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A guide to effective linking

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What is a link?


A link, also know as an anchor, is a special bit of text that, when clicked on, moves a user from one page to another. This makes links a great tool to have, especially when thinking of ways to help visitors find their way through your wiki.

It is of utmost importance that you utilize links to assist visitors in navigating to related content but it is also equally important to not over use links. When creating a link you must first ask yourself if the link you are going to create will add any value to the article on which you plan to create it. For instance, adding a link from a page discussing tea to one discussing the ways in which tea is brewed would be invaluable to a user, especially if they are looking for the proper way to brew the tea they are interested.

However, adding a link from a page discussing tea to one discussing the methods of harvesting sugar cane for use in tea is not constructive. And, while you should try to link to as many other bits of relevant content as you can you should take care so as to not crowd the page with links.

How do we know when it is appropriate to link?


Before adding a link be sure to check that the page you are linking to has not already been linked to either above or below where you plan to insert your link. While it is not at all bad to have multiple links to the same place on one page you should question whether or not the link you are going to add is in a place where a reader would be likely to click it.

You should also try to avoid adding links to individual words and instead try to link phrases or several words together in a row. This will make the link more eye catching and easier to spot and click on in addition to reducing the number of redundant links.

For example, if you have the following sentences:

"... green tea has numerous proven health benefits..."

It may be better to replace it with something like so:

"... green tea has numerous proven health benefits..."

While this cuts down on the total number of links on your page it increases the number of meaningful links by combining two semi-related key phrases into one large key phrase which will be easier for your reader to spot.

How can we more effectively use linking on our wikis?


There are many ways to use links so that the greatest effect possible is achieved. And just like there are many great ways there are many great guides and bits of information out there.

For starters I recommend looking through the style guide on the English Wikipedia. They have put together a very thorough yet light guide when it comes to linking, especially in articles.

Aside from EN:WP I also advise taking a look at this article published by Moz as well as the rest of their SEO guide which covers many more aspects to SEO that will help search engines connect you to your visitors.

Conclusion


Linking, while simple in nature, can also be a beast when it comes to helping visitors navigate your content. Links help guide visitors through your site and they help search engines make sure your content reaches those who need it the most.

By brushing up on your linking skills you can dramatically help your wiki grow both in size and in popularity.

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