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How to Make Links Work for your Business Website

In computing terms, link is short for hyperlink.
It links from an anchor to a target.

Examples of links are:

Users can activate and follow links, usually by clicking on the anchor.
An activated link will then display the target.

So links are basically a reference from a source document (i.e. the page containing the anchor of the link) to a target document or a specific target element within a document.

What does this mean to me?

Links play a vital part of your Internet Website design.
A Great Internet Design should include the following 2 important uses of hyperlinks:

1) Navigation of Your Business Website

In my opinion the most important part of website design is the navigation system.
This is comprised of links that allow visitors to navigate between your pages.

The path to go from his current position (the anchor of all available links) to his next position (the source of the various links) must be intuitive, simply and easily visible from whereever he is within your Internet site.

Provide too many links and the visitor will not know which to click.
Provide too few links and the visitor must click and click again to find the information he is searching for.

In addition, a link back to the home page is a must to ensure the visitor does not get lost – that way he can navigate back to the first page and so orientate himself.

2) Search Engine Optimisation

Most people know a link from an external website to your Business Website is considered a vote for you by Search Engines.
This has been described in 10 Tips for Search Engine Optimisation.
One part of your Search Engine Optimisation strategy should be the collecting of links from other sites.
If it is not, I suggest you make it!

However, Search Engine Spiders will also follow ALL links within your Business Internet site.
It is not just the external inbound links that are important - all links are useful for Search Engine Optimisation.

Types of links

Now we know why when we create a great Business Website links are important, let’s look at the different types of links and how they relate to the Navigation of Your Business Website and the Search Engine Optimisation of your Internet Site.

There are 3 main types of links

1) Inbound Links (or Back links)

These are the incoming links to your website from an external website.
The number of Inbound Links can be used as one indication of the popularity of your website (e.g. Google uses it to determine the PageRank of a webpage).
Inbound Links are also useful in gauging the human interest in your website and the importance of the contents within your Business Internet site.
If someone links to a target on your website, they consider your content of significant interest and show they like what they see.

2) Links to Internal Pages on your Business Website (or Cross Links)

These are links to different pages or sections within your own Business Internet site.
The easiest example is the navigation menu – it is a good idea to include these links on every page. This ensures you are consistent on every page of your Business Website, and helps keep the visitor feeling at home. If he is confident and comfortable, he is less likely to leave you Internet site for a competitor.

During the Design of your Business Internet website, you should consider other Cross Links. These include

Text links within a paragraph of text
These encourage and allow visitors to get more information about a subject. Make sure all of these text links stand out from surrounding content. Although Cross Links are useful for Search Engine Optimisation, there is still the Most Important Search Optimisation tip to consider. However, do not forget to include lots of text Cross Links during the Design of your Business Website

Alternate Text Links
These are the text links you see at the bottom of every page. They are vital for navigation system using images or flash. They also offer visitors the chance to navigate throughout your Internet Site from the bottom of the page without having to scroll back to the top

Links in a Site Map
This is a specific page within your Business Website. It contains a text link and sometimes description of every page within your Inter site. It is used by visitors and Search Engine Spiders to find pages on the site.  A text-based site map is a fantastic way for visitors to find what they are looking for.

All Cross links are useful to ensure the visitor can see what options are available to him and for Search Engine Spiders who follow all links on your Business Website to index your Internet SIte. 

3) Outbound Links (or External links)

These are links to an external website and so the visitor is no longer within your Business Website.
Contrary to many beliefs, this is not all bad.
However, ensure all your external links are pointing to high quality Professional Websites.

Instead of thinking you are encouraging your visitors to leave your Internet site, see these links as giving your visitors access to additional content that you do not possess.
Quality external content will give additional information about your organisation and will show the visitor that what you say on your own Business Website is echoed by external Internet sites. This will help gain their trust and will help turn the visitors into customers.

Part of your on-going Business Website Strategy could be to include the content on your own Business Internet site, but it is sometimes good to leave your peers the chance to endorse your organisation on their website.

Concluding thoughts on using links within your Business Internet Site

All 3 types of links are important to your Business Internet Website.

Inbound links are still one of the most important elements to your Search Engine Optimisation Strategy. They should not be overlooked and link sharing with strategic partners who offer services or business that complete you own and do not compete with yours are a great way of increasing traffic to you website. AB Publish offers great quality sites that you maintain and publish yourself, however we are strategic partners with a fantastic website creation company that offers bespoke website design. We are happy to offer them an inbound link.

The goal of cross links is to provide the visitor with a sense of what you offer on your Business Website. They are like road signs on the motorway, indicating the best direction to follow for each destination and all available options. They are also useful for Search Engine Spiders who value pages if they contain a large number of cross links.

External links are not usually the first choice of any Website Design, but they serve a vital role. The goal is to increase the amount of information available to visitors and to provide them with additional information that you do not posses within your own Business Website.

But the most important piece of advice for the Design of your Business Website is “Avoid Broken Links like the plague!” Any visitor who clicks on a link is actively searching for further information. If the link is broken and the dreaded “Page Not Found” error is displayed, the visitor will quickly leave your Business Website and go to a competitor. There are online internet sites providing free link checking tools – use them (or ask us at AB Publish to help you use them).

Additional information can be found in When you create a Business Website make links work where the etiquette and standards are explained to ensure your Business Website is seen as a Great Business Website

Wed 16 March 2011 10:25:32

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