Watch Your Language (When Writing Anchor Text)

If you own a brand or business, you more than likely keep your website fresh for Google searches by updating text on an even semi-regular basis. Were you aware that the language you use has a huge impact in how your site is recognized? Case in point: Use of the two-word term: “click here.”

Using the term “click here” in hypertext is a hard habit to break

How many times have you visited a website, and read the term “click here”—which is hyperlinked and redirects to either an internal page on that site or to an external source? You and everyone else who visits a page has seen this phrasing. (And let’s be honest: Anyone who has ever written web content has been guilty of this at one time or another.) So, if content on the website for your brand or business has the term “click here” hyperlinked, now is the time to adopt a New Year’s resolution to fix this. That’s because where search engine optimization (SEO) is concerned, hyperlinking “click here” gets a web presence nowhere.

Google weighs in

A recent edition of Search Engine Roundtable referenced a session from Google’s video, “SEO Office Hours.” Lizzi Sassman, Senior Technical Writer at Google, fielded a question concerning use of the word “here” as anchor text. No matter whether it’s used in an internal link or is an external link that points to somewhere else, the word “here”—in Sassman’s view—is “bad link text.” Why is this considered “bad”? Lack of detail. This naturally also applies to the term of “click here.”

Win by being descriptive

Admittedly, writing “click here” has a more conversational and easier flow for online users as they read text on a web page. This kind of phrasing, however, is the proverbial kiss of death for motivating said users to actually click on a link that will lead them to anything from a form to fill out to a purchase option, among other calls to action that fulfill the purpose of having a website for a brand or business in the first place. The more descriptive an anchored text phrase can be—and how inline it is with the topic—the greater the interest among readers who will in fact want to further explore a brand’s website. (In short, detailed hyperlink text leads to more clicks on a web page.)

An example…

Let’s say an online store specializes in antique electric trains. The graphics are spectacular, the font in the headline has a nice, nostalgic look. This home page has one or two paragraphs that welcome collectors to the site.

Then, there is a standalone line at the bottom that reads:

“To learn more about what we have to offer, click here.”
(The underlined text is what would be anchored.)

This is not helpful. Not only does this line have dreaded “click here” phrase, but the rest of the language is too general. (And where does “here” lead? The prospective electric train enthusiast reading this intro may be looking for something specific, and immediately.)

Now, let’s revise that closing line to…

“Learn more about our products—which include train sets, home kits, and tracks, among other accessories—as well as our payment options and services.”

Note that this more detailed phrasing presents six underlined (i.e., text to be anchored) sections of words, which gives the enthusiast information, and enables him or her to click to learn more about this store’s products, payments, and services. This is the type of text that will effectively lead a web presence somewhere.

The ADA compliance factor

Now that we all have a new appreciation about the drawbacks of anchor text that is too general, can you imagine how frustrating this situation is for someone who is disabled and trying to navigate a website? Let’s say a disabled user is tabbing through a website with the help of a screen reader and keyboard. He or she hears the words “click here.” This user has no context for what they’re trying to access and will not know how or where to proceed on the page. What makes this example especially serious is that, in addition to alienating a user, the owner of this website is now subject to being fined or sued on account of not having the site ADA compliant. (The acronym “ADA” stands for the “Americans with Disabilities Act.” This is legislation that was passed in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against people who are disabled. Websites must therefore be updated and equipped to accommodate users who have vision, hearing, and motor function disabilities, in order that they may have the same online experience as others.) Steve Castro, EGC’s Director of Web Development, further explains ADA compliance in this video.

Anchored text on a web page. When ADA compliance is taken into account, the wording of this text is more more important than many realize.

 

The imagery on a website may be the first thing that attracts the eye, but the words that accompany these images are of equal importance (especially where anchored text is concerned!). Is your brand’s website ready for a refresh that includes engagingly written content to attract the right target audience? This written content will give new life to your brand’s site and lead to greater results for success.

Contact us today for a “text refresh” to your website’s wording.