What are Hyperlinks? Definition, Examples, and More
“Hyperlinks”, perhaps more commonly referred to as “links”, are a basic function of the internet that we use each and every day, even if we don’t know the terminology. So, what is a hyperlink? Simply put, they are connectors and, as the term suggests, links between two web pages on the world wide web.
It is so natural for us to click a button, a piece of text, or an image to move from one page to the next on a web page that we don’t even think about it. However, every time we click on something and find ourselves on a new landing page, we’ve just used a hyperlink.
How To Use A Hyperlink
Links have several different useful features. In practical terms, they act as a convenient way to send users to what they are looking for, such as a blog post with further information, or an e-shop.
Hyperlinks also serve a fantastic purpose in terms of SEO. A link is indeed a gateway from one website to another, but the anchor text in particular is crucial in regards to implementing SEO keywords to indicate what the content is about.
Search engines like Google include these anchor texts in their calculations when they distribute top rankings. Hence, examining the wording of your links and thoughtfully composing them is crucial if you’re looking for high ranking in search results.
When you create a hyperlink, you should use an anchor text that helps Google better understand what the web page the link points to is about.
How Do Hyperlinks Function?
Hyperlinks work by creating online connections on two different points, and are called source anchors and destination anchors. The source anchor is the place where the hyperlink is located, while the destination anchor is where the hyperlink sends you.
The destination anchor is typically a website URL, this is where the user is directed to upon clicking. Sometimes another separate tab or window is opened for hyperlink content so that the user still has access to the original page that he or she was browsing. However, hyperlinks can also direct users to PDF documents, their personal email, and other programs on their computers and devices.
Hyperlinks generally use HTML code to connect web pages to one another, creating a network of pages on your website. This piece of HTML is also known as an “href” – the code language that is connected to the new hyperlink.
How To Create a Hyperlink
Creating hyperlinks is simple. To create a hyperlink on a document or website page, first decide what URL you are linking to. You should plan to link from your current document to a new page, either on your website, or an external page for outbound hyperlinks.
Once you know where your hyperlink will direct users, consider the hypertext or anchor text. What words, image, or other website element will you link from to create context for your link.
For example, if you are writing an article about SEO, you may want to hyperlink to another article that discusses SEO content writing. Link from your current page to another document about content writing using hypertext like “creating content” or “search optimized content”. Create context so that a web browser can naturally follow from one page to another.
To physically create the hyperlink, highlight the anchor text of your choice and click the hyperlink button. On most websites and documents, you can find a hyperlink button that looks like two chain links. Click this, then paste in the URL you want to link to to create your hyperlink.
Different Types Of Links on Websites
A hyperlink can appear several different ways and be applied to various elements of your website. Links often appears as a piece of text, but they can also take the form of a button, symbol, image, or even a video.
When hyperlinks are inserted into the text, only in rare cases will the actual URL be visible. More often, the link is hidden in a portion of a sentence or phrase, which is called the anchor text. Examples of anchor text can be “Click Here” or “Cheap Men’s Shoes”.
The hyperlink is activated when you click on the text, and some links open in the same tab or window, while others open in a different one altogether, keeping your previous screen open for easy access.
Three Types Of Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks can be divided into three categories, namely the inbound, the outbound, and the internal links. All three of these are important for SEO purposes, but it is the inbound links in particular, also called backlinks, that weigh heavily in search engine calculations.
Unfortunately, inbound links are also the hardest to control in terms of traffic. So therefore, if you are seeking to rank highly in search results, you should structure your links and craft them while adhering to all three categories.
Inbound links are the ones that can be found on other websites and that point in the direction of your website. When other websites create a hyperlink to your content, it directs traffic to your URL. As they act as a “recommendation” of sorts, they help to add credibility and validity to your website page, especially if the link comes from a strong and popular site.
However, these inbound links can be difficult to influence, as you cannot create them yourself and instead are dependent on others crafting and placing them. The work of obtaining inbound hyperlinks is called “link building”, which is a whole other topic unto itself.
Outbound links, or external links, defer from your website to those of others. These are formed when you create a hyperlink on your website that points to information on another web page.
There can be a tendency of disfavor for placing outbound links on websites, as it drives the user away from your site and directs their traffic and attention elsewhere.
However, outbound links are quite popular in terms of search engine results. External links show that you put the users’ experience first and lead them in the direction of what they are looking for, even if it is not on your own page.
If the best information is found on another website or document on the web, it is helpful to readers to point them towards that content. Web browsers like Google put an emphasis on external links because it shows that you are putting user experience first.
In this regard, outbound hyperlinks can be a good idea as long as you ensure you don’t link to sites that are in direct competition with yours. Create a hyperlink to web pages that provide relevant, complementary information and documents.
Hyperlinks also serve the purpose of helping build the internet network and giving it structure, and the same is true within your own site. Internal links direct readers from one landing page to another, for example from the home page to a subpage.
These hyperlinks greatly help to give structure to your site, as they lead visitors to the right places and to where you want them to be. It is also helpful to have a strong internal link structure in relation to search engines, as this increases the chance that all of your subpages will be indexed.
When you create a hyperlink from one page on your site to a new page, you help website visitors find relevant content while also keeping them on your website longer. The more web pages they visit on your site, the better, for SEO purposes. This shows search engines like Google that your content is interesting, engaging, and answers readers questions.
Hyperlinks are usually evident in the layout of a web page, and are often in a different color, usually blue (the color generally changes to purple once the hyperlink is clicked). They can also be italicized, underlined, or in a different font.
Sometimes the display of the anchor text changes when a cursor is scrolled overtop the hyperlink. This can be a change in the appearance of the scrolling arrow, the color of the screen, or a part of the web content expanding itself. Web programmers generally always want their hyperlinks to be apparent so that users will be curious and click on them.
A Warning About Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks were created to disseminate information on the internet more conveniently and effectively, but as with any form of technology, the function of hyperlinks has also been abused. Many businesses that sell goods or memberships can easily trick users into going to their websites by providing misleading links.
Some web designers attempt to improve their search rankings by flooding the internet with links to their site. A well-known tactic is to create “invisible” links on websites that are the same color as the background so that they cannot be seen, and the user unwittingly clicks them as they are scrolling the webpage.
Several copyright infringement lawsuits have been filed accusing those who have abused the use of hyperlinks, and this issue is still very much a legal grey area.
Only create hyperlinks that are helpful for readers, and link to safe, trustworthy websites to avoid any danger.
Hyperlinks are an essential part of any website. If you are working to improve your website’s performance, be sure to add relevant links to guide users from page to page.
For more help with website creation and SEO, check out our blog or contact our team at SEO Digital Group!