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How to Use a Link Relationship (XFN) in WordPress

How to Use a Link Relationship (XFN) in WordPress

As the leading website platform, WordPress has shown us the power of human connections. Bloggers, creators, small businesses, and huge companies – they have all recognized the possibilities that WordPress provides. Even complete beginners know what WordPress is used for. Thanks to this CMS you can run any website type you could imagine. From online stores to personalized portfolio websites – the list is endless. Ease of use, powerful functionalities, and well-known credibility make it so popular among millions. As it’s completely organized around user’s needs, it’s not surprising it offers an endless set of options ready-made to boost the content. Not only does it give you complete freedom to organize your website as you please, but also it allows you to uplift every segment of your site. Let’s take links as an example. With a few clicks, anyone can create permalinks or slugs in WordPress. Also, adding nofollow links in WordPress is a piece of cake. As we all know hyperlinks are beneficial for SEO and make navigation simple. It takes one click only to visit different online places. Thus, the frequent use of links is more than welcomed on WordPress websites.

You’ve probably used some sort of links on your website already. But have you ever heard of link relationships (XFN)? In short, the link relationship (XFN) stands for XHTML Friends Network. Here, hyperlinks are used to represent real-world human relationships. To put it differently, XFN is a sort of distributed social networking except for one thing. There is no central server where the information is stored. On the contrary, the creator of the website puts XFN relationship information into hyperlinks. Thanks to this concept you can easily represent the relationships you share with the owners or authors of other websites. In other words, XFN allows people to see how you are related to the pages you link to. For instance, when you want to link to a website that belongs to your family member, you can predefine this using the XFN framework. Simply add a rel=”mother” attribute to the link.

The Basic Principle of Link Relationship (XFN)

As we already said, the link relationship (XFN) allows you to build more meaningful relationships between websites and people. It’s also very useful for boosting SEO. But how does this all work in practice? Let’s assume your mother Jenny runs a cooking blog. To support her, you want to link it to your website. Firstly, add a simple line of code to your site: <a href="http://jenny-blogs.com/">Jenny's blog</a>. Next, add a relationship to the hyperlink. This can be insightful and strengthen the credibility of the source you’re using. Do this by adding the hyperlink code rel=”mother”. The final result should look like this:<a href="http://Jenny-blogs.com/" rel="mother">Jenny's blog</a>. Now, let’s see what values and relationship descriptions you can use to closely describe the link you share. Below, you can find the most frequent XFN relationship values.


Not every friend is a close one. We are all aware of this. So, don’t miss out to specify this in your links as well. There are three values you can choose from – contact, acquaintance, and friend.

  • Contact is someone that you met and feel free to get in contact with. However, your relationship isn’t close.
  • Acquaintance on the other side is a person you have met a few times, but you don’t consider this person as a real friend.
  • Lastly, as its name suggests a friend is a friend.

Professional Relationship

Emphasizing business relationships is important especially if you run a small business website or technology website. So, include professional relationship values to your links. Here are the examples:

  • Coworker – someone you worked with in the same company.
  • Colleague – someone who works in the same field as you.


Family defines us in so many ways. Show respect for your family members and choose a specific relationship value depending on your needs. Here are the available options.

  • Child – Your adopted or biological child.
  • Parent – One of your parents. It does not matter if you were adopted.
  • Sibling – A person you share a parent with.
  • Spouse – Your significant other. Someone that you are married to.
  • Kin – Person that is considered part of the family.


Don’t be shy to express your feelings and honor your loved one. Depending on your relationship status, you can choose a link relationship (XFN) value that describes it the best. Here are the available options.

  • Muse – Poets, artists, and painters already know what the muse is. It’s someone that brings you inspiration.
  • Crush – The person you’re attracted to. It’s not necessary you have a real relationship with this person.
  • Date – Person that you are dating now.
  • Sweetheart – A person that holds a special place in your heart. As you share close feelings you’re both committed to each other.


This is another valuable link relationship value. When you want to define geographical specifics choose one of these two options.

  • Co-resident –A person you share the street address with.
  • Neighbor – Someone who lives close to you. It can be a person next door or someone who lives a few streets away.


People we know in person have more credibility than anonymous sources from the web. In case you want to mark someone you physically met, use the following value:

  • Met – You physically met with this person.


Finally, you can link to your website as well. Use the value “me” without any other values.

Practical Example

If you create tutorials that can be a good source of information as a part of your blog article, you can link to specific tutorials you want to include. Just add a simple line of code to your site:

<a href="https://tutsplus.com/">Interesting tutorials</a>

We can go one step further and specify that this link includes content that is inspiring to us. To do this, we will add a relationship link “muse” to describe our link’s character.

<a href="https://tutsplus.com/" rel="muse">Interesting tutorials</a>

If you want to use more than one relationship value, just use the space between two terms that are part of a new relationship link.

rel="muse friend"

In Conclusion

As you can see, link relationship (XFN) system can be beneficial for your site in many ways. When you define your link relationship values, your readers will better understand the credibility of the source you’re sharing. Thus, your content will be more meaningful, semantic and clear. So, if you want to upgrade your blog don’t forget to use this amazing functionality.

We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!


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