Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SEO for Writers—Basic Hyperlink Tips

SEO or Search Engine Optimization and Hyperlink are important terms for writers to know, whether you’re a freelancer writing blogs or websites for customers; or a novelist trying to build a platform.
If you’re not familiar with SEO here’s a post I did on Search Engine Optimization a while back that should help you come up to speed.

Today I want to concentrate on hyperlinks and teach you how to use them effectively.

A Hyperlink is a clickable link found within a post. The paragraph above contains a hyperlink—Search Engine Optimization. If you position your cursor above any of those three words and left click you’ll be taken to another page on the website. Other common terms for a hyperlink are a Hotlink or just a Link.

Hyperlinks are a good thing to have within a post for a couple of reasons.
  • Including them will raise your search engine ranking.
  • It’s a way to utilize previous posts and get more traffic on your own blog.
  • They can give your readers more value by linking to valuable site that your readers may not have visited.
  • It’s a way to build credibility by linking to other sites you’ve written for.

BUT, there are some tricks to formatting hyperlinks correctly to give you the best results. 
  • Tie your hyperlink to valuable words. The words hyperlinked in your post are also searchable by search engines and you don’t want to waste them, so pick words that are specific to the topic you’re linking. For example, in the first paragraph, I could have made the word POST the link. It would have made sense, after all I was referring to a previous post. But how often do people do a Google search for the word post? Not very often. So I linked to a much more interesting set of words, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION.
  • Be sure the site you link to opens in a new window. This is important because your website stays open and it’s easy for your reader to check out the info you’re referencing and return to your post. Otherwise you might lose them. In most standard blogs and websites you have an option to decide this.
  • Always check your links. Let me say that again—ALWAYS CHECK YOUR LINKS! Very few things will irritate people more than to be curious about something and then be directed to a dead-end when they try to learn more. I don’t care how familiar I am with a link, I always test it before I publish a blog post.
  • Inform others. If you’re linking to someone else’s site or article it’s polite—and smart—to drop them a quick email and let them know. We all like to know that others have found our information valuable. Frequently the honoree will tell others about your article and this can also help you get the word out about your blog or topic.

Now it’s your turn. Post any questions or comments you have about hyperlinks in the comment section of this blog and let’s learn from each other.

Don’t forget to join the Conversation!


  1. Another light bulb turned on--thanks Edie. Knowing that a link ought to include a word people will look up on Google changes my thinking on what I need to include in a post. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Awesome, practical info. I didn't realize that hyperlinks turned up in searches...so your advice to link to valuable search terms makes total sense. Thanks, Edie!

  3. Oops, I didn't inform you or Beth I was linking. That didn't even cross my mind. Guess that's why it's good to follow someone more experienced. : ) I'm going back to tweak those and send a message to Beth. Thanks, Edie.

  4. Great advice, Edie! I have to remind myself about unique terms, and not just be lazy and type "click HERE"

    As always, thanks for the helpful info!!

  5. Ellen, I'm glad this post helped clarify some of your thoughts about what a link should accomplish.
    Lindsay, the information about links and searches was new to me as well and I wanted to share it with all my friends.
    Kim, no worries! I forget at times, too. One thing I do to help is I have several Google alerts set up with my name and information so I get an email when something that mentions me comes up on the Internet.
    Susan, some days it's easier in the short-run to go with the no-brainer option. But I'm learning it rarely pays off in the long run.
    Blessings all - E

  6. Thanks for all the help you've been to me when it comes to blogs and websites! You've been a wealth of info for a non-techie like me!

  7. I'll say "ditto" to Vonda's comment. You've helped me in so many important ways. I need a refresher on Twitter Deck. I think that's what you called it. If I can dig up my material from the retreat, I probably have it. However, it might be something others would like to see, as well. Keep up the good work, oh great Guru!

  8. Ditto, ditto! Perfect timing on the SEO as I've spent too much time on it lately! Thanks!

  9. Edie, Thanks as always for the advice with SEO. I didn't realize that it was advisable to let someone know I was "linking" to them; I'll start doing that! I'll also choose my link words more carefully and give in to the OCD tendency to CHECK the LINK every time!

  10. Edie - Love all of this, especially the tip about choosing "searchable" words for your hyperlink. I've never thought of that! Thanks! (I'm off to edit my next post...)

  11. Definitely going to try to learn to hyperlink in a new window. Great great info Edi!

  12. Edie,
    This is so funny considering our most recent email conversation! Your posts are always helpful. I'm slowly progressing out of my social-tech rebel stage but my challenges will always give you blogging ideas.
    How about a post on how to actually create a hyper-link within the text? :)

    1. Sally, to insert a link within a word doc, highlight the word or phrase you want to link then click on INSERT and choose HYPERLINK toward the bottom of the list. A popup window will lead you through the rest. Hope this helps! Blessings, E

  13. Thank goodness this Informative article is interesting and clear. Others I've read made me feel like I needed a degree to decipher them.