Don't 'click here': writing meaningful link text

Summary

Link text must be written with care. To be usable, accessible and to help with search engine indexing, link text must clearly identify the target of the link. "Click here" does not give any indication of the content on the linked page.

"Click here" doesn't tell anyone what the linked page is about

Don't use "click here" as link text because it makes it difficult for everyone to use your web pages. Rewrite "click here" to give users a good idea of where the link will lead them.

Example:
If you are interested in accessible design, click here for a list of good online resources. - WRONG
If you are interested, there are some good accessible design resources online. - RIGHT

"Click here" and scannability

People generally don't read online, they scan. There are a range of reasons for this:

  • they are busy
  • they just want to find the information they were looking for and go
  • there is a lot of information on the web competing for their attention
  • it is harder to read online (because of poor screen resolution, screen glare, tiny font sizes, poor contrast and so on ).

Link text stands out during a visual scan of a web page--provided the designer sticks to the norm of underlining links and using a different colour from other text.

Using meaningful link text rather than "click here" makes it easy for users to quickly see links on your pages that might be of interest to them.

"Click here" and web accessibility

Many blind users, or those with no useful sight, use screen readers (like JAWS or Window Eyes) to read web pages. Just as sighted uses scan a page to see what's available, screen reader users can scan a page for the links it provides to other resources. They can do this by getting their screen reader to read out just the hyperlinks on the page (see the image below which shows a Links List from JAWS). Some may opt to 'scan' the page by tabbing from link to link on the page.

When blind users use web pages in this way, links are presented out of context. There is no text around the links to provide any sense of where the link may lead. So links that are not self-explanatory, like those labelled "click here", are difficult, if not impossible, to use.

"Click here" and search engine indexing

Some of the major search engines use the terms in link text to assist with indexing web pages. Using "click here" to identify related pages linked from pages on your site will harm the indexing of your pages. Using descriptive link text will help users find your page.

Related (external) links

Published: 20 October 2000
Updated: 7 January 2006