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Internal Linking Strategy: Don't Click Here If you are walking down the street, seeing what there is to see, you might happen upon a door.

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Posted by aztek on - Read

If you are walking down the street, seeing what there is to see, you might happen upon a door. If the door has no signage, and nothing to indicate what is behind the door, you probably wouldn't want to open it. Even if the door has a sign that says 'Open Here,' if there is no clear reason to open the door, and if you don't know where the door leads, it's likely you wouldn't bother.

The same is true with links. Why would you want to click a link that says 'click here,' but offers no clue what you're clicking or where it would take you? Why would you bother?

Using 'click here' or similarly nondescript phrases for link text is a poor practice.

The main problems?

  1. 'Click Here' doesn't tell a user why they should click here.
  2. 'Click Here' implies that a user doesn't know it's a link, or how to use a link.
  3. 'Click Here' are wasted words— more descriptive text that uses keywords can help support overarching SEO efforts.

A good linking strategy incorporates both internal linking—linking to other pages on a website—and external linking—linking to pages on other websites. Linking strategy includes elements of design, usability, SEO, and content, and offers benefits in each area as well.

Usability

Proper hyperlinks improve the user experience. If links are clear, easy-to-follow, and lead to helpful and relevant information, a user gets more value out of their visit. That equates to a potentially lower bounce rate, since they're finding the information they want. It also improves their perception of your site and your company.

SEO

Links are an important facet of SEO. Linking to credible external sites helps indicate that your site is legitimate and reputable. External linking can also invite back-linking, which can do great things for your ranking. Linking to other germane pages on your own site can help improve the pages' visibility to the engines.

Design

Design has a huge roll in a successful link strategy. Links must be easy to identify, and a primary way of accomplishing this is using a different color for links than is used for the rest of the text.

Choosing the correct color for link text is imperative. Blue is the universal link color, but other colors can work as well. The link color must be significantly different.

Other graphic additions can be appropriate. Sometimes a small icon is used to indicate that a link will take a user to a different website. In larger graphic pieces, a link may include an arrow to indicate that a link is presented in a graphic.

Content

If a link shouldn't say 'click here,' what should it say? Links should contain descriptive words that instantly present the reason for clicking.

The words that are used as the anchor text for the link should be descriptive and specific. They must tell a user what they are getting and why should they want it.

Rather than: Click here to review the annual report.
Go with: This years's annual report presents the year's accomplishments.

Rather than: Click here for directions.
Go with: Enjoy driving the scenic route from the church to the reception.

Rather than: Click here for products.
Go with: Our camping catalog includes all of our products

Successful Linking

If a link is designed properly, it should be obvious that it's a link. If a link contains the right words, it should be clear where the link will take you. If the link provides value, you may just turn a user into a repeat visitor, a customer, or a closed deal.

Jim Bacha, a graphic designer at Aztek, contributed to this post.

Original image from College Humor, captions added via Quick Meme.

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