guidelines section, and it’s the Quality guidelines that contain the things that we consider webspam (stuff like hidden text, doorway pages, installing malware, etc.). Can pages with over 100 links be spammy? Sure, especially if those links are hidden or keyword-stuffed. But pages with lots of links are not automatically considered spammy by Google.
So how might Google treat pages with well over a hundred links? If you end up with hundreds of links on a page, Google might choose not to follow or to index all those links. At any rate, you’re dividing the PageRank of that page between hundreds of links, so each link is only going to pass along a minuscule amount of PageRank anyway. Users often dislike link-heavy pages too, so before you go overboard putting a ton of links on a page, ask yourself what the purpose of the page is and whether it works well for the user experience.