Naming links is like riding a bicycle, once you know how to do it, it’s very easy. I’m going to show you the basics so that you don’t scrape your knees.
A link is coded like this: <a href=”http://www.websitegoeshere.com/”>text goes here</a>.
That’s not all you need to know.
If you don’t code your links, you might just enter them into a WYSIWYG editor like WordPress. This means that you would add your URL (http://www.websitegoeshere.com/) and text (text goes here) in easy to use convenient input boxes. That’s fine too. I just want you to name your link properly.
- Search engines will read a link and give value to the name as a search term.
- People scan text, not always reading all of it.
- People with reading and learning disabilities will use link names to more easily understand where they are going.
- People using screen readers (usually people with visual disabilities) will use the software to read the name of a link.
While naming a link, you might be tempted to call it “click here” or even “here.” Here is an example for your consideration.
To check out 366 Technology, click here.
This is wrong and evil. Never ever name a link “click here.” This is why:
- Search engines now use the term “click here” for a search term for my home page. Although it doesn’t hurt me, it does nothing to help me. People aren’t searching for “click here,” and even if they were, it’s been used millions of times for a million different links, so you’ll never get on page 1 of Google doing that.
- If someone is scanning through text, she will see an obvious link that says nothing about where she is going.
- People with reading and learning disabilities will see “click here” as the target that gives them no clear information about where they are going.
- People with visual disabilities, using screen readers will see “click here” as the action item, again, telling them nothing.
Always give your link a descriptive name. Here are some examples for your consideration.
- Check out 366 Technology.
- I’ve written an interesting post about Responsive Website development.
- WCAG 2.0 might be difficult to achieve, but we use it to meet Government Online Standards.
Here is why descriptive link text is better:
- Search engines can now assign the appropriate searchable text to the pages you are linking to.
- People can scan through your text and still get a quick idea of where they are going.
- People with learning or reading disabilities can more clearly understand where they are going.
- Those with visual disabilities can use screen readers to read the link text and understand where they are going.
So why would anyone ever use “click here” as link text? It sounds like an action item. It does seem like the intuitive thing to do. Sadly, for those naming their links “click here,” people don’t read all the text, so your click rate will be much lower using these types of links. This mistaken naming process is also bad for those with disabilities. The “click here” link makes it more difficult for people to navigate your site. Always use descriptive text in a link. It will improve every user’s experience and improve your SEO street cred.