Encourage Users to Click with Effective Text Links
Effective wording and placement of text links are essential if you want users to have a good experience. Words such as 'click here' are not considered descriptive, are ineffective for screen readers and don't encourage users to click through.
- The word 'click' emphasises the functionality of the link rather than what the link is about
- Using the word ‘click' can make users lose focus on the main part of the page, that’s the content
- People scan read web pages, so using the word click doesn’t mean anything to them; often they’ll just bypass it
- Visually-impaired users can use their screen readers to scan for links. Links which use the words such as, "Click here" are mystifying, especially when heard over and over again. Using descriptive text properly explains the context of links to the screen reader
- It can irritate users: they're not daft and don’t need to be told to click a link
- Some links only have the word ‘here’ or have accompanied text around it to explain why the user should click the link. Either way, it’s not a good word to use on its own or in a sentence as it doesn’t describe where the link will take them
Think of the link as a benefit for the user and tell them how they can get it quickly by using appropriate text.
There's a whole host of text links which are just as ineffective such as, ‘Search here’. Look at the example below: how does it make you feel?
For users it can have a very negative effect.
- It can make users feel daunted – The word ‘search’ implies that users will have to search for information. Users don’t want to work hard; they expect information to be easily accessible
- It's a waste of users' time - Users will have to read the accompanying copy to work out where the link will take them
- Confuses users - The word ‘here’ doesn’t tell or encourage users to click through, it’s all a bit vague
Phrasing links correctly
The way you phrase your links says a lot about your website and how professionally you appear. So It’s very important to use the right words on all your links. Here are some suggestions:
- Label your links with a word or words which describe what the user is clicking into
- Distinguish each and every link - Label each link with text that flows in your content
- Avoid linking to only verbs - Verbs are too vague and don’t give users a clear picture of what they can expect
- Any use of verbs should be accompanied with nouns
A Detailed Example
Example A - While the link text is acceptable it could be improved by providing information which is more succinct within the sentence
Example B - Demonstrates more successfully how structuring the sentences and providing informative text links can provide a much better experience for users
A. The cat had behavioural problems so needed to be taken to the vets, after which medication was prescribed
B. Behavioural problems in cats can often be solved with feline medication prescribed by vets
Using Concrete Nouns
Using concrete nouns in text links are ideal because they are words which describe things that people experience through their five senses: Sight, Smell, Hear, Taste and Touch.
Using concrete nouns are more likely to be picked up by users because they allow them to easily scan links and quickly understand what they’re clicking into.
Here’s an example:
- Noun - Freddy liked to read a book every night before he went to bed
- Concrete noun - Freddy liked to read The Lord of the Rings every night before he went to bed
Define Your Link
Be as specific as possible for link text - E.g. You're far more likely to get more people to click the title of the eBook rather than just the word ‘eBook’. e.g.
- A. Get my new eBook on SEO
- B. Get my new eBook ‘How to Get the Best Results from SEO’
Placement of Links
Structuring links with nouns which appear at the end of a sentence is also a great way to get links noticed.
- It makes it easier for users to spot links as they finish reading the sentence
- Allows users to act immediately and it saves time in having to go back to find the link in the sentence
Remember, good usability will make your site accessible to everyone. Good user experiences will encourage recommendations to your website.