Absolute Linking Vs Relative Linking

An absolute link gives the absolute path to a webpage where as a relative link points to the current area of the page. This short definition might not be enough to tell you the difference between these two. There has always been two sided opinion about which one should be used the most. It is better if I start off describing each one individually and then compare the pros and cons.

What is Absolute Linking?
When the href value is a fully qualified URL, it is known as an absolute link. A fully qualified URL consists of the transfer protocol (http://), domain name (www.yourdomain.com) and filename (pagename.html). An absolute link looks like this: <a href= “http://www.avenuesnepal.com/#newsletter_subscribe“>

What is Relative linking?
When the destination href value is relative to the location of the current webpage or source anchor, it’s known as relative linking. Relative links can only link to a page from the same site. The address of the link is always relative to the position of the file. A relative link’s example: <a href=”links/webfiles.html”>

Absolute link Vs Relative link:
So which one is better? People have individual opinion about that but when everything is taken into consideration, absolute linking is a much preferred method. Here are the reasons why relative linking should be avoided. When you use relative link, search engines will index the non www version of your site which some search engines might take it as a different page from that of the one with www and you might lose the entire search engine ranking you’ve earned with so much effort. This will happen also if other sites link to you without www in the link. It is however much easier to code and program with relative links. It is equally easy to hack it. If you manage a large site with lot of folders and sub-folders, you might save a file in a wrong folder and all the links will be broken as the structure is not the same.

No matter how easy it is to program with relative links, it is always recommended to use absolute linking wherever possible. When you leave comments on posts or drop your address on directories, absolute linking will do a great job for better ranking of your site. Some major search engines index sites from popular directories like dmoz.org. Most of your backlinks will be linking to www.yourdomain.com, not domain.com. There’s a possibility that search engines might index your site with domain.com and you could lose your search engines rankings as I’ve already mentioned before.

There are cases where using absolute links has caused difficulty in programming but due to the major problems caused by relative linking with search engine rankings it is highly recommended to use absolute links. It is always better to get good rankings on search engines as they bring more traffic to your site, the primary reason why you developed a site at the first place. When we compare these two linking method, absolute linking is preferred by most SEO experts.

JULY 31, 2008 ISSUE #21