SEO is an evolving practice and each year the parameters on how to rank highly on Google become more refined. For those familiar with SEO, there are a number of essential components that have remained consistent over the last decade. Hyperlinks are one of these key components, a practice that has remained paramount to producing a successful SEO strategy. The bigger question is, why are hyperlinks important for SEO?

What Are Hyperlinks?

Hyperlinks refer to connections created between a word, phrase, image and a website destination. They appear within website content such as blog posts and images. Hyperlinks can be spotted easily within a body of text as they are usually an alternative colour and underlined.

There are three main types of hyperlinks:

  1. Internal Links– this refers to links within a domain name or website.
  2. Inbound Links– these are links that bring traffic to websites from an external domain or website.
  3. Outbound Links– these are links that lead traffic to a different domain named webpage.

Why are Hyperlinks Important for SEO?

When Google first began measuring the optimisation of websites, it started with counting the number of links a webpage had. The basic concept was; the more links a webpage had, the more likely the webpage had good content. Whilst the overarching concept may appear simple at face value, the practice requires a lot of fine tuning as not all links created have the same value to the overall SEO strategy.

There are three main factors to consider when choosing links to add to a webpage:

  1. Relevance – When getting links to a website, it is essential that the link relates to the content as well as the context of the site. Links from relevant sources help search engines figure out what your website is about. For example, websites looking to rank for marketing content would want to be receiving links and linking to other websites creating marketing material (for example latest industry news and big names within the industry).
  2. Authority – Further to linking to relevant websites, it is also important to link to websites that are trusted and also have a high domain authority. For example, websites that represented trusted organisations. These include government websites, universities, broadcasting websites and more. Another way of looking at this point would be to consider the amount of quality links a website has before linking to it. Linking to sites that already have quality links will provide a better ranking outcome overall.
  3. Diversity – Search engines want to see a wide range of different links across a web page. This is also known as creating a ‘link profile’. These links could come from bloggers, website directories, review sites and more. It also refers to the type of links. It is better to have a balance of the three main links (mentioned above) than to have an oversaturation of one type of link.

It is important to note that link building is not a single process. Once an initial link profile has been built for a website, it is imperative to maintain this profile with regular additions of new relevant, trusted and diverse links. Websites that consistently add new links to their portfolio will continue to rank for their targeted subjects. However, websites that do not regularly add and remove links as necessary will drop in rankings.

The practice of SEO has evolved since it first emerged over a decade ago. Whilst hyperlinks were once one the core pinnacles for high ranking web pages, Google has updated and added more key components to the roster of optimization. It now includes the quality of site content and keywords, E-A-T and the visual format of web pages to name a few. Keeping up with the latest SEO specifications defined by Google each year will give websites the best chance of staying relevant and ranking high.

Do you have any questions on why hyperlinks are important for SEO? Let us know in the comments below.

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