Published: 2nd May 2017 | Words: 917 | Reading Time: 5 minutes


Linking externally on a webpage

If you are thinking about linking to pages / websites outside your website carefully consider how to treat these links. If there are ways to communicate to search engines what exactly these links are about or how they should be treated then add this information.

The nofollow link attribute

The nofollow attribute is the best way to exclude PageRank from passing outside your website. It is also great for optimising how search engines crawl a website. When to place a no nofollow attribute can be a tough question. The question to ask yourself is will your website ever get to the situation where it could have thousands of pages and thousands of external links. If you would be dealing with numbers of links this big you probably would have to add rel=”nofollow” attributes to a lot of these.

<a rel="nofollow" "">Some site</a>

You can take up the strategy of being very selective with what you don’t place rel=”nofollow” attributes on from the very start. It your site is going to be external link heavy be selective and link back to sites that are related, well created, and deserve a link back. With any links that are user generated within your website through blog posts or anything similar make sure all are placed as rel=”nofollow”. With anything user generated it can be hard or impossible to ensure it genuine and not spam. You could end up with links on your website to anything.

Know what you are linking back to

If you are unsure of the content across an entire site you are linking back to you may want to reconsider linking back to it altogether. A key part of your linking strategy should be to only link back to sites you know are reputable and sites that will stand the test of time and be around in years to come. Look up the current site information and check is it online for long period of time already. Over time you don’t want to have to go back through you site regularly and check for broken external links. If you can be fairly sure the content you are linking back to wont leave you with a broken link on your page further down the line you can save yourself time checking external links across your site. Ensuring there are no broken links to pages within your own site and external links to other sites is a key part of SEO.

The rel me link attribute

There is a handy attribute you can add to links pointing back to social media profiles. The rel=”me” attribute basically tells search engines these profiles are for the website, they are more or less an extension of it. It’s fair to say that today social media profiles are a necessity. Not every business should have presence on every social media platform, but ever website should have a presence on at least one social media platform if not two or three. Therefore you can look at social media as a necessary part of a website today. Adding the rel=”me” attribute links your website and your profiles, confirms a relationship between these two entities, and allows the sharing of additional information to improve how you display within certain situations across platforms. You could probably look at it similar to the way you can cross link Google products like AdSense, AdWords, and Analytics to associate accounts and share data. If you run a Schema check on your website you will find this attribute is part of the Schema spec.

<a rel="me" href="">Facebook</a>

The target link attribute

For most sites you are linking back to you may want to place a target attribute on the link to instruct browsers how to open the link. You may want it opened in a new window or browser tab if you don’t want users to completely navigate away from your site. But you may users to navigate straight to the site in the current browser tab if you want them to perform a specific action within another site.

<a href="" target="_blank">Some Site</a>

Multiple link attributes

You can place multiple rel attributes together and you could also have target attribute set on certain links like the example below.

<a rel="me nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Some Site</a>