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Over the years of surfing on the web I have found numerous examples of people saying that you shouldn't use the word "here" in a textlink etc. Personally I like the idea of using the word, because it is so straightforward for your visitors to know where to click.

The only reason that I can truly think of is for SEO purposes. The word here doesn't have much value as a keyword as such.

I would like to know some other opinions on why we should/shouldn't use word like "this" and "here" in a textlink.

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Read this comment: Redundancy isn't often helpful =) –  Ben Brocka Sep 29 '11 at 14:06
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See also How to avoid “click here” links. –  hippietrail Oct 7 '11 at 13:40
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If you printed a webpage in black and white, would the text of the sentence still make sense? –  zzzzBov Feb 14 '12 at 16:25
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I came here from an email link and at the top of this page right now it says "Welcome back. Click here to refresh the page, in an extra large font. The irony ;-) –  dodgy_coder Mar 28 '12 at 3:35
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I know this has been already answers with lots of details, but the UX Movement published, a couple of weeks ago, a good guidance and set of reasons on why links should not say "click here" and a set of recommendations on how should they be written. To see the article, click here‌​. =P –  Alpha Jul 10 '12 at 23:08

13 Answers 13

up vote 163 down vote accepted

Most of the other answers here seem to be focusing on accessibility, which is fine, but is hardly the point. Screen readers are what? Less than 5% of the market for a general website? The reason "Here" and "Click Here" are bad is because they are useless words. They provide no context. This isn't an accessibility issue; it is a usability issue.

There's an overwhelming amount of evidence that website visitors don't read, they scan. They scan for links to find the link they want to click on next. If your link says "click here" and the user has to read the text around the link to find out what it is for, you are adding to their cognitive load, meaning they are less likely to continue on.

The same thing holds true for "Click here for special offers" and "For special offers, click here" (as TomA listed in his answer). You are still adding to the users' cognitive load because now your links have additional words that are completely unnecessary.

As long as your links look like something that the user can click on (and if they aren't, you are doing something wrong), then things like "here" and "click here" are a complete waste of space.

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I think you are making a good point. One shouldn't focus on accessibility or usability at the expense of the other. In reality, the problem is exactly the same whether one puts it in the accessibility camp or the usability camp: people like to scan. (personally, I don't like dividing those camps, though understand why many do) –  DA01 Sep 29 '11 at 22:10
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Making sites accessible might serve a very small part of your public, but is still strongly recommended, when not required by law... Of course, this doesn't reduce the value of your point, I just disagree with your first paragraph. As DA01 said, no point in opposing usability and accessibility, both can be addressed by good design. –  PhiLho Sep 30 '11 at 15:40
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I'd say: "This isn't only an accessibility issue; it is also a usability issue." Accessibility is still a completely sufficient reason; it just so happens that it coincides strongly with usability here. –  Jefromi Sep 30 '11 at 15:58
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@PhiLho & Jefromi - If you follow good usability guidelines, you almost never need to actively concern yourself with accessibility - it comes along for the ride. Accessibility is a minor concern in the grand scheme of things because good usability will make your site accessible to everyone. –  Charles Boyung Sep 30 '11 at 17:24
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+1 for As long as your links look like something that the user can click on (and if they aren't, you are doing something wrong) –  AndrewJacksonZA Oct 5 '11 at 15:20

One aspect of this is accessibility. You don't get any context from the link itself.

You can see further info on wc3: http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/noClickHere:

When calling the user to action, use brief but meaningful link text that:

  • provides some information when read out of context
  • explains what the link offers -doesn't talk about mechanics
  • is not a verb phrase

and regarding SEO there is a bit on hobo: http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/dont-use-click-here/

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Accessibility and context in this situation really aren't related. –  Charles Boyung Sep 29 '11 at 14:26
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One example of that is that some screen readers let you quickly read through all the links on a web page to quickly navigate. Using 'here' as the link, someone using a screen reader would then hear: "link: 'here', link: 'here', link: 'here'" –  DA01 Sep 29 '11 at 14:29
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@charles...if the link doesn't offer any context for a screen reader, then I'd say that's an accessibility issue. –  DA01 Sep 29 '11 at 14:30
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I'm going to revisit my answers on SO since reading these. Thank for the information. –  Preet Sangha Sep 29 '11 at 20:23
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ARIA is a promising thing. Alas, we're still stuck with a lot of JAWS users which is pretty much the IE6 of accessibility software. ;) –  DA01 Sep 30 '11 at 3:00

It is not so clear for people using screen readers. Often all the text is read out first followed by a list of all the hyperlinks. If the hyperlinks are just named things like 'Click Here' then there is no context as to what that link is for. However if it is named 'Full McGuffin product spec' then there is no ambiguity.

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When links were new (think 1995), designers felt that it was necessarily to let people know that something was a link by saying "here". I'm not sure if it was ever necessary, but it is not necessary now. When people see text formatted as a link, they know it's a link.

Using "here" as the link text gives no context (which is especially bad for screen readers) and there is always a better solution. By way of an example (consider the bold text as the link):

"Bob wrote an interesting post here." vs. "Bob wrote an interesting post on why puppies are cool."

In the second one, it is clear what the post is about and I have a much better idea of whether or not I want to click (or tap) on it.

Always give context to your links.

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Very good elucidation in the example! –  Preet Sangha Sep 29 '11 at 20:24
    
your response was great to the question. +1 for the example. –  Ashwin kumar Oct 4 '11 at 9:28
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On some situations it might be a good idea to further highlight the link as a destination - link inside a sentence structure reads more like a sidenote or reference. Highlighted structure of your example would be: "Bob wrote an interesting post about puppies: Why puppies are cool" –  Ilari Kajaste Oct 27 '11 at 8:18
    
Links go back much further than 1995. ENQUIRE, Hypercard and Guide were all hypertext systems that predate the World Wide Web and that dates back to 1991. I guess 1995 was when the WWW was really starting to take off though. –  Mark Booth Feb 14 '12 at 13:09
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I think I have seen your suggestion being misused on some sites. They have a short summary with seemingly random phrases turned into links, and it's not clear which one is the main article (and the title goes to the comments). Some are obvious, others are not. I usually clink on all links because of this, and then close the tabs that aren't interesting :-/ –  marcus May 4 '12 at 15:06

Links are used in so many different contexts now, I think it's hard to have one rule that applies to everything. Links in a web-based application, for example, would never want to say "here" because they would always indicate the item (e.g. "Smith, John") or the action (e.g. "New") that is being taken.

My guess is that you're thinking more about links in pages with a lot of text and/or writing. So I think that there are two ways to think about someone visiting a page like this.

1) The user is scanning the page to see if it's got what he wants on it, or what information it generally contains. So if a user is looking for information on "skydiving safety" and they arrive at a page that says "skydiving basics", they might scan the page to see if the word "safety" is there. They scan headings and any text that stands out - especially links. If, by some chance, one of those links says "safety", then they click on it. But if the text says "you can read more about safety " then they may well miss it.

2) The user has found the page he's looking for and he's reading everything on the page. In this case, I doubt it matters whether the link is labeled "here" or not. (Though I will add that I think a page with a whole bunch of "here" links just looks like poor writing. Any writing piece that uses the same word over and over again looks like the author lacked skill).

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It emphasizes the wrong part of the text, like this.

Links tend to be visually distinctive, and draw the eye. (Less so now that they're not underlined in most cases.) But the 'here' is the least important part of the text, really, and so the link disrupts the reading flow.

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Other answers provide a lot of good points. I want to add that Web is a mechanism of making information easily accessible and this information should generally make as much sense outside of Web browsers. If you print the content of web page words like "this" and "here" don't make much sense. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the text on your web pages can be read on paper or in notepad without feeling that something is missing.

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I'm not aware of any research that suggests there is a fundamental problem with the word "here" in a link - it's the context of how you're using the word that may or may not be a problem.

"Click here" is bad for accessibility because, as others have said, there is no meaning to the link when read out of context - a screenreader will read just the link text, so a screenreader user will have no idea what the link is for. This problem is compounded if you have multiple "Click here"s - a screenreader will speak all of them (eg "Click here click here click here" - it sounds horrible!), and the user has no way to distinguish between them (aside from examining the link URLs)

"Click here for Special offers" isn't ideal, because the important content in the link is at the end - frontloading the important words makes the link easier to scan read (and scan listen in a screenreader).

"For Special offers, click here" is fine - and perhaps even better than just "Special offers" as it creates a more obvious link and a larger mouse target.

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In addition to what others have pointed out, "click here" and similar is somewhat difficult when you're using a smartphone or other touch-screen device. (Um, how do I do that, exactly? I know I can "tap" it, but that makes no sense on 99% of personal computers.) Screen readers is just another example along the same lines that has been brought up repeatedly. Other non-graphical browsers occupy a niche but may still be a valid consideration; in a text-based web browser, you rarely "click" on a link to follow it, even for a liberal definition of "clicking".

In general, while there obviously are exceptions, "here" often to me seems to indicate a focus on the mechanics rather than the intent. Forget about the mechanics of activating the link, but focus instead on where it leads, and you will almost automatically avoid "here" links.

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Completely agree it is both a usability and accessibility issue and both do matter. Even if you only took the big stick approach that you shouldn't have a choice about accessibility as it's is a legislative requirement in many countries now.

If someone is scanning text, then a single word here doesn't stand out or register against the keywords they're looking for. Especially so now, with sites styling without underlines for links (the whole idea of which is to make readers aware it's a link - whether it looks pretty is important but secondary to comprehension, and color alone isn't enough). If you underline the phrase, which should directly indicate the content of the page the link goes to, that makes it clear to the reader what they'll get when the click. Just apply the Steve Krug "Don't Make Me Think" principal - people just want to get to their destination quickly without thinking much about the journey there, and your job in creating that site is to help them succeed.

BTW, accessibility issues affect a hellava lot more people than those using screenreaders (and more than just sight issues too). Some 10-20% of the population have poor sight and scanning is harder you want those link words to stand out, which just using here doesn't do. The growth of accessing the web on phones has just massively increased it as seeing, let alone trying to tap, a tiny single word is really poor usability. That's a pretty big part of anyone's target market to decide you don't want as potential customers just because you make it harder than necessary to use your website.

None of that means your site can't be attractive, but people don't primarily go to a site because they like how it looks, it's to do something. Using words they are scanning for will help them do this.

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In many countries accessibility is indeed a legal requirement. It's coming to the USA in the future too, thanks to it now being a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities. So the fact that it's a minority is irrelevant, it's a minority that is illegal to unnecessarily put at a disadvantage.

Accessibility just generally means doing things properly, the kind of things that specifically benefit minority groups often have many other benefits.. for example if you make your links make sense out of context, essential for screenreaders, you'll also gain scannability and search engine friendliness, as other people have mentioned.

Simple solution, links should describe the destination, ie. be close to the H1 on the following page.

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W3C about here-link.

Here-link is the bad idea which become a standard.

Check the examples of placing links and decide which way is better.

Page on which you are placing the link, nobody will search the page with the word "here".

The text inside the link makes huge impact on the list of search results. Do you want to see your site higher in search results? Do you want to find information in the search engines faster? So do not use here-links, they does not help users and search engines.

Here-link haves no context. Users, search engines or screen readers cannot tell nothing about the destination from here-word.

Printed version of the page will be looking poor with "click here" words.

The main rule of placing the links: first write the text, then add links.

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"The main rule of placing the links: first write the text, then add links." ~ Brilliant! –  Evik James Jan 28 '13 at 18:04

You should not use word "this" in the text of the link because of this. I mean when you clicked previous link you have no idea where it will lead you :)

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