Anchor links can also be called jump links, or in-page links, and they simply are used to lead users to another part of the page. This means that when you click on an anchor link you do not go to another page, but rather stay on the same one but on a different part. This tends to be helpful for users especially when you use a set of links because they have a good overview of the page content, as you would with a table of contents.
Not only does using a good anchor link structure improve the user experience, but it also helps Search Engines gather more information about your content. In turn, this gives you a greater chance of improving your content’s performance on the search engine result pages because, as you know, improving user experience is a highly encouraged SEO strategy.
When to use anchor links?
In a time where there is so much information and everyone tends to live a fast-paced lifestyle you need to make your content direct and easily accessible. Most people do not have time to endlessly scroll through your content, even if it is really interesting. Or they might simply not have the patience to do so, and you lose them simply because you weren’t prepared for them. So, you need to make it easy for your users to find what they want quickly, and this is where anchor links come into play.
Anchor links allow your users to navigate your page in a way that is the most adequate for them. You are giving them the power to get to the point they want without the frustration of going through all the content or even giving up midway. Keep in mind that anchor links are helpful only on longer pages – for example, detailed pages about your services or products. Otherwise, if your content is not long there is no need to use anchor links as they can become confusing.
You can use them as a table of contents on the top of your page, allowing for a quick overview or even as back to top link when your page is very extensive. Or, you can use them in connecting one section to the next. For example, when presenting a range of goods or services, you can explain the general info of one product, then give your user the option to read more about it, or jump to the next. However, even though these are the most common ways to use anchor links you can adapt your strategy to fit your goals and specific user needs.
How to create an anchor link?
Creating an anchor link is quite easy, you just need to keep in mind two concepts. The first one is the anchor itself which is wrapped in a <a> tag in your page’s HTML. The second one is the actual part you want to link to. Let’s say you are on the top of your webpage and you want to link to the bottom, it would look something like this:
<a href=”#bottom “> words that will be hyperlinked at the top of your page</a>
More than knowing the technical aspects of how to create anchor links, you need to know how to make them easy to understand by matching the text on the link to the subheading it leads to on the page. Users should not have any doubts about whether they are on the correct part of the page or not. An anchor link structure should feel simple and natural.
At the end of the day, you need to be responsible and keep your users at the center of your thoughts when developing an anchor link structure. You need to evaluate if your content really is that long and if it really needs to be that way. Only then should you decide to use anchor links to help your users navigate the content.