Written by Hirsch Fishman on April 7th, 2009
Usability is always a concern of web designers, but when it comes to web content writers, that’s not always the case. There’s no better example of this than the continued use of “click here” in link text. Here are 4 reasons why you should avoid using “click here” when writing the links in your content.
It’s an established fact that most people don’t really read the content of a website – they scan it. This applies to almost all written content on the web, and people tend to do it for a number of reasons, such as:
When someone writes content for a website, they have to keep in mind that it’s probably not going to get read except by those who have an inherent interest in doing so.
Most people are going to scan it instead, and when they do, certain things will jump out at them – links being one of them. Of course, that will depend on whether the web designer styled the links properly by making them underlined and a different color from the surrounding text.
Yes, people scanning content will still see your link even if it says “click here”. But using “click here” as the link text doesn’t take that next step of telling them where the link is going to as they scan over it quickly.
The bottom line is that people like to – and want to – know where a link from your website is going to lead them. Using the words “click here” just doesn’t do that for them, and here’s a good example:
The second one tells people at a quick glance not only that there is a link, but that it’s to an article on the New York Times website. What does “click here” tell you? Only that a link is there for them to click on.
Most websites want people to take some action as a result when they are visiting it. People respond to action words, so those who write content for a website will want to keep that in mind by writing link text that encourages visitors to take the desired action. Here’s an example:
Notice the difference? The second one has the desired action contained within the actual link text, which will be much more obvious when someone is scanning the content quickly. Using “click here” doesn’t convey that desired action – again, it only tells them that a link is there for them to click.
Search engines such as Google use the strength of your links in their algorithm when they determine your placement in search engine results. While the number of links (both internal and external) on your website is important, how those links are worded can be just as important. Here’s an example:
The second one is the much-more friendly link. When you use “click here” as your link text, all that you’re doing is letting the search engines know that your content contains a link. If you want to also help them estimate how relevant that link is though, start using keywords in the link text instead.
During the early days of the Internet, people defended the use of “click here” on the grounds that if it weren’t used, most people wouldn’t know what to do when they came across a link. Content writers came up with it as a solution that gave users the hint of what action they were supposed to take – literally, click here.
Needless to say, that’s drastically changed as more and more people have become familiar with websites in recent years. If you continue to use “click here” in your content, you can give your visitors bad impressions that you don’t want them to have, such as:
You always want to make a positive impression of who you are through your website, and most people nowadays think that websites that still use “click here” are just plain old-fashioned. I would venture to guess that that is definitely not the impression you want to convey about your business or organization.
Do you still use the phrase “click here” when you’re writing links? Do you have clients or people you work with who still use it and don’t understand why they shouldn’t? Share your thoughts on this topic by leaving a comment using the form below!
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