Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Linking Information

How to publish good links to — or anywhere else!

Good linking is surprisingly rare. They are the currency of the internet, but routinely broken in several common ways. And a good link isn’t just good for the linkee — it’s good for the linker.

The first rule of good linking is that links must be sincere and relevant to your own blog or website, and not a “trick” just to try to get or give search rank! Link because you truly want to recommend a webpage to your own readers. Link like you mean it. Other linking basics:

  1. link to the right addressobviously, right? but people get it wrong all the time!
  2. link with meaningful clickable text — not just “this” or “click here”!
  3. link to specific pages you like — not just the homepage!

What are short links for?

Short links are handy wherever you want a link to be more readable, like in an email, a Facebook comment, or a presentation slide.

The full canonical address for most pages is a bit of a mouthful. So many slashes! Dot this, dot that! “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” They are literally hard to say, which is a problem if I want to tell someone where to find that article during a conversation or podcast interview. It would be great if I could just say “Go to, slash, ‘epsom’!” And I can do that, because this short link redirects to the main URL:

There are 1-5 short links for most PainSci articles. For instance, these all also work:

More places where short links are handy:

Good links aren’t broken — use the right address

Most pages on have a “link” icon to the right of the title. Click it to reveal valid addresses for that page, either a full URL (https slash lash etc blah blah), or tidier and more readable short link

Links to should use www and https-with-an-S — the full, correct version of the domain. The wrongish way will actually work, but the exactly right way is better:

exactly right

Good links have meaningful clickable text

You can make the clickable text of a link whatever you want, of course, but it’s best to describe what you are linking, rather than “this” or “click here.” For example:

Paul Ingraham’s low back pain tutorial is great.

Where the key phrase “low back pain” is linked to:

Relevant anchor text is really potent, and is good for your own page as well as the one you’re linking to. When you use anchor text to describe what you’re linking to, Google uses that information to help decide what your page is about — and therefore what it should rank for.

And it’s a better, more specific “vote” for the page your linking to. And you’re not just voting for good information, but against so much shoddy information that competes with it.

Good links point to specific pages

Links to the home page or “root” domain are fine if you want to recommend the whole site to your readers, and of course that’s common. But, whenever it makes sense, you choose to link to specific pages about specific subjects. Here are some example pages with very clear subject matter (followed by the URL and complete HTML you can copy/paste).

For instance, recommend my books by linking to them — if you’re writing something about the topic, or a review of the book.

Here are five more good examples:

But there are many, many more. To find something else to read and link to, browse the updates page, about page, complete articles index, sitemap, or master list of self-help tips.