Hyperlinks, websites and users
On the whole hyperlinks help a user to navigate from page-a to page-b but if there are too many links on a page it can cause a lower attention span causing users to jump around. Hyperlinks, from a web accessibility viewpoint, take a blind user longer to view a webpage because screen readers will read aloud the actual text, as well as, metadata within those hyperlinks. So limiting the number of hyperlinks on a website is very important for everyone.
Simplified photo showing that hyperlinks are complex. From: FastCodesign
What to include in a hyperlink?
Having full hyperlink data is very important, and good practice, so everyone can benefit. All hyperlinks should make use of metadata (e.g. alt=”…”, title=”…”). Write call to actions rather that “click here”. Check that your hyperlinks are not broken, the most common reason for changing a hyperlink, and remember to be informative when writing links.
W3C have a good example of a good call to action hyperlink.
Hyperlinks, SEO and rel=”nofollow”
Hyperlinks are important for ranking because links count as votes, if you like, which allows a search engine to know whether or not a website is a good quality website. It is highly unlikely that website-a will link to website-b if they did not like the content. But it is possible that a poor website may have an excellent image. In this case you should consider using the rel=”nofollow” command just before the title=”…” tag. The rel=”nofollow” tells search engines not to go onto that link; thus this link will not be counted as a vote. So all links, strictly speaking, do not boost a website’s ranking.
There is lots of detailed information on hyperlinks online, for instance rel=”me”, if want to find out more after reading this post. Is there anything you would like clarification on? Do you have good examples of hyperlinks you would like to share? E-mail or tweet Gerald.
Posted by Gerald Murphy
- Gunter, S.K. and Valade, J. (2008) Master Visually. Canada: Wiley Publishing Inc.
- Mohamed, M. Rahman, R.A. Tin, L.C. Hashim, H. Maarof, H. Nasir, N.S.M. Zailani, S.N. Esivan, S.M.M. and Jumari, N.F. (2011) Reading behaviours of students in Kolej Datin Seri Endon (KDSE). International Journal of Educational Management. 26(4) pp. 381 — 390
- W3C. (no date) [Online] Don’t use “click here” as link text
There are so many websites offering advice and guidance on how to improve your website’s rankings. This post touches on the basic things you should consider to improve your rankings.
Images and other ‘hidden’ content
Search engines cannot see pictures. For this reason meta data is important so search engines can read the pictures on your site. Does each image on your site include targeted keywords within the image’s name? Do you use alt text to explain what an image is?
- Use a unique title and description
- It is surprising how many people avoid using the title tag. Sometimes, in fact very often, people put one word into the title tag, but it should be used in full. What is the subject of this page? How can I say what this page is in one or two short sentences? Use these questions to make full use of the title tag.
- Keep the title and description clear, concise and written with an interesting angle. Does the title and description grab a person’s attention? Would a person click through the search engine results page (SERP) and visit this page?
- Strictly speaking a title tag is not meta data, or data about data, but search engines do use it. If search engines use it, you should too.
- Use proper semantic code
- There are lots of websites offering tips on how to write good HTML (semantic code). As a tip, use proper tags. If it’s a paragraph, tag is as a paragraph. Equally so, if it’s a main heading, tag it as a heading 1 tag, a sub heading, tag it as a heading 2 tag….
- Think about the page layout. Does your site have an excellent structure? Is it clear? Do you help ‘scanners’ (i.e. include bullet points)? Does your HTML code follow best practices (i.e. do you only use one h1 tag? Followed by h2’s and h3-4s)?
- Think about the user of your website
- Would you say your site is user friendly? Do you put the user first, followed by seo second?
- Search engines are getting clever because they recognise what most of the content is on your site. They do not mine all of it, but they have a fair idea what a webpage is actually about (i.e. term frequency etc). If you have good content, and semantic code relating to this content, you are putting the user at the focus of the site. Search engines like user focused websites.
- If you are bored and want something to do, read your own website. Does the writing make sense? Is it easy, be honest, to navigate and read information? Do you ask a question as a heading, for example, and answer it in the body of the text? Is this answer clear? These sorts of questions allow you to start putting the user as the focus of your site.
I hope to expand on this post in the near future. I hope it was useful. Why have a great website if no one can find it?!
This post was updated on Sunday, 10th Feb 2013 (20:05) after an experienced visitor commented on my content (and points).