Glossary | 2 mins
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Hyperlinks, more commonly known as simply links, are clickable elements used as a reference from one webpage to another. Web users can follow hyperlinks by clicking or tapping on them.
Though the original hyperlink definition was restricted to text-based elements, modern hyperlinks can be anchored in images, interactive buttons, and almost any other visual element that can be displayed on a webpage.
Hyperlinks are the primary method for web users to navigate from one page to another, and have been a fundamental part of the internet ever since its inception. The HTML document format that all webpages adhere to, and allows for hyperlinks to be embedded in a page’s content, was set out as one of the three protocols of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet, as early as 1989.
Modern hyperlinks come in a variety of styles. With basic text based hyperlinks, the text that is linked is known as the anchor text. The anchor text of a hyperlink is almost always formatted differently to the surrounding text, traditionally with a blue font colour and an underline. Previously clicked hyperlinks will usually change colour in order to show that the user has already visited the target page. Some hyperlinks will also show a small popup when moused over, known as a tooltip.
Understanding hyperlinks is an important part of SEO for two main reasons.
The first reason is that backlinks, or inbound links, that point to your site from other pages are one of the main indicators Google uses to assess the value of a webpage, and how it should be ranked in a given page of search results.
Google determines the value of a hyperlink based on various factors, such as the words or elements used in its anchor text, the presence of dofollow or nofollow HTML attributes, the age of the link, and more. Google will also look at the referring page’s authority, based on the quality and quantity of its own inbound links, to calculate how a given hyperlink should affect its target page’s rankings.
Hyperlinks are also important to SEOs in the context of internal linking, and how a given website is structured through the use of hyperlinks pointing to pages under the same domain.
Google’s crawlers will follow links in much the same way a human user does to discover the content on your website, which is one of the first steps in the process of ranking it on Google’s SERPs. If a page on your site doesn’t have any internal hyperlinks pointing to it, or it’s buried so far down the site hierarchy that it’s hard for crawlers to reach within your site’s crawl budget, it will have a much lower chance of gaining a strong rank on a page of search results.
SEOs can help a site’s chances of ranking both by organising its content into a logical, crawler friendly site structure, and by building backlinks through the creation of high quality, authoritative content both onsite and externally.
How do you insert a hyperlink?
Most CMSs and native applications allow you to add a hyperlink to a piece of content by highlighting a string of text or other element, right clicking, and clicking a certain command, usually labelled “insert link”. Most, but not all platforms will also let you add a link by highlighting the anchor element and using the keyboard shortcut ctrl+K.
What is a hyperlink?
Hyperlinks are clickable elements used as a reference from one webpage to another. Web users can click on them to navigate from one page to the page the hyperlink is referencing.
Questions to ask your link builder