Anchor Text – Why shouldn’t you click here?
Try putting ‘click here’ into Google and you will see just how popular a mistake it is, currently 2,860,000,000 results – more popular that Justin Bieber (633,300,000) and The Beatles (216,000,000) put together.
There are a number of reasons why ‘click here’ is bad practice, but the two most important – Usability & Accessibility.
An anchor text link that simply states ‘click here’ at the end of a paragraph makes no sense out of context – meaning the user has to take time to read the text surrounding a link in order to find out where the link will take them – rather than a quick scan and click to get where they wanted to go.
Using descriptive links not only increases usability by saving the user time, the phrasing of a link can also benefit it’s SEO performance. The search engine spiders crawl the web and follow link paths from one site to another.
You may think that telling the user to ‘click here’ is a call to action, and that you will see better click success rates by telling the user that’s exactly what you want them to do, but you can still make the links descriptive whilst telling a user to click, e.g. ‘Click here to book an appointment’.
Descriptive anchor text links are essential for web accessibility – for users accessing sites via assistive technologies like screen readers that will create a link list from all the anchor tags on a page. In this situation ‘click here’ links become irrelevant, as a user presented with a list of ‘click here’ links has no way of knowing what they are for or where they go.
Ensuring the styling of links on a page is correct, i.e. different colour from regular text and/or underlined, means users can immediately establish what is clickable content and what is not – and a descriptive anchor text link will tell them immediately what and where the link is for.
A user who can get the information they want quickly is a happy user, and is more likely to return to the website.