Some people will tell you to avoid linking with “Click here” as anchor text. But look what you would be missing.
If you are old enough to remember the olden days when SEO was “a thing” – before it became something to carefully ignore with a studious sideways glance – we were all counseled to avoid using generic terms like “click here” as anchor text on links. “Click here” was a dirty word.
Even I was counseling against that approach, and with two very good reasons.
First, the search engines could see what a page was about by reading it, but they also wanted to know what other people thought the page was about. So they would read the anchor text of hyperlinks pointing to the page for clues.
If the anchor text said “content marketing for real estate promotion”, the search engines would assume that the page was at least somewhat about “content marketing for real estate promotion”. The page would therefore rank higher for “content marketing for real estate promotion” and for related phrases, such as “content marketing for real estate” and “real estate promotion”.
Using keyword-rich anchor text made good SEO sense.
It still does, as this case study infers, although we can see that exact match anchor text has fallen in importance over the years. A good illustration of this trend is that for years the page to download Adobe Acrobat Reader ranked number one for the search “click here”, even though the word appeared nowhere on the page. As I type this, I see that page at position number three in Google results and number four in Bing results. Nevertheless, a quarter of backlinks for high-ranking websites still include keyword-rich anchor text.
But there was another good reason to use descriptive anchor text, and that was for the human readers. Yes, it is good user experience to explain what is on the other end of the hyperlink. So a link that reads “content marketing for real estate promotion” would tell people exactly what was on the other end if they were to click.
There was complete harmony between search engines and humans.
So “Click here” was to be avoided at all costs.
In recent years, some people have been rethinking this advice. In fact, “Click here” are two very powerful words. They are call to action words, and the specific action they are calling on people it to click. I am certain that if anybody did a split test of almost any hyperlink, “Click here” would entice more people to click.
This is time-tested from long before the Internet. The call to action has always been crucial to making conversions:
- Call now.
- Visit our office today.
- Get your copy now.
- Don’t delay, call today.
- Send in this form.
But how will people know what to click for? The answer is simple: “Click here” is not the ideal anchor text in every case. Here is my handy guide for when to use “Click here” links and when to use descriptive or keyword rich anchor text.
In a menu, use short descriptions
There is not much place in a menu for descriptions, so anchor text has to be short. Think “Home” and “About us” or even just “About”. You can’t use “click here”, because all the menu items will look the same and people won’t know which one to click here on.
It would be an interesting experiment to add to a menu a single “Click here” link pointing to a lead generation page and see how many people are diverted from clicking on other pages.
For background in an article or blog post, use descriptive text
You help your readers when you add lots of useful hyperlinks in your articles. When a newbie is reading, he can click the hyperlink to get all the background that would bore a more advanced reader. In other cases, there is a lot of interesting information that some readers would want to access, but you don’t want to have to keep stopping the flow of your article to delve into all those tangents.
In such cases, hyperlinks should be available for those who are interested, but non-intrusive for those who are not. So hyperlinking the most relevant words from the text of the article works very well. Those will be descriptive for readers and most likely keyword rich for the search engine.
In ancient times, these would have been footnotes or end notes, and you would have had to trek to the library to find the references and read them. Thanks to digital technology, now we just click on the hyperlink, and Voila!
You could be more obvious than just using descriptive text by saying, “For more on this topic, click here.” Or, “I don’t want to go into all the details now, but you can read more about it by clicking here.” That’s fine if you have one or two background pages that will be particularly useful to the majority of readers. But if you have several links, and most readers won’t be interested, you risk annoying them by stopping the flow of the article with such commentary.
In an article or page where you want people to click, use call to action phrases such as “Click here”
Whereas most links you will put there to be helpful to users, there are times when you really want people to click through. For instance, you might create an article just to pull people in to another page or another article. Or you might feel that it is important for people to get certain background or see a third party supporting your position or visit a page that might convert better than the article.
In such cases, there are no more powerful words than “Click here”. And you can still be descriptive in the text surrounding the hyperlink, without including it in your anchor text. For instance:
For the top 10 content marketing tips in the universe, Click here.
By the way, that really is a call to action, and I would love you to click here to read the top 10 content marketing tips in the universe.
Not everyone likes “Click here”, mind you. We still find sites like W3,org recommend “When calling the user to action, use brief but meaningful link text” and “we do not recommend putting verb phrases in link text”. All calls to action are verb phrases. I guess nobody’s perfect.
Will you be crippling your SEO efforts for using “Click here” as anchor text? Not at all. Your link profile has to look natural, and the best way to do that is to make it natural. And what can be more natural than some of your links say “Click here” or “Read more” or simply “More” or similar such phrases.
In fact, what message does it send the search engines if nobody felt strongly enough about your website to tell their visitors to click to it?
“Click here” are powerful words. They should be used sparingly, but they can effectively be used to direct your readers where you want them to go. Don’t be shy to use them whenever the occasion calls for it.
Written by David Leonhardt
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