If you’re someone who has been exploring ways to optimize your website for better visibility and placement in the search engines, then you’ve problem heard the common mantra – “create great content, unique content, and long-form content”, in some form of context by now. And, depending on your site, your audience, your area of expertise, and your long-term strategies, there is truth in this, no matter what’s happening with Google’s new algorithmic updates and releases.
However, we don’t want to just create long content for the sake of creating content. We want it to mean something. This is where anchor text and jump links come in handy. In fact, there are some really good reasons you want to use jump links in your content.
This article will highlight 2 big reasons to use jump links in your content and how to create them!
- Common Questions Regarding the Format of Long-Form Content Articles
- What is a Jump Link?
- What is the First Benefit to Using Jump Links in Long-Form Articles in WordPress?
- What is the Difference Between a Hyperlink and a Jump Link?
- What Are Some Additional Benefits of Jump Links?
- What is the Best Way to Create a Jump Link or Anchor Link in WordPress?
- What are the Cons for Using Jump Links in Your Website?
- Does it answer their questions and concerns?
- Can they find the answers they need quickly?
- Does the content provide clear direction or supporting context and resources?
- Is there additional value in the content beyond their original question that can further solidify their confidence in your answer or advice?
- Are you going to lose their attention in a long-form article they have to wade through to find what they’re looking for?
In any good writing, you hope the context has flow – almost like a good conversation with the reader. In some cases, you need to get right to the point – more instructional in format. In either case, the use of paragraphs and title tags can help you break up the flow. But, in a really long article, the reader still has to either read its entirety to find the answer the seek, or at the very least, they have to scan through all of that context until they start to narrow down the segment they’re looking for. And, this is made to be even more tedious (and somewhat stressful), if the reader is consuming this content through their mobile device. Now they have to really scroll and scroll and scroll.
When it comes to creating long-form content in WordPress, one of your first benefits is a better user experience.
When you’re talking about articles that 1,700 – 2,000 – 4,000 or more in length, scrolling all of that content can be a pain and deter users from navigating or bookmarking your content. Creating anchor tags or jump links in your content enables readers to find what they need faster.
And, if your reader or website visitor came across your content through a search engine results page and now has to scroll through pages of context to find what they’re looking for, having a menu of content segments in a hyperlinked table of contents for the page can help your reader find what they’re looking for faster. It might even highlight other topics in that menu they might not have thought of; keeping them on your page just a bit longer. The more time they spend on your site, the better for your ranking over time.
There are some great additional benefits to using anchor links and menu links in your content as well!
One of the biggest added benefits is the ability to share that attribute appended hyperlink in social media, email newsletters, or even signature lines and QR codes! The options are numerous, but the results are the same – quick, direct access to specific segments of content within your content pages. Just think how many ways you can slice and dice an article to share it across social media and fill out your publication calendar – or – provide help resources to your clients, prospects, partners and teams when a question arises.
Furthermore, search engine results pages (SERPs) often seem to show preference toward these attributed anchor links, especially if they are anchored to segments of your content that answer different questions related to the topic. Of course, results will always vary from site to site, but we’ve seen several examples of the same site page being referenced in the SERPs multiple times because of different jump link tags and menus. This means the engines are essentially awarding you another line of text for your organic listing.
And, because you may have references specific to a portion of content on your page, this means the content referenced could better match the user’s query – answering a specific question they have, and ultimately increasing your CTR (click through rate) of that link structure, even if the page’s meta description or title didn’t convey this to them.
So, what exactly is a jump link?
A jump link is the same thing as an anchor link. They are hyperlinks with an added anchor tag / attribute at the end of the URL string that, when clicked on, will redirect the reader to a specific point or place on a page of content for that URL.
What’s the difference between a hyperlink and an anchor link or jump link?
Simply put, a hyperlink is a clickable element that redirects the reader or user to a predefined link or URL, whereas an anchor link is created using an anchor tag or attribute to further guide a user or reader to a specific location on a page URL. In essence, the reader is “jumped” to defined location of the context of a specific URL when they activate (or click on) on hyperlink. Your jump link needs to use an anchor and a hyperlink, but a hyperlink doesn’t not have to use an anchor or create a jump link.
- Here’s my URL: www.withthepowerof.com/the-2-big-reasons-to-use-jump-links-in-your-content-how-to-create-them
- Here’s the hyperlink to my article about using Jump Links
- Here’s the jump link to the section about Creating Jump Links in WordPress within this article – here’s what it looks like on the backside of that hyperlink: <a href=”#creating”></a> — OR if you were seeing from another page or website altogether, the html formatted link would appear as such: <a href=”www.withthepowerof.com/the-2-big-reasons-to-use-jump-links-in-your-content-how-to-create-them#creating”></a>
What’s the best way to create a Jump Link in WordPress?
There are a number of ways you can create a jump link in WordPress. For those who are not comfortable using the Text section of a WordPress page editor, there are a few plugin options available. But, where they may save you time in creating the anchor links, I believe they cause more frustration in broken functionality when the plugin becomes outdated or unsupported by newer versions of WordPress, the Framework or the Theme files you’re using.
Furthermore, adding additional plugins to your website can create a challenge in weighing down your site, causing it to run slower or download slower which can deter users and effect your site ranking. And, the more plugins you have the more at risk you become for potential hackers – especially if you’re not someone who is routinely running strong security on your site or frequently updating WordPress, framework, theme or plugin files.
If you do not have the time or the savvy to create the simple anchor links yourself through the Tex Editor, or you do not have a web manager to help you with this task, then here are a couple of plugin options to consider:
- The free TinyMCE Advanced plugin adds extra functionality to your post editor with quick shortcut buttons
- The Easy Table of Contents plugin automatically generates anchor links for your headers (h1, h2, h3 tag content), and allows you to insert a table of contents anywhere in your post using a simple shortcode.
Again, these are two options recommended by other colleagues who have researched and used the plugins, but plugins would not be my preferred recommendation.
The next way you could use to create anchor links is by using the “advanced” segments of some frameworks or WordPress’ own Gutenberg block editor to create an HTML Anchor and hyperlinked jump. Here’s what that example would look like:
- Step One: Highlight the title header within the content inside the Gutenberg block then click on “Advanced” section found in the Block editing options along the right-hand side of the page. You will find an option to add an HTML Anchor in this “Advanced” area of the block editor. Inside that HTML Anchor form field type the ‘tag’ or anchor attribute you’ll link to when you create your hyperlink. You’ll add the name here without the # symbol, but when you add the attribute to your hyperlink you’ll append it with the # (hashtag or pound) symbol.
- The next step is to highlight the text on the page where you want to create a hyperlink, then click on the link icon in your text editor and add that attribute or tag exactly how you named it under the HTML Anchor form field, but add the # before it, like this…
If you’re not using a block editor such as WordPress’ Gutenberg blocks, then there’s the tried and true hand coded option in your Text Editor. Creating name tags or id tag attributes in your hyperlink formats. This is my favorite method because I think it’s more stable plus I can see the correlation of the A-tag or Id-tag creation to the hyperlink created for it on the backside of my text editor. If I have to fix or adjust something later I only need to open the text editor and do a search for that text which will highlight every correlation for to quickly navigate to it.
Instead of me recreating the wheel to demonstrate this all to you, I’m going to refer you to this amazingly easy-to-watch video from Bjorn at WP Learning Lab! I personally like the a tag formation, but the id tag comes in handy when you’re affixing your tag to another element such as a title tag (h1, h2, h3, etc.) or media element.
Once you have your anchor links, (also called quick links and speed links) in place, the organization and distribution of your content becomes amazingly simplified for both you and your readers! And, the number of ways you can leverage them is plentiful as are the rewards.
But, are there any drawbacks?
Although the benefits far outweigh any potential drawbacks for most website and content managers, there are a few cons about those jump links any small business owner should be aware of.
- If we’re making it more convenient, more easy for a reader to find the content they’re looking for on our site more quickly, then they could read and jump more quickly as well. Meaning — our onsite time could potentially go down. However, unless there’s an immediate jump off after being referred to the page, Google and Bing won’t necessarily punish you for this. In fact, you’re much more likely to get penalized for creating stealth content or misleading content to get referral traffic to your site and then having users jump because it’s not what they were lead to believe it would be.
- Related to the same topic of jumping too quickly off a site, your jump links could potentially effect advertising goals and revenue. If visitors skip directly to a specific section of your page it could decrease impressions and clicks you were set up to try and capture at other points throughout the page. Websites who are relying on advertising to drive business and sales should consider investing the time and resources into A/B testing these types of links and their placement throughout your page content.
- Finally, for some, the immediate jump from the point to clicking on that hyperlink to the redirected area of your page is abrupt and can be confusing for some. There are additional things you can program into the CSS of your site to help with a smoother transition or scrolling feature to help over come this. There are also plugins that can give you that same scrolling feel. But, again, you’re talking about more plugins and/or programming which means more things to be concerned about when it comes to maintenance, setup, or even cost.
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