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SEO Basics: Jump Links

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If you’ve done a Google search recently, you’ve probably noticed that the results have become even more user-friendly. Instead of sending you to a page and leaving you to find the content you’re looking for in an article or blog post, Google will now navigate to a highlighted section of content that directly relates to your question, saving you from having to sift through an introduction and irrelevant body sections.

While this is great for users, its benefits may seem murkier for content creators. However, that just means we need to adapt, which is to be expected in the SEO world.

One of the ways that writers and publishing platforms are updating their content to reflect Google’s new rich snippet results is by adding jump links to long-form SEO content. But, what are they and how are they helpful? Let’s explore.

Jump to:

What is a jump link?

A jump link (or anchor link) is a form of internal link that takes you to a section within a piece of content. Jump links don’t take you off-page. Instead, they help users to navigate to specific sections of body content on the same page, which are usually defined by headings, such as H2s.

For example, I’ve included a table of contents beneath the intro of this post, which includes jump links to each section within my post. In turn, each section I’ve created a jump link for is defined by an H2.

Jump links are set within the HTML of a page and limit navigation to a single URL.

How do I make a jump link?

How you make a jump link or anchor link depends on the publishing platform you are using. Regardless of whether you’re using HTML, a plugin, or something in between, the concept is the same.

You create an anchor for a heading within your post using a single word that relates to that section. For example, the anchor I used for this section is simply “how”. While the anchor text you choose will show in your page’s URL, it shows up after a hash mark (#), meaning it has no keyword value.

For example:

URL with jump link example

Once you have an anchor, you can link to that specific section of your post within a table of contents. You do this by directing the link to the anchor you created instead of to a traditional internal or external link.

Where do I put jump links?

Most often, jump links are featured in a table of contents. Each link within the table of contents jumps to a related H2 within the body of the content. You can also use jump links for H3s or other sections of content if you need to.

Should I add jump links to old content?

Jump links themselves aren’t new, but they have recently become more important for SEO. While you don’t have to go back and add a table of contents and jump links to every post you’ve ever published, it doesn’t hurt to add them when updating old content and when formatting new posts.

READ MORE: How often should I update SEO content?

Why are jump links important for SEO?

Jump links are important for SEO for a number of different reasons.

1) Google likes them

Which wasn’t always the case. Previously, Google chose not to index jump links because they were “confusing”. However, as more users navigate search on mobile and user experience becomes more important for SEO, they’re being indexed again.

As mentioned, Google now uses anchor links to search up rich snippets, that not only display in search results, but that are still highlighted once a user navigates to a URL. Jump links help Google to identify where specific content is, which means if you’re using them, you have a better chance at showing up in search results.

2) Users like them

Google isn’t the only one who likes jump links. Users also appreciate how easy it is to use them to navigate through a piece of content. Especially on smaller screens, like smartphones and tablets. Jump links help users to find the content they’re looking for faster, saving them from having to skim through an entire article to find the answer to a simple question.

And, if you’re involved in the SEO world, you know that what’s good for users is good for your content.

3) They’re good for your metrics

Jump links help to ensure that users can get to the content they want faster and easier. This has the potential to decrease bounce rate, improve clickthrough, and increase your traffic by getting you featured in more rich snippets. Just make sure that your headings are optimized and well-written so that they appeal to both search engines and readers.

If your headings are hard to understand and you use them as jump links, you probably won’t get the results you’re hoping for.

4) They break up long articles

Traditionally, jump links were reserved for long pieces of content that had an endless scroll. And, even though they’re being used for shorter pieces of content now, they still serve a purpose when it comes to textual behemoths. Using jump links for extensive guides is still a best practice because it saves users time and improves mobile usability.

5) They’re trendy

SEO content is always evolving, as it should. Jump links are just one of many best practices that will help you to keep up with digital content trends that stem from algorithm updates and user experience upgrades. Since they’re being indexed again, it makes sense to include them in your content so that your site stays fresh and up-to-date, which appeals to both your readers and search engines alike.