Why you shouldn’t use “click here”

When you want your users to click on a link it is tempting to use the words “Click Here” but in this article I explain why this isn’t a good idea for usability, accessibility or SEO.

Why “Click Here” is bad

A link’s primary purpose is to communicate to users what they will find when they click on it. Hyperlinks that use “Click here” are too vague and uninformative and this can cause the following issues on your website:

  • Poor usability
  • Poor accessibility
  • Poor SEO performance

Poor usability

User experience studies show that users only read about 20-28% of content on a web page  (Source: Nielsen Norman Group). People tend to scan the page, picking out keywords as shortcuts to the information they are seeking.

Hyperlinks signpost users to more information but if they use vague words as hyperlink text then the impact is lost. “Click Here” gives the user no clue about what information is just a click away. The user has to scan the surrounding text to understand the context.

Poor Accessibility

Users who use screen readers (such as visually impaired people) often use the [tab] key to skip through the webpage. When the screen reader reaches a link it will read out the hyperlink. If is says “Click here” link or “Learn more” link then the user has no idea where those links go which creates a barrier for those people trying to use your website.

Instead we should use more descriptive link text such as:
Learn more about how to style links by reading this article about The definitive guide to styling links on Smashing Magazine.

You can easily test this yourself in Chrome by installing Chromevox.

Poor SEO Performance

Search Engines are effectively blind and deaf and read your website in much the same way as a visually impaired user.

Search Engines such as Google use the strength of your links in their algorithm when they determine your ranking in search engine results. The value of a page and any page it links to is determined by the context provided in the title of the page, the headings and the hyperlink text. If you use uninformative link text, like “click here”, then the search engine will not make a connection between the link text and the targeted page. This will negatively impact your page’s SEO performance.

“Learn More” is just as bad

Learn more is often used but again it is too vague and doesn’t tell the user who is scanning your content or the visually impaired person (or search engine) using a screen reader what they will learn more about if they follow the link.

Conclusion

When it comes to link text always think of your users first and make link text meaningful.

Think about the majority of us who scan content looking for keywords as a shortcut to the information we are interested in, think about people with visual impairments who rely on screen readers to help them navigate content and think about search engines.

When creating hyperlinks don’t use vague phases like the following:

  • here
  • read more
  • learn more
  • click here
  • link to [complete URL]

Instead, it is recommended that hyperlinks meet these criteria:

  • Contain concrete nouns
  • Are description and meaningful
  • Include keywords
  • Provide information to the user when read out of text, by screen readers for example
  • Don’t describe mouse mechanics (e.g. Click)

If you keep your users in mind first you will improve the overall user experience and you’ll benefit from better website performance.

Resources

About Angie Vale

Angie is Technical Director at Studio Brand Up and has been designing and building websites with WordPress for over 10 years.

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