Why You Need To Banish “Click Here" From Your Website Vocabulary

A look at why "Click Here" should no longer be used as website link text

Person holding up Click Here sign
Person holding up Click Here sign.

The words “click here” have been a fixture on websites for many years. This term is commonly used as link text, but there are actually a number of drawbacks to this practice. In fact, the words “click here” no longer have any place on your website.

A previous article here on About.com covered the “semantic attachment” concept of good link text, how that text should be informative and explain the content that is behind the link.

These are benefits that your site’s visitors will realize, and that alone is reason to eschew the term “click here” as a link, but there are a number of tangible benefits that your site and your company will also realize by moving away from “click here” link text.                                                   

Considering Touch Screen Devices

The phrase “click here” is a remnant of a time when all website visitors were using desktop-style computers. Accessing a hyperlink meant “clicking” on that link with your cursor/mouse, hence the rise of this term. On today’s Web, however, more people may actually be using touch screen, mobile devices to access your site that those traditional desktop computers. From wearable devices, to smartphones and tablets, and even to those aforementioned desktop computers which now come equipped with touch screen hardware, the Web is no longer solely about “clicking” and the phrase “click here” does not have the universal reach that it once may have had.

This mechanical instruction is a product of a by-gone era.

To be most successful, websites today need to accommodate visitors using a wide range of devices with a variety of screen sizes and input mechanisms (touch, mouse, voice, etc.). Having a website built with a responsive web design approach is a great start to ensure that the site’s layout works well for these various devices, but the text and instructions of that site must also be clear.

This means that antiqued notions of “clicking” should be abandoned in favor of more semantic link text and instructions that show that you understand how people are using your site today.

Search Engine Benefits

One of the factors that search engines weigh in their ranking algorithms is inbound links to a website, and the text that is used in that link matters to the eventual ranking. This is why text should be descriptive; to let both people and search engines know about the site or content that this link connects to.

The term “click here” says nothing about a link, but when you link a phrase like “ways to improve website performance” to an article about that topic, you pass valuable keyword information to the search engines so they know how best to rank a site and for which terms it should be considered. When other websites link to yours with the proper link text, your site benefits in search engine rankings and since Google is now rewarding sites that are mobile-friendly, a push to improve your site's link text to consider all devices is good search engine strategy.

Natural Reading Flow

In addition to search engine benefits, using semantic and informative text for your site’s links helps improve reading flow.

When you tack the words “click here” onto the end of a paragraph, you break that reading flow because the words sound unnatural. No one uses that phrase in conversation, so when someone reads it on a website, it is awkward. By using normal, descriptive text that flows naturally in content as link text, you create an improved reading experience and encourage visitors to stay on your site and read/engage more.

Visitors Using Assisted Devices

One benefit to users that was not covered in the aforementioned link text article here on About.com is how people with assisted devices, like screen readers, will access your site. Screen reader software will actually read link text alound  to a person, so when that software reads out “click here”, there is absolutely something lost in translation. Unlike sighted users who can see where that link text applies based on proximity, a visitor using a screen reader will not be able to discern the meaning of a link by looking at what content it is next to.

By using descriptive link text, however, you allow the screen reader software to give users valuable information about those links so they can more easily navigate your website.

“Click Here” No More

Many people continue to use the term “click here” in the website copy they write because they simply do not know any better. By removing this term from our website vocabulary, and by focusing on creating link text that is descriptive and informative, we can improve our website’s performance in a number of important ways, both for our visitors and for our companies.

Edited by Jeremy Girard on 1/27/17