How to Use Hyperlinks: Best Practices for Finding and Formatting Sources in Articles
March 09, 2021
Whether you're writing a deeply personal essay or a deeply researched guide to getting your master's degree in yodeling (no judgment)—knowing how to use hyperlinks in articles is critical.
No matter what you're writing—whether it's a deeply personal essay or a deeply researched guide to getting your master's in yodeling (you do you)—knowing how to use hyperlinks in articles is critical.
In this article, we'll cover:
- Different types of hyperlinks: why and when to use them
- Best practices for formatting hyperlinks
- How and where to find the most reliable external links
- A complete list of internal Noodle links
If you already know everything there is to know about hyperlinks (nice work) and think you landed here by accident, consider checking out other Noodle resources, like:
- How to Write Articles People Will Read
- How to Write Headlines That Do Not Fail
- How to Define Your Audience: Best Article Topics for Students
- A Complete List of Every College and University in the U.S.
- Step-by-Step Article Templates to Beat Writer's Block
Types of links: When and why to use them
External links take readers to other websites. When used to cite reliable sources (which, ideally, are the only kinds of sources you'll use), external links "confer topical authority" (although not universally; read on for more detail).
As a general rule: mainstream news sources (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education), college and university websites, and government websites are always good, while sites shilling a product or service are not.
Internal links promote more traffic to Noodle.com pages, which is a good thing because that increases readers' loyalty to Noodle as an information source. This is something we encourage.
School profiles, topic pages, and great articles are examples of internal links.
Best practices for formatting hyperlinks:
1. Choose your anchor text wisely.
Anchor text—the highlighted, clickable words that link to another page—is important. Whenever possible, your anchor text should describe the content. For example, in the sentence "Social workers' average salary is $52,000, according to Payscale" the anchor text should be "Social workers' average salary," not "$52,000" or "Payscale."
As a general rule, the shorter the better with anchor text.
2. Link to Noodle profiles, please.
In the first mention of a college or university, hyperlink to the school's Noodle profile page. After that, link to the school website.
3. Cite sources. Good, original sources.
Hyperlink any data you include in your article, any direct quotes, and any fact or opinion that is disputable or controversial enough to require substantiation.
Unless you're writing about someone's very unique takeaway on data, do not link to an article that is reporting about data. Instead, find the original source of data—the website that collected and first published the data. Why? Because we don't want to take anyone's word for what data means. People misinterpret data all of the time. So, let's not report on misinterpreted data.
Confused? Say you're writing an article about earning a master's degree in special education. In your research, you may stumble upon this article, about special education jobs, salaries, and masters programs. This article states that "the median annual income for special education teachers was $59,780" in 2018, which is helpful—but it's also just a starting point.
Instead of linking to this article and calling it a day, click through to the source of the data (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and check it out for yourself. If you decide to include that data in your article, link to the original source (BLS.gov).
Where to find the best external hyperlinks (AKA "research")
Unless you're writing an essay based on personal experience, you'll need research to back up your article.
Best sources for articles about education
When researching specific degrees or educational pathways, good sources include websites for:
- Colleges and universities, which—fair warning—are notoriously difficult to navigate. If you do end up using college and university websites as sources, we recommend linking broadly to things like "application requirements and deadlines can be found here", rather than citing specific dates, costs, etc. (because they're subject to change each semester).
- Accreditation organizations are helpful sources to understand which institutions are accredited and why that's important.
- Professional associations offer networking services with other professionals, which can be helpful for aspiring students to gather a more complete picture of what life will be like with a certain degree and/or career.
- Major media (e.g. US News and World Report, The Chronicle of Higher Education), so long as you're clear on what's news versus what's opinion—and can recognize anything too political that might not be 100% straight with the facts.
- White papers, but only if you keep in mind that many white papers are sponsored.
P.S. We do not recommend or write about for-profit universities and colleges, so do not recommend including them in your discussions of schools offering a particular degree or certification.
Best sources for articles about careers
When researching job and earning data, reliable sources include:
- _The Bureau of Labor Statistics_ is the most accurate and trustworthy source for information about job market outlooks (how many positions will be created, where, and when), median annual wages, and earnings by specialization, location, education level, and more.
- _Glassdoor_ is a great tool to compare salaries by location, years of experience, and industry. The site also publishes original reports and rankings, like the 50 Best Jobs in America, an annual list using original data pulled from the millions of company pages and employee reviews on Glassdoor.
- _Salary.com_ and _Payscale_ both have a number of tools that allow you to compare job descriptions, job openings, and average salaries of a variety of careers. Payscale, similar to Glassdoor, also publishes original reports on subjects like the state of the gender pay gap in 2019.
- _Indeed_ makes it easy to see how many jobs are currently open in specific cities, and also to filter those jobs by compensation, level of experience, and full-time versus part-time status. For example, at the time of this search, there were 159 openings for full-time writers in New York City that paid more than $80,000 per year.
- _LinkedIn_ is a starting point for researching specific companies, including employment information like the number of employees, current job openings, where employees studied, what employees studied, notable alumni, and more. If you're writing an article about how to get a job at Warby Parker, LinkedIn can help you better understand the degrees, skills, and experiences that Warby Parker favors when hiring.
- For information about benefits, values, and culture, the best sources are usually company career pages. Bumble's hiring process is explained in great detail on the careers section of their website.
When citing data about jobs, always remember to:
- Note when the data was pulled. For example, the most up-to-date data on BLS is usually 1-2 years old—so mention that in your article, with a quick preface like "according to the most recent BLS job market data, gathered in 2018" (otherwise, readers may wonder why you're citing old stuff).
- Be specific with your words. Earnings data is often reported as "median annual income", which is not the same as "average annual salary" (many workers are hourly, which is one reason why this matters). Be specific with your words. If you're citing a median annual income, don't call it an average annual salary; the terms are not interchangeable.
- Compare sources. While Payscale might report that the average annual income for yodeling instructors is $78,000, Indeed may indicate a totally different number. It's totally fine to include both numbers, as long as you acknowledge and clearly explain why there's such a range.
How to find internal links on Noodle
To source the best Noodle links for your articles, our landing pages allow you to browse articles by level, topic, degree type, and more. If you're writing about a broad topic, like college applications, consider linking to that landing page. If you're writing about something more specific, do your best to find an article that fits the bill.
Browse articles by education level:
Browse grad school articles by subject:
Browse grad school articles by topic:
- Grad school applications
- Career paths
- Grad school degree types
- Grad school financial aid
- Grad school programs
- Earning your master's degree online
Browse articles about college:
- College applications
- Campus life
- Career planning
- Choosing a school
- Financial aid
- Study abroad
Browse K-12 articles:
- Activities, programs and camps
- Choose a school
- College prep
- Expert tips
- Learning disabilities
- Reading and writing
- Soft skills
Browse articles about preschool:
Questions or feedback? Email firstname.lastname@example.org