What is a link and why they are important for the Web

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We often talk about it, especially when we refer to off-page optimization strategies, but so far we have never focused on basic definitions: Today instead we take a step back towards the basics of SEO and computer science explaining what a link is and why links are a central element for the Web Network.

Link, what is it: meaning and definition

Let’s start right away with the definition of link in computer science: a cross-reference contained within a hypertext, usually defined through HTML code, which through a click enables a transition from one resource to another, such as between two documents or Web pages.

The meaning of link is thus contained in the word itself, which in English means connection, link, connection, nexus: in fact, hyperlink is precisely a hypertext link that helps the user move from a point A (representing the resource on which the user is at that moment, the page on which the link resides) to a point B (the arrival or destination page of the link).

In the course of our daily routine as users of the Net we encounter and use links practically all the time, to delve into a topic in another content (internal or external to the site we are consulting), to change sections of the site by clicking on menus, to download a file, or to activate particular functions: in practice, therefore, we could not navigate without links and we could not discover web pages without links.

The origins of the Web

It is already clear from this that the links are closely related to the operation of the  World Wide Web: as we told on the occasion of its thirtieth anniversary, the operation of what would become the main Internet service was described for the first time by Tim Berners-Lee, who spoke of a wide area of hypermedial information that offers universal access to documents.

Sharing information and documents

According to various sources, this idea was born at CERN in Geneva and thanks to a pinch of Italy: the English researcher noticed some Italian colleagues who transmitted information via telephone line from one floor to the other of the prestigious Swiss laboratory displaying video information. From this point of view, Berners-Lee and his colleague Robert Cailliau devised a software to share scientific documentation in electronic format regardless of the computer platform used, to improve communication and collaboration between the institu