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Hyperlink and keyword underlining for SEO purposes

 5:03 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does it make any difference whatsoever if a link to another site or an interior page of your own site is underlined? Will the link value be the same if a link is inserted but then the underline is manually removed afterwards?

Also, there are webmasters who expound on the virtue of bolding, italicizing and underlining keywords to optimize a page. While a hyperlink doesn't use an actual underline tag in the coding, does hyperlinking keywords on a particular page to an interior page of your site actually benefit the page you're optimizing (as opposed to just benefiting the page it links to)?



 5:33 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't personally think (although I may be wrong) that removing the underline using CSS will make any difference to page importance. Spiders will still recognise the A HREF tag regardless of the style attached to it I would have thought?

More and more sites these days seem to be doing away with the underline, but more as a design thing than anything else.

I would have thought the only downside to this is simply a usability thing. If you take the underline out a link within your site copy, how will people know it is a link without hovering over it by chance?

We have quite a lot of links without underlines. If using them in the body text we at least try and differentiate a little either by using a different colour or using bold (normally the first).

Hope this helps.


 5:38 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

We just had a recent topic about this one. Some interesting discussion here...

Links Should Be Underlined!


 10:55 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

On a small intranet site that I created (for IT professionals) I used a slight colour change for hyperlinks rather than an underline. Made the page look much nicer but none of them got it. Luckily it was my first attempt at css so I just had to change it back in once place.

For my two public sites I leave as much as possible to the visitor's defaults.


 7:03 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm looking at this case in particular more from an SEO standpoint than from what visitors will find useful. For example, I don't underline the text links I place into a site's footer, since I place them there mostly for spidering purposes and not clicks.

For some client sites, I'm more in favor of placing several paragraphs of content on their links pages and then inserting links to other sites within that content, so that the page doesn't look like just a collection of links to Google. But in many cases, I don't underline those outbound links, so I was wondering if that has any impact on the link value (which I now guess it doesn't, since what seems to count to the spiders is that the href tag is there).

In the thread that was linked to, webmasters talk about how you should never underline text if it isn't a link. I was under the impression that underlining target keywords on your homepage was good for SEO, just like italicizing and bolding. I agree that it may be odd for someone to click what appears to be a link and nothing happens, but wouldn't SEO benefits outway this temporary confusion?


 9:10 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've also heard the argument that italics or using bold gives more emphasis to certain keywords, but the notion is sort of put to bed by the alternative arguments that suggest you build your content with the user in mind i.e. you wouldn't pick up a news paper and expect underlines, bold and italics on random words throughout.

The impact the outgoing link has will be dependant on the keywords used in the link in relation to the content of the page it is linking to. For instance, linking "Widget 1" to a page about Widget 1 will have more impact than linking it to a page about Widget 2.

I agree that the thread linked to is more about usability and what users like / don't like, but it does sort of balance out the argument about what you should be developing content for - SE's or users. There is no point being top of the engines if users think your site is impossibly hard to read.

Again, I would suggest the words used in the link are more relevant to the link style.

Robert Charlton

 7:56 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

DXL - You don't mention what kind of site these are. Are these domains your clients want to keep for a while, or are they throwaway domains?

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