Why and How to Avoid Using ‘Click Here’ Links – 3 reasons, 2 rules

November 20, 2014 0 Comments

In today’s electronic communications world, we are long past the days when we have to use words like ‘Click here’ to ‘explain’ how to use the web, or where links are. But we still see pages that identify links with ‘Click here’ or some variant of it. It is simply unnecessary, and is even detrimental to the value of your page and how your audience uses it.

Also, it is not simply a trend to drop the ‘Click here’ from your links. There are very substantial reasons to do so – reasons that will benefit your pages and your users. The big three reasons to drop the ‘click here’ are: SEO, Usability and Accessibility.

  1. SEO: Using ‘Click here’ is detrimental to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and so violates SEO best practices. For instance if your link text says: ‘For more on dental complications, click here‘ the search engine may interpret the topic of the information to be accessed to be ‘Click here‘ instead of ‘dental complications.’ The result is that your page loses page ranking in the search engine.
  2. Usability: Using ‘Click here’ is detrimental to how your users actually use your page, and so violates USABILITY best practices. People scan web pages for the information they need, and their eyes tend to stop on emphasized text that is distinguished from its surroundings. This means that a reader can quickly become distracted and frustrated on a page containing a number of ‘Click here’ links, most of which are unrelated to the information they are seeking.
  3. Accessibility: Using ‘Click here’ inhibits the use of screen readers by the visually impaired, and so violates ACCESSIBILITY best practices. Millions of Americans are vision impaired and use screen reader programs to help them use the Internet. The best link text for them is that which meaningful in the context of the information it accesses. ‘For more information, click here‘ is link text that is not meaningful in the context of the information it accesses — unless, of course, the information to be accessed is about clicking for more information!

So how do we set a link instead. Well, a good slogan to remember is simple: Integrate Link Text and Context! ‘Click here’ has no connection to the context it accesses. But ‘The low down on passing tests’ does! That’s link text integrated with context.

So, to sum it all up, there are the two simple rules to remember:

  1. Avoid using ‘Click Here’ in links.
  2. Integrate Link Text with Context.

About the Author:

Art (that's me) has been webmaster for Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry since almost before there was a web! Some people take this as cool. Most folks simple read it as a serious lack of initiative! I enjoy keeping up with current tech and online publishing news, and sharing it. I also enjoy discussing it. So leave your comments, and join the conversation.