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Why "Click Here" is Bad Practice

18 May 2011

| Author: Rob Smith

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Why "Click Here" is Bad Practice

Using "Click Here" for hyperlink text is bad practice for usability and SEO. This post explains why and provides best practice advice for better hyperlink text.

Reviewing a company's website is part of our strategic IT reviews more often than not. We normally look at whether the website is delivering all it could for the business strategy, whether the right connectivity to other business systems is in place and whether an appropriate CMS is being used. We also look at the structure of the website, the SEO and usability, and that is where we often encounter "Click Here" used as link text.

It is bad as a method of interacting with the user. Tests have shown that website users don't read web pages, they scan them and often quickly move on to other websites. Users are drawn to elements that stand out – particularly hyperlinks – and that is your chance to catch them with your message. If the message in your links is "click here" rather than "Book Now" or "the benefits of Agile", it doesn't contain anything to hold the user's attention.

It is bad for SEO. Search engines such as Google use the link text to help them to understand what phrases are important in your website. "Click here" tells Google nothing about your website and how you stand out from all the other similar sites.

It is poor web accessibility. Visually impaired users utilising screen reader software will have the link text read out to them out of context from the surrounding copy; "click here" provides no information on the link destination.   

Instead of click here, two types of hyperlinks should be used:

  • Calls to action by the user – these should be actions you want the website visitor to take, such as "Book Now". It's good practice to make these stand out visually by using buttons. On our site, we make sure this stands out:

Book Now / Course Details

  • Information links – showing the user where more information is available with appropriate phrases such as "Our services" and "Government IT needs 'flexibility' to save billions". For example:

This is the basis for our governance framework and our approach to managing Agile at scale.

Interestingly, the advice against click here goes back 20 years:

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Author

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Rob Smith

Joint founder of IndigoBlue in July 2002, Rob has over 20 years’ experience in IT, and in addition to leading the company he continues to provide strategic management consultancy to a number of clients.

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