If you are involved with building websites and want them to grow, you have probably heard about the importance of hyperlinks.
Especially with search engine optimization, or SEO, you have likely heard terms like anchor text and backlinks.
So if you want to learn what a hyperlink is and how to use them, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
When writing content on a webpage, a hyperlink is a text that links to other pages or websites.
You can also embed hyperlinks in icons like buttons with text in them.
Depending on a website’s theme and visual customization, hyperlinks have a distinct color from the surrounding text with an underline.
Difference Between a Hyperlink and URL
URL is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator and is the long string of characters that signifies the location of web content.
URLs are the computer address of a website or page, giving your browser the instructions for how to find and download the content.
Hyperlinks include the URL behind the scenes but only display the underlined text.
A hyperlink works on two fronts: through the computer code behind the scenes and the psychology of the website visitor.
The hyperlink displays written text for the reader to naturally see but includes a potentially long web address in the HTML code.
And in terms of your visitors, proper hyperlinks allow readers to scan your content and find resources.
The purpose of any specific hyperlink will depend on the circumstances.
For example, anchor links (internal hyperlinks) help a reader quickly jump from section to section.
But the fundamental purpose of hyperlinks is naturally connecting readers to other pages.
Now that you understand the basics of hyperlinks, you can dive deeper into the different types of hyperlinks and when it is appropriate to implement them.
All of them should be a part of your link building practices as they help directly and indirectly improve your search engine rankings.
1. Hyperlinks to Internal Pages
A hyperlink to an internal page is text within your writing that links to another page on the same website.
Instead of linking out to an external resource that further develops the topic, you direct readers to another webpage on your site that is devoted to that topic
Internal hyperlinks streamline your writing so that you do not have to cover the same content over and over.
2. Hyperlinks to External Pages
Hyperlinks to external pages look the same as any other type of hyperlink, except they direct your web browser to any page that is not on your website.
While internal hyperlinks show the reader you cover a topic in even greater detail, external links showcase that you have legitimate sources backing up the conclusions.
3. Anchor Links
Anchor links, also known as “jump to links,” make it easier for a reader to navigate a long webpage with lots of content.
You will often find anchor links in a table of contents section at the top of a webpage, and sometimes they are embedded throughout the content to make it easy to skim through the content and stay engaged.
4. Example of a Hyperlink
While this webpage explores the HTML coding that goes into hyperlinks, you will also notice that it includes examples of all three types of hyperlinks.
The anchor link at the bottom of the page skips back to the top.
Hyperlinks are a factor for SEO because they help make your site appear more authoritative and thorough.
There are many spammy websites on the internet, and search engines assume that websites with internal and external links are more trustworthy.
Why Is a Hyperlink Important for SEO?
Anyone who has studied how to improve SEO even a little bit has probably heard about the importance of hyperlinks, both internal and external.
In terms of internal links, these show search engines that you cover a topic in detail.
As the topic on a specific webpage touches on related topics, linking to other internal pages that cover that content shows that your website is rich with information.
External links are like the bibliography in an academic paper—they show that you are not making up the information on your page out of nowhere.
As such, external hyperlinks are most beneficial when they link to authoritative websites like academic journals and official government publications.
Is a Hyperlink Necessary?
A hyperlink is not necessary for a website to function, but lacking internal and external links will harm your SEO.
Lacking hyperlinks also makes the user experience much worse, meaning readers will leave your website quickly.
The following steps showcase a general workflow for creating useful hyperlinks on your web pages that will help with SEO and make readers’ experiences better.
- For a given topic, list related topics that you cover elsewhere on your website.
- As you research your topic, save external links from authoritative sources.
- Plan the anchor text for internal/external links depending on relevant keywords.
- Work anchor text naturally into your writing and create links.
- Lastly, create anchor links within a webpage to increase readability.
1. How To Create a Hyperlink
Specific technical details for creating hyperlinks change depending on your word processor and website manager.
But aside from these basic instructions, the following steps outline how to create hyperlinks that will help improve your search rankings.
2. List Related Topics
For any given piece of content you are creating, list out the relevant topics that intersect with your main topics, putting priority on the topics you cover elsewhere on your website.
These branches of related topics will show readers and search engines that you thoroughly cover a given topic area.
3. Research and Save Sources
While you do research for a new article on your website, try to use authoritative sources such as educational institutions and official government publications.
Save these high-authority URLs so that you can later link to them as a source as you write your content.
4. Choose Anchor Text
With your list of related topics for internal linking and authoritative sources for external linking, start planning what anchor text you will use for these hyperlinks.
You want anchor text that uniquely signals the content of the linked page while also including relevant keywords that you are targeting.
5. Create Links
Now that you have keyword-rich and useful anchor texts for your hyperlinks, it is time to create your links by working the anchor text naturally into your writing.
Hyperlinks should stand out individually as they grab your readers’ eyes, but they should also flow as part of a sentence.
Create Anchor Links
A good last step is to create anchor links within your webpage to make navigation easier.
Many plugins will automatically create a table of contents with anchor links to your page’s headings.
If you want to use hyperlinks to improve your WordPress SEO skills—a crucial step in helping your overall rankings—there are certain ways to implement them.
These best practices for hyperlinks will make your website look legitimate instead of spammy.
While spammy content worked in the past, search engines are now good at detecting spam and punishing websites.
1. Use Keywords
When you use relevant keywords in the anchor text of your hyperlink, you tell both the reader and the search engine crawler what the topic of the linked page is.
While doing this too much can appear spammy, naturally fitting keywords to your anchor text helps with SEO.
2. Use Descriptive Anchor Text
Because hyperlinks are underlined and have a different color, a human reader’s eyes are naturally drawn to them when scanning a webpage.
For this reason, using anchor text that is descriptive and accurate is crucial.
You want the reader to understand where they are going before clicking your link.
3. Create Structural and Contextual Links
Creating internal hyperlinks helps readers get more context for a given topic and help search engines understand the structure of your website.
Structural links should create the branching architecture of your website—for example, categories and subcategories.
And contextual links should provide more depth on related topics that you covered elsewhere.
Especially on large websites with lots of content, implementing SEO strategies can be time-consuming.
And building proper hyperlinks to give structure and context to your website can be laborious.
Luckily, there are many link building tools to save you time and money.
What Is a Hyperlink Tool?
A hyperlink tool helps you build all the types of links you read about in this article.
Regarding website SEO, linking tools suggest the internal links you should use to create a website structure.
Many tools will also help you earn incoming hyperlinks, known as backlinks.
Our Favorite Hyperlink Tools
Now that you understand what a hyperlink tool is, let’s dive into some of our favorites.
1. Link Building Services
In this collection of services for building links, you will learn that your link-building strategy largely depends on the type of content you are creating.
These services put the focus on making quality links instead of getting many low-quality ones.
2. Link Whisper
Link Whisper is a WordPress plugin that serves as a tool for internal link building.
Artificial Intelligence powers this tool and will give you relevant internal links directly in the WordPress editor.
For large websites, this is a huge time saver.
3. Rank Math
Rank Math is another SEO tool and plugin that helps you to improve your website’s SEO performance on multiple fronts.
There are multiple plans for this tool, and the paid version will have the best features.
But the free version includes many basics such as optimizing titles and descriptions and making suggestions for internal links.
Other Related SEO Terms To Know
Now that you have a solid understanding of hyperlinks and the best ways to use them for improving SEO, you should explore some other related SEO concepts.
These concepts relate to link building, and failing to know about them could be hurting your site’s SEO without you realizing it.
- Redirect: A redirect means that a specific page on your website no longer exists, and the old address now automatically sends a user to a new page. Redirects are important because they avoid broken links which confuse readers and hurt your SEO rankings.
- UTM Parameters: UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, and they are code parameters that you can add to a URL to track your online marketing performance.
UTM Parameters are crucial for online marketers who need to find out what campaigns work the best and why they worked.
- PBN: PBN stands for Private Blog Networks, and they are a type of link-building service that tries to game the system by renting links. You should avoid using PBNs as they are a bad long-term SEO strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before wrapping up this guide on understanding hyperlinks and how to use them, let’s clarify any remaining confusion by answering some of the most common questions on this topic.
What are the two basic parts of a hyperlink?
Two basic parts make up a hyperlink, the destination address (either internal or external) and the display text.
You almost always hide the destination address in the background code of your website so that the hyperlink only displays text that naturally fits into the flow of your writing, also known as anchor text.
Is a URL just a link?
Even though people often confuse the terms URL and link by using them as synonyms, there is a difference between them.
The URL is the web address that displays in your browser’s address bar, whereas the link is the clickable text on a webpage.
Links contain URLs behind the scenes but do not display them to the reader.
Hopefully, you now have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of hyperlinks.
Anyone who wants to improve SEO for WordPress sites needs to understand how to use hyperlinks to increase their rankings.
Anchor links within the same page also help readers stay engaged with your content, further legitimizing your website.
So make sure you are implementing hyperlinks with these best practices!