The Anatomy of a Pretty Link (And How to Optimize One Effectively)

There’s no doubt that using shortened, branded links on your website is beneficial. They can increase your brand’s credibility while also enabling you to expand your reach. However, many websites use links ineffectively, and this decreases the benefits they provide.

Fortunately, by understanding the anatomy of a link – specifically a pretty link – you can best optimize them. Through optimization, you can then increase credibility (by offering transparency to your site readers) and expand your reach (by incorporating your brand effectively).

In this post, we’ll break down the anatomy of a pretty link. This will include a look at why each part is important. We’ll then share three ways to optimize your links, including with the help of Pretty Links. Let’s get started!

The Anatomy of a Pretty Link

A pretty link on Twitter

A pretty link can be used anywhere, including your website and social media profiles.

There are three main parts of a pretty link: the website title (e.g., the slug (e.g. /read-this-post), and the anchor text (e.g. “Click here to learn more about linking”). By optimizing all three parts, you can ensure a high quality linking strategy.

Aside from beautifying a standard link, using pretty links on your website has numerous benefits. For example, they can:

  • Improve branding by directly incorporating your brand name.
  • Expand your reach by making your links shareable.
  • Increase click-throughs by making your links more trustworthy and descriptive.

The best thing about pretty links is that they can be used for both on-site and off-site links. You can shorten and brand any link you use, which will increase the benefits you experience.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Pretty Links to Improve Your Linking Efforts

It’s not enough to just create pretty links for your website. You also need to know how to optimize them correctly. Let’s look closely at three ways to do so.

1. Use Descriptive Slugs so Readers Know What to Expect

A descriptive slug on Neil Patel

With a concise and optimized slug, you can better attract your target audience.

As mentioned above, the ‘slug’ is the very last part of a URL. It can contain different types of information, such as post date or keyword, or just a random string of characters. However, it’s best to use descriptive slugs, as they tell readers what to expect before clicking the link. This can improve click-throughs, and also target your audience to decrease your bounce rate.

There’s no right or wrong way to create descriptive slugs. Though, there are some considerations to keep in mind as you do:

  • Keep slug length to a minimum. This improves readability, and ensures they fit well on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
  • Incorporate keywords. Not only will this offer a sufficient description, but it can also improve your rankings on SERPs.

While it can be hard to sum up your entire post in just a few words, this is essentially what the slug should do. To improve your results, it helps to focus on the content’s main keywords.

2. Utilize Keyword-Rich Anchor Text to Improve Organic Search Traffic

Anchor text on MakingSenseofCents

Properly optimized anchor text can entice your readers to click.

Anchor text is the hyperlinked text that ‘anchors’ your links to your content. When used correctly, it seamlessly incorporates links into your content without disturbing the flow. Using keyword-rich anchor text is also beneficial because it can increase organic traffic to your website by increasing your search engine ranking.

Fortunately, creating keyword-rich anchor text becomes easier with practice. However, here are a few things to remember as you get started:

  • Perform keyword research. Using keywords that target your audience is the best way to naturally drive organic traffic. This means you’ll need to understand what your audience is searching for.
  • Keep your anchor text to a minimum. Similar to slugs, keeping your anchor text concise is great for readability.

It is possible to over-optimize anchor text by relying on it too heavily, but this doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Instead, practice moderation, and be aware of any algorithms (such as Google’s) that may take issue with overuse.

3. Practice Strategic and Purposeful Link Placement to Target Your Audience

A strategically-placed link on ProBlogger's homepage

A strategically-placed link, such as this one on ProBlogger, can attract the right attention.

While links can be placed just about anywhere on your website, it’s best to consider their most effective placements. This ensures your links are being seen and that they’re relevant and also easy to access.

Some link placements – such as those that occur naturally in your content – are universally effective. Others, including those in your email campaigns and social media posts, may be a bit more difficult. Here are a few ways to improve them:

  • Use conversion reports to understand user behaviors. By understanding how your visitors interact with your links, you can determine which placements are most effective.
  • Implement A/B testing to compare placements. This is best when directly comparing two (or three) placements, and it helps you to narrow your options.

Your overall goal is for your links to be seen and clicked. This is true whether they’re on your website, in your emails, on social media, or elsewhere.


Links are an important element of any website. However, not all links are created equal. By understanding how pretty links are structured and how you can optimize them, you can improve the benefits your website will experience.

In this post, we’ve discussed the anatomy of a pretty link. We’ve also shared three ways to optimize your pretty links to improve their effectiveness (including with the help of Pretty Links). To quickly recap, you should:

  1. Use descriptive slugs so readers know what to expect.
  2. Utilize keyword-rich anchor text to improve organic search traffic.
  3. Practice strategic and purposeful placement to target your audience.

Do you have any questions about the structure of a pretty link, or how you can optimize one effectively? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Categories: Pretty Links
About John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and staff writer.