Hands up who’s used the words “click here” for a link? We all may have all done so in the past however 2023 is the year we’re going to leave that habit behind.
Impact on accessibility
Essentially using “click here” disguises the link and hides it from certain users.
The phrase “click here” is not descriptive and can create confusion for users who rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers. Screen readers rely on link text to provide context and meaning that allows users to navigate your website. Without descriptive link text users may have difficulty understanding the purpose or destination of the link.
Users with impaired vision use a screen reader to “scan” a web page. Similar to the way visual users skip visually through a page to gain context of the content and links, screen readers highlight and sound out links on a page.
If you close your eyes and imagine your webpage: you don’t know where the links are on the page so the only cues you have are…
Some alternative call-to-action phrases could be:
“Learn more about [insert topic]”
“Download [document name]”
“Get a quote”
“Sign up for our newsletter”
Other uninformative hyperlink phrases to avoid include “here” and “this”.
Impact on SEO
Google is a clever bot, however we need to help it understand our content and the best way to do that is to put users first. Clear easy to understand and follow content = happy Google.
Creating obscure text links can negatively impact search engine optimisation (SEO) as web crawlers can find it difficult to understand the relationship between the link text and the targeted page.
This is because search engines prioritise the context provided in three things when indexing pages:
- Title of the page
- Headings in the page
- Text of hyperlinks
When the link text is accurate and descriptive the web crawler knows the link is legitimate and it can index the page. However, if the link text is uninformative using “click here” the search engine will not make a strong connection between the link text and the targeted page, negatively impacting the page’s SEO.
This is similar to how sighted visual users navigate the web… searching for information based on context and keywords. Using “click here” as the text does not provide any useful information to search engines.
Links help users read your webpage
Users still do not read webpages they scan. A 13 year study found that…
People are not likely to read your content completely or linearly. They just want to pick out the information that is most pertinent to their current needs.How People Read Online: New and Old Findings
Using “click here” forces the user to read the text around the link to figure out the destination of the link. This might seem like a great idea but forcing the user to read or figure out more than they consider necessary will increase frustration.