Do you use ‘click here’ as link text on your site? I have. And I would say almost every one of my clients over the past nine years has too.

no-click-here.jpgBut why? Why do we think that we need to tell our readers to click here?

I guess we believe that click here will make it clear to our readers that this is a link and that behind the click here link is something they want to read. But does it? Really?


Consider this:

To find out more about my web development services, click here.

versus

Find out more about my web development services.

Which link has more clarity about where the link will take you? In the second example, is there any question that when you click web development services you’re going to end up reading about web development services?

But click here – where does that lead? How can I be certain that if I click click here I’m going to end up reading about web development services? I guess I can assume that click here relates to the text just before it. But obviously I can’t be as certain about where click here will take me as I can with the second example. This is bad for your readers and worse for your business.

Perhaps seeing one example doesn’t make it clear enough. But consider seeing click here 2-3 times on every page of content on a website. This isn’t rare. So after a while, what does click here mean to your reader? Heck, what does click here mean on this post?

The better approach is to use contextual link text to clearly tell your readers where they’re going to end up when they click your links.

So is this only about your readers? Of course not. Everyone wants better search engine rankings, right? Well consider that Google gives a little more weight to linked text than to nonlinked text. That means you have an opportunity with your text links to be use keywords (there’s my free SEO tip of the week).

Taking that a step further, when I searched Google for click here this morning, I got back 1.04 billion (with a ‘b’) search results. Every one of those instances are likely sites using click here links.

One other consideration for not using click here is accessibility. Accessibility looks at how the web can be easier to use for people who are impaired in some way. Click here in a braille or aural web browser means very little to the site reader.
The bottom line is you want to link with words that best describe the content you’re linking too.

By the way, to illustrate the point further, every ‘click here‘ link on this post goes to a different location. So feel free to click here.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Dawud Miracle says

    David,

    Absolutely. I tend to link short links myself, but this also gets the point across.

    I’ve actually linked to John twice in this post. I’ve been paying attention to how he’s drilling this into his reader’s heads as well. It’s pretty important.

    I’ll see if I can get Garry Conn’s opinion on the subject.

  2. Armen says

    I think you had an ulterior motive for writing this post; to get the number 1 spot on Google for the phrase ‘click here’. 😉

    I wouldn’t mind that review either. You’re probably busy, but just a few brief thoughts would be cool.

  3. Blog-Op says

    Very creative 🙂

    It’s a trap we’ve all fallen into at some stage, and can be hard to break-it’s worth it though.

    Thanks for the link, you could have used some anchor text though 😉

  4. Dawud Miracle says

    Blog-Op,

    I agree, it is worth it to break this habit.

    Sorry about not giving you proper anchor text. I wrote the post this way for effect. I think it helps make the point.

  5. David Airey :: Creative Design :: says

    What if you were to go one step further and prompt your readers, such as:

    Click here to learn about my web development services.

    That way you’re telling people what action to take and also what they’ll find out by taking that action.

    Anchor text is incredibly important for search rankings. That’s why John Chow keeps drilling it into his readers to link back to his site with the text: make money only, or make money on the internet.

    Predominantly, I offer graphic design services in Edinburgh (of course covering the rest of the world as well), but I rank nowhere for that term.

    It’s something I need to work on.

  6. Andy Beal says

    A great way to get a point across! I don’t even know where each of your “click here” links go to, and didn’t click any of them, for the reasons you explained.

  7. Dawud Miracle says

    Andy,

    I know. I find that illustration is often the best way to make a point. Thanks.

    Blog-Op,

    I know. I wrote in response more for readers continuing to get the point than to justify why I didn’t give you a contextual link. Again, it sells the idea better.

  8. Dawud Miracle says

    Armen,

    Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. Would be nice, but I think I’ll have a hard time competing with Adobe Reader, Apple QuickTime, Real Player and Windows Media Player – the top 4 slots. I’ll take #5, though.

    Give me a couple of days on the review. I’ll post something on my blog – if that’s okay with you.

  9. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    What do I think?

    I think, “uh oh…” 🙁 (editing work is never done…)

  10. Karin Karin H. says

    I’m with David Airey on this one: included the ‘call for action’ in the link. I’ve learned that you have to ‘guide’ visitors into doing the next step you want them to take.
    Click here is indeed not enough (not detailed enough), just ‘anchor’ text isn’t really that call for action.

    Hmm, like Adam Kayce I’m now thinking better check my sites again on this

  11. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.,

    Oh absolutely you have to guide visitors. I tell my clients that not only do you need to lead them to water, you also need to tip their head into the river, open their mouths and a begin feeding them the water until they realize they’re thirsty and drink for themselves.

    And oh, don’t worry, you’ll find click here on my site too.

  12. Ted Demopoulos says

    I clicked here but ended up there 🙂
    Great post — I don’t do the click here thing, but sometimes write something like:
    “More info on Nubian Goats as well as here, here, and here.”

    That would be four links, one for Nubian Goats and three for “here” “here” and “here.

    I’m sure there is a better way!

  13. Heidi Cool says

    Great illustration of the point! And thank you for including my post as one of the “click here’s”.

    David Airey and Karen H. make a valid point about including a “call to action” in our links, but I think we can get creative with that. Rather than “Click here to learn about my web development services“, why not “Learn how can help you grow your business.”

    Or as another example instead of something like “Click here to register online” use “Register online today—limited seating is available.”

    I think we’ll always encounter link situations that are difficult to word, but as long as we all make an effort to reduce the “click here’s” we’ll be on the right track.

  14. Dawud Miracle says

    Ted,

    I know what you mean. I think there is a better way. Yet this may just be one of the internet where we still need some development.

    Heidi,

    Yes. I agree. I feel that text links should be contextual – for you, the site owner, for Google, and certainly for your site visitors.

    Adam,

    Great start, if you ask me. Anything we can do to make our links more appealing to our site visitors is better. And it doesn’t hurt that some of the links are keywords too.

  15. Phil says

    Great post and a great demonstration of how using “click here” link text really affects accessibility. Not only is a link that says “click here” impossible to understand when it’s out of context, but using the same link text for different links also causes confusion.

    The SEO benefits of linking properly are pretty obvious too, I wonder how those 4 top companies took the top spots for the search on “click here”!

  16. Dawud Miracle says

    Phil,

    Thanks. I had fun creating this post. And I think it makes great conversation. We’ve probably all used click here. I know I have.

    What funny is that the top four companies on Google’s search are for downloads of Acrobat, QuickTime, RealPlayer and Media Player – all downloads that you would say, “to download the player, click here.”

    And I’m sure they got that position out of shear volume of visits.

  17. Dawud Miracle says

    Molly,

    Thanks. I thought the various click here’s would drive the point home a bit more too. Anything I can do to make blogger’s, business owner’s and site visitor’s lives better, I’m for it.

  18. Patrick Schaber says

    Dawud,
    Excellent point – this is one of those things you don’t think about until someone brings it up. You’ve inspired me to go back and do some editing!

    Thanks,
    Pat

  19. Mari says

    Oh man. I’d never considered this before. :makes a note to stop using “click here”: I’m the “click here queen”. ugh!! I don’t think I’ve put any “click heres” on the last handful of posts, but I think I’ll find the time to go back and make sure…Very, very good point!

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