Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks are the foundation of the internet, and also the foundation of SEO.

You have seem them. You have used them. And you probably think you already know everything about them – but I can pretty much guarantee you’ve only scratched the surface – do you know what fat links are??

In this article we take a deep dive into hyperlinks & get the creative SEO juices flowing in your brain – have a read through and start thinking about how you can weave this info into your seo strategies.

Hyperlinks were the original way of connecting documents on the internet.

A map of the entire internet, waaay back in the day. Circa 1977.
  • Hyperlinks take users (and search engine robots/crawlers) from Point A to Point B.
  • Hyperlinks are the #1 most important SEO ranking factor.
  • Hyperlinks are the foundation of the internet.

Let’s just jump right in and define hyperlinks, because these bad boys are the star of the show when it comes to search engine optimization.

Hyperlink Definition: In the world of computing & internet-ing a hyperlink (also known as a “link“) is a clickable reference from one point in a document to another point in the same, or different, document that a person can “click” and be taken to the referenced material.

Hyperlinks are everywhere.

You’ve already seen at least 2 in this article alone.

The Importance of Hyperlinks

Originally, hyperlinks were used to cite resources or references with an easy-to-access “clickable” piece of text that would take you directly to the reference, how convenient.

A clickable piece of text is called a text based hyperlink, and the clickable part of the test is called the “anchor text“. If you’re reading this article wanting to get better at SEO – remember the term anchor text. It is HUGELY important in SEO.

In order to rank a website in Google (or any other search engine for that matter) you need a website that is properly built using correct on-page seo techniques, so Google can easily understand it, and your website needs to have some kind of trust & authority – which is achieved by getting other websites to link to you, called link building.

When another website links to your website, this is referred to as getting a “backlink” from that website, and this has been the number 1 Google SEO ranking factor for a very long time.

And trust me when I say, links are here to stay. It rhymes, so you know it’s real.

With SEO being just one example, it is pretty clear that hyperlinks are now used for many different purposes above just citing sources, and there are many more types of hyperlinks that just “text based links”.

Types of Hyperlinks

Text hyperlinks, aka text-based links, are the most obvious and common links. You have already seen like 10 of them in this article alone and read about them as well. Text links are clickable pieces of text that you can use to navigate to another document/resource/etc.

Image links are clickable images, rather than text.

The most common place you see this are banner advertisements on websites.

Inline links (aka “hotlinks”, “hot-linking”, and “leeching”) are a way of using a resource from another website on your website.

Inline linking involved using a resource on another server (someone else has a website hosted on a server you don’t own or operate) and you “produce” that resource on your website without actually owning, or having, the media.

Black hat SEOs have used hot-links in the past as a negative seo tactic.

Let’s not go down that rabbit hole right now.

Anchor links take you from one place on a document to anther place on the same document. You see these most commonly in “Table of Contents” on articles or large guides (think Wikipedia).

But, in case you want to try one out right now, I have created an anchor link for you – go ahead, click this and say “WEEEE” as you get shot all the way back up the page.

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to another page on the same website.

For example, here on this article that you are reading called “Hyperlinks”, whenever we link to another article on a different page/URL of our website – that would be an internal link. Like this internal link sending you to the SERP Co homepage.

Internal links are not to be confused with anchor links – anchor links link to a different place on the same page/URL, where an internal links links to a different page/URL on the same website, but not the same URL.

Fat links (aka “one-to-many links”, “multi links”, and “extended links”) are hyperlinks that lead to multiple destinations. One link, many destinations.

I don’t have the ability to create them simply using HTML, so unfortunately I cannot give you an example in this article, but there is a super rad article about them where you can see a bunch of examples here.

Fat links can open multiple windows, multiple tabs, or just open a dialogue box with multiple link options!

How to Create a Hyperlink

A traditional hyperlink is made up of a few html elements. Let’s run a quick example so you get it.

This is a link to SERP Co.

  1. The Anchor Tags : <a> </a>
  2. The Hypertext Reference Tag : href
  3. The URL: https://serp.co
  4. The Anchor text : This is a link to SERP Co.

If you know how to put these together, then you know how to hyperlink.

On the “backend” (aka the HTML) our example looks like this:

This is not a course on HTML, but basically what you see is the 1. Anchor Tag, then the 2. Hypertext Reference Tag, then the 3. URL, and then the 4. Anchor Text.

  • The Anchor Tag creates the link.
  • The Hypertext Reference Tag designates where the link will be going.
  • The URL is the address/destination.
  • The Anchor Text is the clickable portion of the link.

Anchor Text tells humans & search engines a little about what the link is about.

If your website gets alot of links with anchor text surrounding “seo agency”, then Google will begin to understand your website is that of an seo agency – and this is a critical off page seo strategy that you can use to help your website rank for keywords.

Hyperlink Attributes & Properties

In HTML, attributes define additional characteristics or properties of of an element. This applies for hyperlinks.

Essentially, hyperlink attributes give links “extra powers”.

There are way too many hyperlink attributes to cover here. In fact, it would require its own series of articles to be comprehensive so let’s just cover the ones most important for SEO – this would be the “REL” attribute.

As you can see, even looking at one attribute there are still a ton of values – lot’s of options for augmenting links. These are the ones you need to know:

  • Dofollow – “dofollow” is the default attribute of a link. It tells search engine crawlers to ‘follow’ the link. It is a sign of trust, and it is how seo link power pass from one website to another through links.
  • Nofollow – “nofollow” is the opposite of dofollow. It is an attribute you add to a link when you do not trust the destination where you are linking or you want to specifically tell search engines to not follow the link. It does not pass seo link power like a dofollow link would.
  • Sponsored – the “sponsored” element tells search engines (Google) that the link on your website has been paid for. You can imagine this is not as beneficial for SEO power as a dofollow link, because essentially you are telling Google that you are buying links.
  • UGC – the “ugc” tag stands for User Generated Content. If Google knows that something was created by the user (for example: you post on your Twitter and link to your website).

You can add these attributes to your links in the HTML, by adding a rel=”” right after the URL

Final Thoughts

That’s about enough information any SEO will ever need about the basics of hyperlinks.

From what a hyper link is to how to create hyperlinks and everything in between – we’ve covered it all.

Hyperlinks are the foundations of the internet & a cornerstone of off-page seo.

If you want to learn more about SEO & digital marketing, be sure to join SERP University.
Devin Schumacher

Devin Schumacher

Devin is one of the world's top search engine optimization experts, and the Founder of SERP Co.

1 thought on “Hyperlinks”

  1. Hyperlinks remind me of sci-fi TV shows and films where characters travel from point a to point b instantaneously via “hyperdrive”. Hyperlinks are like that, but like bad hyperdrives, they can take you some strange places if they’re not set up right or worse, take you nowhere. When I run into a site with many bad hyperlinks, I question the product being sold or information being presented.

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