Absolute Links vs. Relative Links – SEO Value

When it comes to SEO, the smallest of changes to your website can make a huge difference. From including keywords in your meta description to making sure you have a responsive site, it doesn’t always take much to bump your brand up the ranks of search engines! But, it isn’t always as easy as it sounds, either.

Sure, SEO can be simple, but it can also be pretty confusing, especially with Google’s secrecy over their intricate algorithms. One little decision that’s been baffling businesses for years is the decision between absolute and relative links. To make sure you get it right and see if it affects your SEO, we’re here to shine light on the matter once and for all!

What Are Absolute Links?

When you put a link to a webpage, there are two types of code you can use; absolute and relative. The basic code looks the same:

<a href=”link.html“>Click Here</a>

The ‘link.html’ section of code would be the webpage address you’re linking to, and ‘Click Here’ would be the anchor text (the section of text that’s highlighted and clickable). 

If you’re using absolute links, the full address of the web page is displayed, including the domain, for example:

<a href=”http://www.domain.com/webpage.html“>Click Here</a>

What Are Relative Links?

So, what’s the difference between absolute and relative links? In the simplest terms, relative links don’t include the websites domain, instead only pointing to the web page. Take a look at this example:

<a href=”webpage.html“>Click Here</a>

That whole ‘http://www.domain.com/’ section has completely been removed. The ins and outs of relative links are a little more complicated than absolute links, and there are a few different variations of how to write them to ensure the browser finds the right file, but we won’t go into that right now. Instead, let’s get onto which link is better for you to use on your website. 

Which is Better for SEO?

In terms of SEO, it looks as though the debate of which type of link is better to use is over. The answer? Neither! Google’s very own John Mueller confirmed on Twitter that opting for either relative or absolute links has no effect on your website’s search ranking, so it really doesn’t matter which you choose if you’re looking to hit that number 1 spot.

However, there definitely are some things you should consider when choosing between the two. The main factor is that relative links can only be used if you’re linking to something within the same website – link out to a different domain and absolute links are the only way to go!

If you’re placing an internal link, however, you can choose between the two. Relative links are great if your domain is ever going to change because they prevent having to go through each link and change the domain written within them, whilst absolute links are generally easier to write and lead to fewer mistakes. 

So, really, in the debate between absolute and relative, it all comes down to personal choice and use. Not sure which one is best for you? Get in touch with our experts at Ram Digital and we’ll help you out!

Published by John

I have been working in the digital marketing industry since 2006 in that time have made many websites, optimized many sites for better search engine results. I have created and managed AdWords accounts of in excess of a million pounds a year.