What is a link

Last modified: 13.10.2020
Estimated reading time: 2 min

A link is a connection between a current website (URL) and a different website – if it’s a hypertext. In some cases it can refer to a website from which the link leads (anchor, bookmark). In other cases just a plain reference on the internet can be considered a link (it refers to something but not by a relevant HTML tag). A link on the internet is:

  • Navigation element – links users to other URLs
  • Signal for search engines – sends link juice and with that can influence a behavior in fulltext search engines. It influences both referencing as well as referenced website.
  • Part of licensing policy – if we use a part of a content of someone’s website, we sometimes have to cite the source
  • A subject of business – due to the last two mentioned topics you can do business with links – for the reason of user navigation to particular website as well as to sell link juice. Link juice flow business is banned by Google, however it is still used in practice.
  • Types of links

Links are divided into internal link that is referencing within one domain and external link that references to a different domain than the one, where the link is situated.

Hypertext links in HTML

Hypertext is written in Hypertext Markup Language – HTML. A link tag <a> is used. The most important attributes:

  • href – a target URL, where something is referenced
  • target – where a new link is opened (in the same window, or a different one)
  • rel – a definition, to see if it’s a dofollow or nofollow link
  • More attributes are available on how to make a website.

Links and SEO

In SEO, links play a major role. A process of gaining links is called link building. The goal of this process is to create a quality link portfolio that will bring stable traffic and build a web authority among search engines. In SEO, both internal and external links are essential.

Generally speaking, external links are more important for search engines, because they’re less likely to be influenced than internal links. Internal links, however, are also important for search engines and web users – internal linking allows for good website navigation and adds link juice.

In terms of SEO, links are divided into (do)follow and nofollow:

  • (do)follow link – a link that navigates web users and sends link juice to target website
  • nofollow link – a link that navigates web users but does not send link juice to target website. Nofollow is mainly used when a webmaster can’t guarantee a link quality and that is why it is largely used in discussions
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