A Guide On URLs and Writing Good Link Text
URLs and links are an interval part of websites and the internet. URLs and links provide clarity, information, direction, and organization. This makes their structure and the words used in links or URLs incredibly important. Poor URL structure can lead to people getting confused when visiting your site; maybe they can’t find a way back to a page they visited or can’t understand how they got to the page they are looking at. Examples like shortened links are also a crucial informational tool; you want to make sure that the shortened link you create conveys the right information to the user and, in some cases, that it’s simple enough to remember for ease of use.
Link text, or anchor text, is also a key component of a web page for SEO purposes as well as to draw the users’ attention to important information.
In this guide, we’re going to touch on the best practices of URL structure and writing good link text, or anchor text, when linking within a page on your website.
Writing Link Text
The text that is linked on a page, also known as anchor text, is an important part of evaluating that page’s SEO. There are 3 main components of anchor text that are being appraised to determine the SEO of two pages. These components are:
- The keywords used in the anchor text: The text that is hyperlinked can greatly benefit the SEO of the page it’s linking to if the text uses keywords the destination page is targeting.
- The page the hyperlink is on: The SEO of the page where the link text resides is affected by the hyperlink but the largest SEO impact is on the page the hyperlink is pointed to. And that impact is greater if the page with the hyperlink is an important page (like a homepage or a mid-level page) and/or if that page receives a lot of traffic or links directed back to it from high-quality websites.
- The page the hyperlink is linking to: A link’s purpose is to link to direct a user to another webpage so the SEO of the page URL used in a hyperlink is significantly influenced by linked anchor text.
Another benefit of linked text is that it’s a great way to draw peoples’ attention on a page. Studies have shown that linked anchor text (that is recognizably different than the standard copy) draws the eye of people visiting the page. So if there are any key ideas or points that you want users to hone in on, linked text is a great way to highlight those ideas.
I’m sure everyone has seen a URL with the website’s name, followed by “/index” and then a bunch of numbers and letters. Something like this example from Moz:
Now when you look at that URL, it’s pretty clear that nothing is clear about the page this URL belongs to beside the fact that it is found on example.com. The reason why URLs like this, also known as dynamic URLs, are a detriment to a webpage is that it’s difficult for users and Google to quickly understand what the page is about. We don’t say things like “sort=price” or “product=1234” when speaking to each other and since Google is learning to think more as humans do, it is in your best interest to make webpage URLs easy for humans to understand.
URLs should follow an organizational structure that shows the path of how a user got to the page they are on. Moz also does a great job of breaking this structure out visually:
With this URL structure, you’re providing your users with the breadcrumbs they need to understand the path they took on the site to get to their current page. This structure is tied to how your site’s navigation is laid out. Having organized mid-level pages with topics and sub-topics helps better structure a page’s URL more easily.
We hope that this guide was able to provide you with some clarity when you are structuring your site’s page URLs and when you are crafting link text. If you have any tips you use for URL structure or writing link text please feel free to share in the comments section!