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Hyperlinks are what makes the internet a web.  They are the fundamental building blocks that are the pathway to finding information within information.  They are quite simple, ingenious and yet sometimes misunderstood.  There are good links and bad links and sometimes its difficult to know which ones are the bad ones.  Identifying bad links will the subject for a later post.  Today we will look at how easy wordpress makes it to add links to your own post or pages.

The simple way to add links is to use the tools that WP provides in the text editor.  You would highlight the word with your mouse and then click the linking tool in the text editor

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This will open up a dialogue box that will give some options.

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Dialogue Box Options

1. URL: The is the destination the user will be taken when they click on the link

2. Title:  This is the hover tip when the user runs the mouse over the link.  Even though this field is optional, it’s a good idea to fill in this field.  It does 2 things.  Firstly it gives the user a better idea where they will land after clicking the link.  Do this for transparency.  Secondly, search engines like it because it adds meaning to the link.

3. Open link in new window/tab:  This is optional.  If you are linking to an external site, check this box.  This way the user will alway have your site page open.  When they finish looking at the linked page, they can then come back and continue browser your site.

4, Click the Add Link button

OR

You can link to another page in your blog/site.  Wordpress provides a list of content .  Choose a post or page.

Then click Add Link.  The dialogue box will close and you are done.

 A more granular look at links

Links are important.  If you were to learn any HTML at all… this would be it.  Whilst this might be outside the scope of the inexperienced, I include it because there are some important attributes here that will help with search engine optimisation.  If SEO is important to you… then this will be worth a look.

The basic anatomy of a link is below.  Using the above method creates a link which creates the HTML markup for you. This is how a browser reads the link created using the dialogue box example above.

<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" title="Wordpress Website" href="http://Wordpress.org">Wordpress Website Anchor text</a>

Lets break it down

The whole link in wrapped in <a></a> tags which tell the browser that it is an anchor (ie a link)

target=”_blank” will open the link in a new tab/page

title=”Wordpress website” is the hover tip for the link

href=”http://wordpress.org” is the hyperlink reference.  In other word the website the link travels to when clicked.

Anchor Text is the words with the blue underline that indicates a link.

But there is one attribute which I have added to the link manually that the wordpress dialogue does not include. I added the rel=”nofollow” attribute by typing it into the link.  (To do this, open the page/post in HTML view and locate the link).  This tells the search engine that the link is NOT related to your site and there is not need to follow it.  In other words skip over the link and DO NOT include it in the site metrics.

Think of a page like a bucket full of water.  If you were to punch lots of holes in the bucket the water would leak out very quickly.

A page full of links is similar.  The page value (some call this link juice)  is diluted because the value leaks out via all the links that the search engine is following and passes the value onto the destination site.  Its like passing on wealth to a stranger.  Therefore, to plug all the holes we add the nofollow attribute to the link.  This tells the search engine not to pass on any link value to the external destination site and keep it all for your site.  This will retain the value in your site and maintain your search engine rankings.

You don’t need to do this for links within your own site.  Only external links.

This is why site owners seek links.  They add value to their sites.

A text editor wordpress plugin called TinkMCE Advanced includes options for no follow attributes.  It’s a neat plugin that replaces the default wordpress text editor.  But even though its feature rich… I still don’t use it.  Too many plugins will slow a site down.  For the sake of adding a no follow attribute… I simply just type it in.

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