Ever pondered, “What is web linking and should I be using it?”. Web linking can be the unsung hero in the epic tale of website success, quietly boosting user engagement and SEO achievements, yet often relegated to the shadows of digital strategy.
For a reader exploring your website, web linking acts as a map, charting paths through your blog’s landscape. Each link is a trail leading readers to unexplored vistas, while external links are bridges to neighboring territories.
By mastering web linking, you pave the way for readers to access your content effortlessly. Not only does it enable Google to crawl and index your content more efficiently, but your link text also underscores the relationship between pages, giving your SEO a significant boost.
Let’s dive into the fascinating topic of web linking and how it benefits your site, your readers and Google!
Table of Contents for What is Web Linking
- Unraveling the World of Web Linking
- Internal vs. External Links
- How to Make a Link with Words
- Graphics and Links: Beyond Just Text
- A Closer Look at External Links
- Tapping into Platform-Specific Linking Techniques
- Final Thoughts on What is Web Linking
Unraveling the World of Web Linking
What is web linking can be answered easily – at its core, web linking simply bridges two pages through an HTML link element.
With today’s advanced blogging and website platforms, manually embedding an HTML link is seldom necessary. Still, a peek under the hood helps grasp the foundational mechanics of a link.
HTML internal and external links
Look at the two columns below. In the first column, plain text. In the second, that same text, but with the word “Google” transformed into a clickable link. One tap, and voila! The user gets whisked away to the designated URL.
A snippet of HTML unveils the magic that browsers translate into the link you see and click. A link is just an A element with a href attribute (I highlighted this attribute in yellow). This href sets the destination URL that the browser navigates to when the user clicks the link.
To search for keywords you can use Google.
In HTML, the distinction between an internal and external link depends solely on the destination URL. If the URL leads to a page within the same website, it’s an internal link. However, if it directs to another website, it’s external.
Typically, links stand out, often underlined and in a different color from the surrounding text – blue being a common choice. But don’t feel confined to text alone. Buttons, images, and various visual elements can be converted into clickable links. We’ll delve deeper into this versatility later.
Blogging software, such as WordPress, come with easy-to-use editors, streamlining the process of embedding links into text, buttons, or other elements.
Other blogging and website software use similar intuitive editors to automate the process of adding links.
Use your blog or website editor to add links – it’s safer and you are less likely to make a mistake.
Internal vs. External Links
When you’re writing content, you’ll often use both types. Internal links guide readers to other relevant content on your site. External links provide additional information or back up claims, like the statistic mentioned below. Citing sources enhances the credibility of your content.
How to Make a Link with Words
New bloggers often wonder, “How to make a link with words?” or “How to embed links in text?”. This skill is crucial because the words you use for links, known as “anchor text,” impact SEO. Google uses these words to determine the relevance of the linked page.
While “anchor text” is the technical term for these link words, Google sometimes refers to it as “link text” too.
For internal links, it’s wise to select keywords that align with the content of the linked page for SEO optimization.
External links don’t directly boost your SEO, but it’s crucial for the anchor text to be clear and relevant for your readers.
For a deeper dive into anchor text types and their uses, check out the article below.
Graphics and Links: Beyond Just Text
Sometimes, it makes sense to make an image clickable, or a visual element or something else.
Not all links need to be text-based. There are occasions where making an image or another visual element clickable is effective.
Say you’ve uploaded a PDF to your website. You can provide direct access for your readers by linking an image to that file. Or, more straightforwardly, set up a “Download PDF” button, presenting a clear call-to-action.
A Word of Warning on Video Hosting
Avoid directly uploading and offering video files for download on your website. These files are typically large and can negatively affect your site’s speed for other visitors. A smarter approach? Upload your video to YouTube and then link to that YouTube video within your blog post. WordPress efficiently recognizes this and will automatically showcase the YouTube video player within your content.
A Closer Look at External Links
Let’s look at some external links best practises:
Link to Reputable Sources: Always link to trustworthy, authoritative sites. Linking to shady or disreputable websites can be harmful to your SEO and harm your website.
Use Descriptive Anchor Text: Make sure your anchor text is relevant to the linked content.
Avoid Over-Linking: Too many links can be distracting to readers.
Check Link Validity: Ensure the links are not broken and lead to the intended pages. Do this task before publishing. Ideally, use an SEO audit tool to regularly check your site for broken links.
Use Sponsored Tags: For affiliate links select the “sponsored” option so Google knows it’s an affiliate link.
Check Your External Links work before Publishing Content
Before publishing, ensure all links in your blog post work correctly. Preview your content and click each link to verify.
Remember, links, especially external ones, may break over time. External websites can change, disappear, or restructure, causing linked pages to vanish or get renamed. Remember, this is inevitable so remember to check or automate this link checking process.
Use SEO audit tools to scan your content for broken links and other SEO-related concerns. For efficiency, set up an SEO audit tool to automatically review your website weekly and send you email reports on any identified issues.
Tapping into Platform-Specific Linking Techniques
There are many platforms your can use for blogging or website creation. I’ll highlight WordPress, given its dominant presence in today’s blogging landscape.
This website uses WordPress and I recommend it for blogging as it has many excellent themes and plugins that help you with SEO, website layout and content creation.
WordPress: How to Post a Link to an External Site?
Creating an external link is no different that creating any other kind of link in WordPress. Let’s go through the process step by step.
First, find some text in the editor you want to convert into a link.
Highlight this text using the mouse.
From the editor toolbox (as shown below) select the link icon (it’s the icon to the right of the I button).
After you have clicked on the link button you will see the link dialog box below.
You can finalize the link from this dialog box. Add or edit the destination URL, this determines whether the link is internal or external. I’ll explain the options you can choose from when creating the link below:
- Open in a new tab – the link does not replace the current page, instead it opens in a new tab
- Add “nofollow” to link – don’t select this unless you have a specified reason to
- Add “sponsored” to link – affiliate links should have this selected
- Add “ugc” to link – ugc stands for “user generated content”, don’t select this
Finally, at the bottom is the title text, this appears over the link if you hover with your mouse over the link text.
Final Thoughts on What is Web Linking
Thanks for reading this article, I hope you found it informative and useful. Here is a quick recap:
- Add internal links to direct readers to related content on your website
- Add external links to help readers find more information or to cite your sources
- You can link to text, buttons, images and other visual elements
- The highlighted text (anchor text) should be relevant to the linked page
- Use an SEO tool to automate finding broken links
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