I’ve been helping staff around the office with our new blog toy and something that’s cropped up is the way people use ‘click here’ links.

Example:

Whilst this won’t break your website, it is bad practice, and here’s why:

It doesn’t describe the link

Web surfers like to know what a link is going to do before they click on it. You can put <a>any text</a> between anchor tags – so use something meaningful that describes the content you’re linking to.

Surfers don’t read they scan

Surfers rarely read web pages from start to finish, instead they’ll scan a page looking for highlights. Link text stands out way more than plain text but ‘click here’ all by itself doesn’t say much about the link.

Accessibility

This is about making the web available to everyone, and blind surfers use screen readers that read web pages out-loud. This software scans pages by reading out just the titles and links – this is great for summarising web pages but ‘click here’ links will be read out in a long list and will appear completely out of context.

Search engines

Search engines are the webs biggest blind user so making your site accessible will also help with search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines have to prioritise web pages somehow; they mostly do this by looking at the text content on your webpage but they also look at the anchor text in links to your page.

Check out this example: as of this writing Google search for the term ‘click here’ brings up the Adobe Acrobat download page in position #1, even tho the page doesn’t contain the keyphrase ‘click here’.

So, what should I write?

Rewriting your link text is simple once you’re in the right frame of mind, and if we all do it it’ll make the web a much nicer place to be.

  • Use something meaningful that describes the content you’re linking to, or say something from your readers point of view ‘take me back to the homepage
  • Avoid using the word ‘click’ – surfers might not have a mouse, they could be using their phone
  • Keep it short-ish

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Comment

One Response

  • Philip

    Good tip Tom, I can see myself going through my blog and changing a load of links ;-)

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    June 1, 2007 at 4:46 pm