Internal and external page links

Abide by ‘best practices’ for linking within a website and to other internet resources. Use appropriate colors, underlining, Anchor text and code to receive the most value.

Links must be obvious
Make internal and external links apparent (blue, underlined) and stand out from the rest of the text on page. If links are bold, make them a different color than other bold text. Roll-over effects such as lighting up are very helpful. It’s wise to include internal links within page text in addition to those in the navigation menu. It facilitates visitors finding the specific details they seek.

Avoid underlining words that are not links
If links are underlined, don’t underline regular text. Visitors may become aggravated when they click on words that aren’t active links, since underlining is a conventional way to present them.

Text links instead of buttons

Text links instead of buttons

Include keywords in Anchor Text of links
Describe what you’re linking to, both internally and externally. You’ll get more credit by using search terms in the text of links. For example, let’s say you’re linking to a page about circus animals. “Click Here” doesn’t use terms people may search for, but “See circus animals” contains the exact phrase and will help give your circus animals page higher rank.

Text links are more valuable than buttons
Since buttons are basically images, even though they’re attractive, they don’t quite pull as much weight as standard text links, so if much of your navigation is based on clicking buttons or other images, at least include an additional set of text links (possibly at the bottom of the page). This keeps the tigers well fed and is also helpful to human visitors who find themselves at the bottom of long pages.

Add more internal links
Besides regular navigation links, include links within the text of pages to guide readers toward important (income-producing) areas.

• For long scrolling pages, links within text prevent people from having to go to top or bottom of page to move on.

• Contextual links make it easy for people to continue to the next step of the process as soon as they’re sufficiently excited. So you may want to include it in several places. Some people will want to read the whole page, but others will be happy to save time by continuing where they are being directed.

Ensure that all links function correctly
Remove dead or “broken” external links and test to be sure that all links function properly.  Bad links annoy visitors and penalize you in search engines.

Tell search engine spiders which links to ignore
This is a little technical, but important. All links on a page share the total value of “link juice” that search engines assign. If there’s one link, it gets full credit.  Three links would mean each gets one third of the credit and so on. More links mean less value per link. If there are certain pages on your site that don’t require high search engine position (such as privacy policy or contact forms or other administrative pages), you can tell the spiders to ignore those links, thereby keeping higher credit among the more important internal and external links. We use the “nofollow tag“:
<a ref=”privacy.html” rel=”nofollow”>Privacy Policy</a>

Treat external links the same way. If a third-party website may have helpful information to visitors, add it. But include the “nofollow” tag if their search engine rank is not as important as other external links, such as a second website you may have yourself!

Find out more about best linking practices and over 200 additional web design tips in my Boost Your Website’s Profitability eBook.