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Never, EVER use “click here” for a web link!

It is pretty common to find links on web pages on the words “click here”, but you should never, EVER use “click here” for a web link.

Why not? That’s what you want your visitor to do isn’t it?

Poor link-text is bad for accessibility, usability & SEO

Our eyes are drawn to links because they stand out, so when visitors skim-read the text (and most visitors do) – they tend to zoom straight to the links themselves. But a link that says “click here,” requires context. It is necessary to read the paragraphs preceding the link to work out where that link might take you or whether it’s worth following. That’s irritating at the least, but if you use assistive technologies online because you are visually impaired or cannot use a keyboard, then the “click here” link is doubly frustrating.

Screen readers, for example, are applications that read the text of web pages aloud. The screen reader tells the user how many links are on the page and what they are and that allows the user to skim read the page in the same way as a sighted person will. But if all your links say “click here” that removes the ability to use the screen reader to skim-read the text. It forces the user to read the entire page.

“Click here” is also hopeless for your search engine optimisation. Google reads your page using search robots which read your pages more or less in the same way as a screen reader does, except it follows every link to index the content it finds. Part of the algorithm it uses to rank your pages is to compare the text used when linking to a page with the content of the text on the page itself.

Clearly “click here” does not give Google any information to establish the context of the page behind the link.

“Click here” is lazy and patronising!

Assuming that your web page is well designed and the visitor can tell where the links are, you don’t have to tell them to click them! Absolutely everyone knows that a link is clickable and will lead to further content.

Good links are descriptive, make use of keywords and should be unique

Links should make sense out of context (when visitors are skimming a page), they should clearly indicate what the content of the page to which they are linking is about, but they should also be brief.

Twitter’s FAQ page shows examples of good practice with links.

Skimming the page the sub-headings give clear context and the links are understandable on their own. If you want to know “What is Twitter” the two links “followers” and “how to use Twitter” make perfect sense.  Likewise, links on “Posting a Tweet”, “how to post a tweet” and “Retweet” are all succinct, descriptive links which help the visitor  quickly to find what they are looking for.

 

Further Reading:

W3C advice on “Click Here”

 

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