Mistakes in Hyperlinking
One of the main elements that separates the web from virtually any other information medium is hyperlinks. Hyperlinks are very easy to use, but very easy to use the wrong way. Hyperlinks have two very important roles:
- They serve as a guide through your web site for real visitors
- They guide search engine robots throughout your whole site
In order to meet the needs of these two groups as best as possible, below are some hyperlinking mistakes to avoid.
Hyperlinking mistake #1: Choosing non-descriptive hyperlink text
The hyperlink text that displays as the hyperlink. For instance, in the following example, the hyperlink text is Google Home Page :
The hyperlink text serves a very important purpose for both real visitors and search engine spiders, and basically that purpose is telling them where they will end up if they click the link. The following hyperlinks are bad examples of hyperlink text because they don't say where they will be going:
Of course there are times when these links are appropriate, but it's usually a good rule of thumb to add an additional link with descriptive text.
Search Engines and Hyperlinks
Search engines consider hyperlink text to be very important, so when you choose your hyperlink text, make sure that it's descriptive of the item you're linking to. For instance, when creating a hyperlink to this article, I would choose hyperlink text that included the name of the article, because the name of the article is descriptive of the content. So the text I would choose would be something link "Mistakes in Hyperlinking".
Hyperlinking mistake #2: Not using external windows for external links
When you link to a web site that isn't yours, otherwise known as an "external link", it's important to open the link in a new window. Otherwise, you will likely lose some traffic to the other site. The simplest way to make this work is to use the target attribute. The following example will open a link in a new window:
In this short article, we covered two of the most common hyperlinking mistakes web designers make, how to avoid them and why you should be concerned. First, make your link text descriptive, and secondly make sure that your external links go to external pages.