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Do jump links help with SEO?

‘Jump links’ is another term for anchor links, or links that take you to a specific part of a web page. They’re typically used on long pages that have a ‘contents list’ at the top, perhaps linking to results, conclusions, etc. However, we often also see them used when a page spans a number of different topics; and although that makes the links even more helpful, I think that from an SEO viewpoint perhaps it might be better for the page to be broken down into separate, more focused pages.

When it makes sense to keep everything in one long page, if readers might have only come for one part of the page, jump links are very helpful to them. In the past, it’s thought that they’ve also been a signal to Google’s search algorithms about the topic of each section of a page, which is even better.

Now, however, Google is introducing something called ‘passage indexation’, which has got the SEO community quite worked up. Pages are still being indexed and ranked in their entirety, but Google says: “With our new technology, we’ll be able to better identify and understand key passages on a web page. This will help us surface content that might otherwise not be seen as relevant when considering a page only as a whole.”

Is a side effect of this to make redundant the role of jump links in giving SEO signals?

Probably. Google won’t need that sort of labelling to understand the topics in different parts of a page. However, jump links can still help readers, and certainly don’t do any harm, so why not use them?