Linking for the web (training for content providers) draft material

It is common for people to use the term “click here” to get the user to do some action. This is hurts our website. Why does click here hurt our website. Google indexs our site meaning that it reads every bit of code and ranks that code for importance. The most important thing for google is what text is linked. Take for example the sentence: “For fire safety information Click Here” Google indexes Click Here as a “link Noun” and then throws it out of the index as garbage saying that click here is non descriptive. If we re-write this link to say Get your fire safety information here Google again reads the link and indexes that the city of Richmond thinks that there is important fire safety information at the following link. Then when someone searches Google for Fire Safety the link that we put in the second time will be added to the result the first example will not.

This may seem like splitting hairs a bit. But really, it’s not. There are a number of reasons to use descriptive linked text rather than click here. Here’s a few:

Clarity – Descriptive linked text makes it much clearer where the link will you while click here basically just offers the command – click here. There’s no real clarity of why you’d click here or where you’ll end up.
Scannable – If you scan most website pages, the links will stand out. They’re usually colored and styled differently than the text around them. So when you use descriptive linked text your visitors can scan your page for where they’d like to go next. Click here simply doesn’t offer the same advantage.
SEO – If you care the least bit about search engine optimization, and you should, adding keywords in the links is one method of optimizing your text for search engines. Think about the 1.7 billion instances on websites that are using click here. Is that really what they’re hoping to rank for?
Usability – As a big fan of the ‘don’t make me think’ principle of website design, I don’t want my users to have to interpret, guess or consider where my links will lead them. And that’s exactly what click here does – forces my visitors to think.
Accessibility – Remember, not all your visitors will be using beautiful, graphics browsers to view your site. Some will use braille, aural or text browsers. Think about how visitors that are blind or have reading disabilities will use your site. Asking them to ‘click here’ gives them no idea where they’re going to end up.
Readability – Isn’t it simply nicer to read content where the links have been crafted into the content rather than breaking it up with the old click here?
Printability – More people print out your web pages than you might realize. Click here just doesn’t mean anything on a printed page and often breaks up the flow of text.

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