This guest post comes from Samuel Johns, who works on the Organic Search team here at Vistaprint.
Whether you’re already using linking techniques within your site, or you’d like to learn more about the usefulness of links, this article will provide you with an easy-to-understand “what,” “how,” and “why” when it comes to linking. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to set up links correctly to ensure the best experience for your users and for search engines.
What is a Hyperlink (Link)?
“A hyperlink (or link) is a word, group of words, or image that you can click on to jump to a new document or a new section within the current document.” –w3schools.com
When you move the mouse cursor over a link in a web page, you’ll notice that the arrow will turn into a little hand. In HTML coding, links are specified by using the <a> tag, but the vast majority of website platforms have either a chain link icon or text saying “Insert Hyperlink” for you to easily insert a link within your site.
The Value of Linking
Adding links within your content enhances the user experience, and assists search engines in finding content on your site. Specifically, links allow you to share valuable resources located elsewhere on the web related to your page or article’s topic, making the experience more enjoyable and valuable. In addition, links let you point to other relevant content within your site (known as “internal linking”) to enhance a search engine’s ability to find more pages within your site. This will also increase the chances of your pages being found by users within search results, which would hopefully result in more traffic to your site. Similar to the first point, this can also help the user find other highly valuable content on your site.
Here is an example of two types of linking at work, on a Vistaprint page; this example includes “anchor text” (the highlighted, often underlined words that are clickable) and “internal linking”:
How To Set Up Links Correctly
Depending on the website builder you’re using, setting up links may differ slightly, but most should be very similar to this. Setting up links using a website editor:
- Copy the link address (URL) for the webpage you want to link to.
- In the website editor, highlight (don’t copy) the words you want to use for the anchor text within the page.
- In the tool bar or menu section, click on the item titled “Link” or find the commonly used link icon, which looks like a chain link.
- Paste the link address into the text box provided for the link and check to see that the anchor text field has the correct words.
- Click “enter” or “OK” and you’re all set.
- Be sure to test the link to make sure it’s working.
For those of you that have mastered setting up links through your website builder, here are directions on how to set up links using HTML code:
- Copy the link address for the webpage with the additional information.
- Add the following information from this example to the link:
- <a href=”http://www.externalwebpage.com/”>Example Anchor Text</a>
I hope this basic introduction to linking was helpful and that you can now apply these techniques to your own website. Feel free to ask questions within the comments section below.
For more information, and additional linking resources, visit SEOMoz.