Something’s been bugging me since…oh about 1998. It’s the “Click Here” link. At first glance, these two words seem innocuous and even somewhat informative but I’m here to tell you that they’re not. There are several excellent reasons to ban them (when used together) from your website vocabulary.
Firstly, a significant number of people visiting your website never click on anything. On a mobile device, one doesn’t click, one taps. And people using screen readers have other mechanisms for following a link. Secondly, the word “here” has no context, since it refers only to the page that the visitor is on currently. You’re forcing them to examine the text surrounding the link for clues as to where it will lead them. When the page has multiple “click here” links, all going to different places, well that’s just confusing.
Finally, “click here” makes the rather insulting assumption that the visitor doesn’t know how web pages in general and links in particular work. In the early days of the web, it might have been true that people didn’t know that blue underlined text did something special. In 2021 however, it is clear to just about everyone that specially stylized text indicates a link to another page. Just make sure that your links look consistently different from regular text and all will be well.
So…what text should be links?
Links should tell the visitor what to expect when the link is followed. This might be a literal description of the target page (“Registration”) or something experiential (“Sign up for a free consultation”). In the post Writing Hyperlinks, the Nielsen/Norman Group suggests that good links are descriptive, unique, and start with keywords.
Link text and SEO
Link text (a.k.a. Anchor Text) is highly relevant to SEO, as described in this SEO Learning Center page from Moz:
I’ll leave you with this thought provoking idea, also from Nielsen/Norman Group: A Link is a Promise.