What are links?

Blog tutorial What are links?
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WHAT ARE LINKS?

Links or hyperlinks[[1] - are references to data available by clicking or tapping. Links are the key element of Internet structure[2] and one of the most important elements of website optimization. Because of links, a search engine is able to visit and index pages .

EXAMPLE OF A LINK

Text link:

<a href="/map/" title="">Map</a>

Image link:

<a class="navbar-brand" href="https://www.bizdb.co.uk/" title="">

                        <img src="/images/logo.jpg" alt="UK Business Database">
                            </a>

  GOOD LINKING HABITS

  1. A clear link structure is crucial in the process of creating a website[3]. It is recommended to make sure that the most important content is linked internally.
  2. Avoid broken links. Links can become outdated. Some pages no longer exist. Fixing broken links is recommended to optimize search engines crawl budget. Replacing or removing broken links entirely are the best solutions. The more broken pages, the less visits from search engine robots. Broken links have a negative impact on the ranking and the usability of a website.
  3. Avoid nofollow links in internal linking[5]. We recommend using the nofollow attribute to mark backlinks of dubious quality, e.g. links in the comments section. To mark internal pages that are not to be indexed, using robots noindex meta tag is recommended. See extra information on dofollow and nofollow links and how to use them.


BROKEN LINKS

If the page a link points to does not respond, it means the link is broken. The reasons may vary: the domain may have expired, the page may have been moved or redirected or the structure of the destination website may have changed. If the 404 error code is displayed, it means that the page has not been found. Server sends the https status code 404 and browser displays the error on page.

broken link - error 404

Broken page message example "404 error"

Fixing broken links improves the website’s usability and makes the content available for users and search engines alike. Too many broken links suggest negligence and lower page ranking in search engine results.


REDIRECTS

Sometimes, in the case of older websites especially, there are links that redirect to another page. Based on the information from Google employees from 2016 such redirects do not reduce the power of links but using them in excess is not recommended.

"30x redirects don't lose PageRank anymore" - Gary Illyes, 26 July 2016

Internal linking management is usually simple. Removing internal redirects will help rank better in Bing, DuckDuckGo and probably Google.


TYPES OF REDIRECTS

There are many types of redirects, which will successfully redirect the user to another page. However, most of them are not a very good solution for search engines. We recommend using 301 permanent redirect. Others types may results in the loss of link power.


REDIRECT TO WWW. VERSION

Do you know that for search engines:

http://example.com - no www. version

http://www.example.com - www. version

https://example.com - no www. version with encryption

those are three different websites? Let’s start with choosing one version and asking the question: with or without www. Typing info:domainname into the search engine is the best solution.

If the result is a www (notice: https://www.bizdb.co.uk), we strongly recommend using that version. Using a generator like e.g https://www.htaccessredirect.net/[6] may facilitate creating redirects. Here is an example of a redirect to www.:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com [nc]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

Redirecting to a proper version (with www. or without www.) will make it easier to navigate the website and will reduce the probability of duplicate content related issues.


Pulno checks for www. redirects.


Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink
  2. https://techterms.com/definition/link
  3. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL_redirection
  5. https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2298312/matt-cutts-you-dont-have-to-nofollow-internal-links
  6. https://www.htaccessredirect.net/



Jacek Wieczorek is the co-founder of Pulno. Since 2006, he has been optimizing and managing websites that generate traffic counted in hundreds of thousands of daily visits. 


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