New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques
Illustration by

Marking up links properly


From:

Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques

with Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Video: Marking up links properly

The whole internet is built around the concept of the hyperlink. Therefore, it's surprising to realize that the majority of hyperlinks, or links, on the web are not properly marked up. There are many reasons for this, most notably that even if a link is not properly marked up, it'll still work. But regardless of the reasons why, the poorly constructed link is not very functional. When you add a link to a web page you're doing it for one reason only: to get people to click on that link. And for them to click on the link, you need to make sure you give them enough information so they know where they're going.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 59s
  2. 8m 16s
    1. Accessibility and SEO: A primer
      4m 58s
    2. Understanding the benefits of accessibility and SEO
      3m 18s
  3. 11m 26s
    1. Experiencing an inaccessible web site
      6m 4s
    2. Experiencing an accessible web site
      5m 22s
  4. 16m 28s
    1. Evaluating screen readers for Windows and Mac
      5m 56s
    2. Installing browser development tools
      4m 8s
    3. Pretending to be a screen reader
      6m 24s
  5. 7m 40s
    1. Installing SEO tools
      2m 30s
    2. Understanding how search engines search a page
      2m 45s
    3. Comparing sites that are SEO-friendly with ones that are SEO-unfriendly
      2m 25s
  6. 44m 6s
    1. Defining a language for a page
      5m 4s
    2. Defining meta headers for a page
      6m 10s
    3. Creating better semantic markup with HTML5
      3m 13s
    4. Using and hiding section headings
      4m 56s
    5. Creating content hierarchies with heading tags
      5m 29s
    6. Emphasizing content in paragraphs
      5m 36s
    7. Making accessible block quotes
      3m 22s
    8. Using some new HTML5 tags
      4m 47s
    9. Using ordered and unordered lists
      5m 29s
  7. 22m 17s
    1. Marking up links properly
      6m 48s
    2. Marking up images
      7m 23s
    3. Creating a proper image header with CSS
      8m 6s
  8. 32m 43s
    1. Creating an accessible menu with an unordered list
      6m 16s
    2. Creating and hiding nav headings and skip navigation links
      6m 59s
    3. Giving navigation links proper focus with style
      4m 39s
    4. Creating an accessible drop-down menu
      10m 46s
    5. Scrapping drop-down menus for better options
      4m 3s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Next steps
      3m 44s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques
2h 29m Intermediate Dec 06, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course focuses on two elements of web development: accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO), demonstrating why they are important and how they work. Author Morten Rand-Hendriksen also shows how good coding practices and modern web standards can make a site accessible and more visible to search engines and social networks.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the benefits of accessibility and SEO
  • Evaluating screen readers for Windows and Mac
  • Installing browser development tools
  • Comparing sites that are SEO-friendly and SEO-unfriendly
  • Defining a language for a page
  • Creating better semantic markup with HTML5
  • Marking up images and links properly
  • Creating an accessible menu with an unordered list
Subjects:
Business Web Accessibility SEO
Author:
Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Marking up links properly

The whole internet is built around the concept of the hyperlink. Therefore, it's surprising to realize that the majority of hyperlinks, or links, on the web are not properly marked up. There are many reasons for this, most notably that even if a link is not properly marked up, it'll still work. But regardless of the reasons why, the poorly constructed link is not very functional. When you add a link to a web page you're doing it for one reason only: to get people to click on that link. And for them to click on the link, you need to make sure you give them enough information so they know where they're going.

This is where the title attribute comes in. The title attribute lets you add additional information to the link, so you can provide additional information about where they're going. The accessibility benefit of marking up your hyperlink properly is obvious. If you mark it up properly and add a title tag to it, then people will be able to hover there mouse over it and get more information about where that link is going. Or if they're using a text-to- speech browser, they'll be able to focus on that link with their Tab key, and then hear the information about where that link is pointing.

And this is where the premise of accessibility techniques and SEO going together comes together for real. The accessibility benefit equals the SEO benefit because, as I said earlier, a search engine is a blind reader; it can only read what you display. So when the search engine sees a link, it immediately looks for the title tag to explain where this link is pointing. The basic hyperlink markup is very simple. You start with an anchor tag or an wherever you're pointing.

This can be either an absolute link, like what you see here, it can be a root relative link that points to a file or a page inside your site, or it can be a link to a place on the page that's currently open. After you've added the hyperlink reference, you add the title tag. The title tag is a descriptive tag that explains where this link is pointing. In this case, since I'm pointing to lynda.com/morten, I have put in the title tag, lynda.com courses by Morten Rand-Hendriksen. This is more descriptive and tells the user where they're going.

Now when I say more descriptive, I'm talking about more descriptive than what the hyperlink wraps. In this case, the hyperlink wraps the simple word My courses, which doesn't say anything. If you left it just My courses and didn't add a title tag, then the only Google search that would result in this link would be a search for My courses. Whereas, if you search for Morten Rand- Hendriksen's courses, you wouldn't find it. Now that we know how to markup a hyperlink properly, let's do it in the page, so you can see some general principles around it.

If I open the example project in my browser, you'll see that we have a lot of hyperlink going on here. We have a hyperlink wrapping this header image, we have all our menu items and we have the sidebar menus, we also have one inside the text itself, and we have the images that are hyperlinks, as well as in the footer. So what I'm going to do is change some of these hyperlinks so that they're properly marked up, and then you can do the rest of them yourself, because it's a fairly simple principle. The basic idea here is to add a title attribute to each of the hyperlinks to explain further where you're going, because, for instance, the word Home itself doesn't actually tell you anything about where that link is going. And unless you add a title attribute, Home is just a link to Home and if you go on Google and search for Home, you get something like 39 billion answers. You want something more specific.

So I'll go in and edit my markup in the index.html file. If I scroll down, I'll find my first menu link here. You'll see it starts with the list attribute and then it says key, because I'm just pointing it back through the current page. If it was pointing somewhere else, I would add a proper link to it. Now I want to add a title attribute, so I'll make some space and I'll just type in title= and then Home page of Hansel & Petal Flower Company. I'll end that quote, save the page, reload it in my browser, and now when I hover over the Home button I get that pop-up that says Home page of Hansel & Petal Flower Company, which means this is now what's being indexed, and this is what the search engine sees.

More importantly, this is also what a text-to-speech reader would read out. It would read out link Home, Home page of Hansel & Patel Flower Company. When we look at images, it is a little bit different. You'll remember down here we have these three images and each of them is a link to a page on Wikipedia about this plant. When we look at these three images, when I hover my mouse over them, you'll see that each of them is a link, but right now I don't know where they're pointing. The reality is each of these images is actually pointing out of this website to Wikipedia and a page about that particular plant, but because I didn't provide that information, a user who clicks on it will probably be surprised to learn that they jump out of the website and go somewhere else.

So adding a title tag here becomes extremely important. So I'll go into mark up again and scroll down to where I have my images. Here they are in the gallery lists. I'll find my anchor tags, and then I'll add a title tag. And I'll say Bougainvillea, which is the plant, on Wikipedia.org. I can do the same for the two other plants. So I'll go and add a title tag here, title="Chrysanthemum on Wikipedia.org", and finally, this one, Golden Barrel Cactus on Wikipedia.org.

When I save this and I reload the page, you'll see that as we hover over each link, we get a message saying, that this is a link to the plants on Wikipedia.org. So now we provide enough information for the person visiting this site to know whether or not they want to click on this link and follow it, or whether they want to wait and do it later. Without the title tag, they would not know where this link is leading and would probably assume it's leading to just a larger version of the same picture. Adding a simple title tag to your links can make a huge difference, both in how your visitors understand your content, and also how search engines index your pages for future visitors.

There are currently no FAQs about Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.