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What are a href Links? HTML Links Explained

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Consumer expertise (UX) has turn into a vital Google rating sign, so it is extra vital than ever to make sure your web site is as much as par. Good navigation contributes to a consumer’s expertise, so it is best to remain on prime of the hyperlinks featured in your web site. 

Hyperlinks permit customers to “travel” from web page to web page. You will know these hyperlinks are lively when your mouse cursor adjustments from an arrow to a hand when hovering over the hyperlink. You’ll be able to connect HTML hyperlinks to varied web page components, together with textual content, pictures, and extra.

On this information, we’ll discover how hyperlinks (referred to as “HTML links” or “a href links”) work, why it is vital to remain on prime of your hyperlinks, and the way to discover and repair unhealthy hyperlinks with the Web site Audit instrument.

Customers search the web with function; they’re on the lookout for solutions, merchandise, steering, and extra. Due to your web optimization efforts, Google has put you of their sights. 

As soon as you’ve got captured a customer, it’s worthwhile to information them via your web site with ease so their consumer expertise is nice. Your HTML hyperlinks are vitat to guiding your consumer from one web page in your web site to a different.

Good HTML hyperlinks improve a consumer’s session time and may result in extra pages visited per session – two metrics that are vital to net analytics. 

What does an <a> HTML tag appear like?

The anchor tag (or the “a href” or “link” tag) contains the opening tag, any tag attributes, the anchor textual content or object, and a closing tag. For instance:

<a href="url">Hyperlink textual content or object</a>.

The “href” is a vital attribute of the <a> aspect; it determines the hyperlink’s vacation spot. 

The href attribute hyperlink (quick for “Hypertext REFerence”) signifies the connection between pages to search engines like google and yahoo.

href is an attribute of the anchor tag and accommodates two parts:

  1. The URL (the precise hyperlink) and 
  2. The clickable textual content or object that customers will see on the web page (referred to as the “anchor text)

For example:

<a href="">Visit Semrush!</a>

When a user clicks on your HTML link, the link page will likely open in the same browser window or tab. Unless you specify with code how the link should be displayed, this is the default. 

However, if you’ve got a download or want the page to open in a different window or tab, you can use target attributes like “_blank.”

The most common target attribute values are:

  1. _self: the page/document opens in the same window 
    <a href=""target=_self">Visit Semrush!</a> 
  2. _blank = opens the doc/web page in a new window
    <a href=""target=_blank">Visit Semrush!</a> 

Relative vs. Absolute URLs

Your URL structure can contribute to how Google is able to effectively crawl your website. You’ll likely use one of the two common URL structure types: relative and absolute.

Relative links use part of the URL, and are mainly reserved for internal linking where the link is on the same site and therefore part of the same root domain. They look something like this:

<a href="weblog/hrefland-attribute-101/">hreflang attribute 101</a>. 

 However, an absolute link uses the full website link, including the domain name of the site:

<a href="">Visit Semrush!</a>. 

When to use Relative URLs

You use relative URLs when you want to link to a page on your website. You’ll use the “slug” of your URL in the link. 

Some pros of using relative URLs include:

  • Quick transfer to a new domain (you won’t need to update each URL)
  • Faster page load times (a Google ranking factor

When to use Absolute URLs

If you’re sending your user to an external page (i.e. away from your website), you’ll use an absolute URL. 

Some benefits to using absolute URLs include:

  • The link points to the correct URL all the time (Google will always know where to go)
  • Google site crawlers can scan these URLs easier (important for indexing) 

You’ll find HTML links on a webpage when you hover your mouse over anchor text, images, buttons etc., and the pointer turns into a hand. 

By default, links appear as:

  • Underlined and blue (if you haven’t visited the link yet)
  • Underlined and purple (you’ve visited the link) 
  • Underlined and red (an active link)

Here’s an example of website copy with hyperlinks. The blue, highlighted words contain hyperlinks:

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Note that if the color of your website’s links is too similar to the site’s background color, you can change the color of your links to make them stand out. 

Businesses with brand colors will likely know the color’s hex code. Modify your <a> HTML tag (the anchor tag) with the hex code as follows: 

<a href="" model="shade:#SS000;">Here's the modified link!</a> 

If you don’t have a hex color code, there are around 140 named colors that you can choose from. Instead of the hex code, you’d add the color itself, like “blue” or “crimson:” 

<a href="" style="color:red;">Red Link</a> 

There are a few ways you can use hyperlinks to create an easy navigational experience on your website. Think of links as connections between one resource and another, whether web pages, documents, forms, etc. 

Let’s look at the most common types of hyperlinks you’ll find on a website:

  1. Image links: You can hyperlink an image to another resource. For example, you’d hyperlink an image of a product to its product page.

You’ll likely use a linking structure similar to this:

<a href="/default.html">
<img src="semrush.jpg" alt="semrush brand" style="width:100px;peak:100px;">
  1. Email and phone links: You’d use these links when you’d want the user to contact you directly. On mobile, these types of links point users to a direct action: calling your phone number or drafting an email to you.
    For an email address, you add mailto: inside your href attribute as follows:
<a href="mailto:whats [email protected]">Semrush email</a>

For a phone number, you add tel: inside your href attribute:

<a href="tel:+61 1800 934 242">+61 1800 934 242</a>
  1. Button links: Hyperlinked buttons are a popular web design feature, and are useful to add a call to action (CTA) to your site. CTAs tell your users what to do: contact us, download a brochure, read more, etc.
    One way to add a link to a button is to wrap a button element in a link: 
<a href=''><button>Linking to</button></a>

Hreflang Attributes

Hreflang attributes indicate the relationship between pages in different languages on your website to search engines. If your website targets a multinational audience, you’ll need to add hreflang attributes. 

Here are a few examples:

<hyperlink rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="" />
<hyperlink rel="alternate" hreflang="en-ca" href="" />

When the Google bots try to scan your website, they will likely stop move on if they find multiple broken links. As a result, it’ll be harder and take much longer to index your website, if Google chooses to at all. 

The Site Audit tool can help you to identify any errors with links on your website. It includes over 120 technical and on-page checks that spot common errors.

You’ll need to create a project for your domain before using the Site Audit tool. 

Step 1: Once your project has been created, launch the Site Audit tool from your project dashboard: 

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Use the panel to configure the instrument’s crawl scope and web site entry. 

Once the audit is complete, click on the issues tab:

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Filter via the problems for any hyperlink errors. Should you’re not sure what the errors imply, the instrument contains an evidence and ideas on the way to resolve the problem (“Why and the way to repair it”). 

Discover and repair damaged hyperlinks

with the Web site Audit instrument

Begin for Free →
Begin for Free →
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Ultimate Ideas 

Good hyperlinking makes it simpler to navigate and crawl your web site. Regardless of your linking construction, it is vital to identify and replace damaged hyperlinks as quickly as doable. 

Use the Web site Audit instrument to find any damaged or unhealthy hyperlinks and to remain on prime of any potential technical errors. 


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