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HTML Anchor Links That Deliver Better Website Results

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Best practices for HTML anchor links impact how often website visitors click on them. More clicks lead to more page views, return visits and website revenue.

Anyone who uses the Internet is well aware of anchor links. In simple terms, they are made up of text and code that encourage visitors to click on them. But a bad anchor link is a waste of time if it doesn’t get clicks. Clicks matter because they send important signals in search engine optimization in several important ways:

  1. A click increases page views, which signals website appeal for visitors. Page views in turn create new opportunities for visitors to click on ads, make an ecommerce transaction or complete another task. These tasks bring value to the business owning the website.
  2. Clicks decrease bounce rate, an important metric about site usage. Bounce rate tracks visitors who view only one page and leave again.
  3. A click increases the important “time on site” metric. The longer visitors stay on a site, the more they signal the quality of that site.
  4. Clicks increase brand value and awareness. A visitor who ends up spending more time on the site has a better impression of it and is more likely to remember it and return.

Anchor Text HTML

Content management systems like WordPress make it easy for website publishers to add a link. In the CMS “visual mode”, they simply define the text, click on the “insert/edit link” icon and paste the path to the page.

Anyone who views an article in a “text mode” of the CMS will see anchor text HTML like the following:

<a href=”” title=”Online advertising”>anchor text</a>

The “anchor text” location is where publishers can improve website performance. The color, location and words in the text all influence user behavior. Although rarely used, a title like the one above is a popup that users will see when they hover over the link with their cursor.

Anchor Link Best Practices

Anchor links deliver more clicks if website publishers follow some simple practices for improving the click rate. The following suggestions are guidelines. Each article has unique features that lead to different practices with anchor links.

  1. Place no more than three of four links in an article. Too many become distracting and dilute the number of clicks that each one gets.
  2. Do not place them too close to the top of the article. A high position will encourage visitors to exit the page too soon and lose a valuable chance at building brand with them. Early exists also send a bad signal to search engines.
  3. Instead, place them starting around the middle of the article and more farther down. Give them some spacing to make them pop out.
  4. Link two or three words whenever possible. A link of one short word won’t stand out. A link of four or more words is visually unattractive.
  5. Use SEO-friendly keywords and phrases. But avoid using the exact same words repeatedly. Use synonyms whenever possible.

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