Should You Tell Your Audience to ‘Click Here’ [Does It Work?]
When it comes to link building, the online arguments you read tend to generate more heat than light. It is standard practice to search for information, come across completely contradictory content, and become more confused than you were to begin with!
One such argument is whether you should ask readers to ‘click here.’ Proponents of the practice suggest that it is a simple call to action that yields higher click-through rates. Opponents say it is a waste of anchor text because you don’t explicitly tell readers whatthey are clicking.
This guide aims to weigh the evidence and decide if saying ‘click here’ is fruitful or a waste of time. First, let’s take a quick look at what anchor text is.
Anchor Text – A Quick Primer
Anchor text is the clickable text you see in a hyperlink. Here’s an example: Tired of failing to convert good content into traffic and reader action? Find out more about writing headlines that capture attention. One may argue that the anchor text above is too long, but that’s another story!
The purpose of anchor text is to give readers and search engines such as Google, relevant information about the link destination’s content. You have the option of using anchor text for internal linking (to other pages on your site) or external linking (other websites) purposes. This means other websites can link to you.
In general, it is a good thing to have both types of links. It is usually beneficial when other sites offer links to you. However, this process may hurttraffic if the links come from a website in an unrelated industry. For instance, it is hard to see how dozens of links to TechSors from a site selling compression socks would help us!
What Are the Different Types of Anchor Text?
- Exact Match: This is when the text includes a keyword that precisely describes the page being linked to. An example is the TechSors ‘Services’ page. Click on that link, and you see the list of services we offer.
- Partial Match: This includes a variation of the keyword on the page you link to. An example is SEO writing strategies on a page about SEO.
- Branded: This is when you use a brand name as anchor text. For instance, ‘TechSors’ linking to an article on our blog.
- Images: Google uses the text contained in a linked image’s alt attribute as the anchor text.
- Naked Link: This is a URL used as an anchor, such as https://techsors.com
- Generic: This is when someone uses a generic phrase or keyword as the anchor text. Click here is a prime example.
How to Use Anchor Text Properly for SEO
Most SEO experts say that your anchor text should adhere to the following principles:
- Relevance: One of the main things search engines look for in anchor text is link relevancy. Ideally, the topic of page 1 is closely related to that of page 2 if you link one to the other. Linking the TechSors home page to football jerseys isn’t beneficial; connecting it to SEO practices is.
- Conciseness: In general, it is better to keep anchor text short and sweet. If you could achieve it in one or two words, that’s ideal.
- Feature a Low Keyword Density: The Google Penguin algorithm update in April 2012 was the beginning of the search engine giant’s focus on keywords in the anchor text. If too many of your inbound links contain the same anchor text, Google views this suspiciously. It may think the links were acquired through black-hat practices.
- Not Generic: This seems evident as ‘relevance’ is a crucial factor. As ‘click here’ is a generic anchor text form, surely it isn’t a good idea to use it?
The Case AGAINST Using ‘Click Here’
The goal of anchor text is as apparent as you might think. You want readers to click on the link to get more information. If you use an internal link, it keeps them on your website that little bit longer. A cleverly crafted link building campaign helps establish your site’s credibility. Ultimately, it gets the prospect to take action and become a customer.
When designers run into issues when trying to add anchor text, using ‘click here’ seems like an easy solution. However, it is potentially an outdated means of using anchor text. Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
1 – The Reader Has No Idea What Lies Behind the Curtain
For the most part, people add ‘click here’ afterwriting content that might explain what they are clicking. However, the user remains unaware of what they are clicking. If you are not a well-established brand, you can expect visitors to your site to be extremely wary. We live in an age of spam, viruses, and online scams.
For instance, you have no idea where you will go if you hit the ‘click here’ link we added above. It will direct you to the TechSors process, but you have no way of knowing that. It was a popular anchor text option several years ago, but most Internet users are savvier these days.
2 – The Term ‘Click’ Is Technically Inaccurate
Internet users are as likely to ‘tap’ a link than click it! Using the term ‘click’ focuses on mouse mechanics, and could make you seem old-fashioned. 99.9% of people who go online know what a link is and can use a mouse! However, they may also have a Smartphone, or use some other method of pressing the link.
Also, there is a danger that asking readers to ‘click here’ insults their intelligence. It is perhaps a tenuous argument, but one vociferously put forth by opponents of the practice.
3 – It Isn’t Action Orientated
Copywriters know the importance of using ‘action’ words to get visitors to take the desired action. Which of the following makes you more likely to act?
- Click here to read our guide to SEO.
- Read our exclusive SEO guide now.
Most people scan content and are more likely to take note of option #2.
4 – It Isn’t SEO-Friendly
Google places great emphasis on the strength of your links when they decide where you lie in their search engine results. By adding ‘click here,’ the only thing you’re doing is letting Google know there is a link. It is better SEO practice to include a relevant keyword.
- Click here to get in touch with TechSors.
- Let’s meet! Contact TechSors today.
#2 is punchier and links to our Contact Us page. It does a better job of helping Google determine link relevancy.
The Case FOR Using ‘Click Here’
There WAS a strong case for the process at one point. Unfortunately, it gradually weakened over time, and now there is little left in its favor. One study used to promote the ‘click here’ practice involved research by Marketing Sherpa. The brand was using the term ‘Continue here’ as its CTA from its newsletters to the articles on its site.
It decided to test three other phrases:
- Click to continue
- Continue to article
- Read more
Ultimately, #1, the closest to ‘click here,’ resulted in a click-through increase of over 8.5%. On the surface, this seems like great news. There is only one problem:
The Study Took Place in 2007!!!
This was well over a decade ago. It was an era where insulting the intelligence of consumers was standard, accepted practice. You told them what to do without ever being specific! It was a simpler time, one where you could stuff an article full of keywords and rank #1 on Google.
Those days are long gone. So has the era where asking people to ‘click here’ was a good idea. A succession of Google algorithm updates has rendered the process, and many others, null and void.
Google continues to create updates that confound and infuriate website owners. One thing that’s clear from these algorithm changes is that the search engine continues to monitor links. Here is what you can do regarding anchor text.
Steer Clear of Excessive Anchor Text Use
The Penguin algorithm was known for being triggered by anchor text overuse. The process has continued throughout the frequent updates since. Even today, it is imperative that you get creative with the use of anchor text. There are tools such as Majestic SEO that enable you to check out anchor text distribution, for example.
If you see an excessive amount of keyword-rich anchor text, you need to take action. Yes, we did say that using keywords was crucial. Yet in the infuriating world of website building, there is alwaysa tipping point from ‘ideal’ to ‘complete and utter mess.’
At present, proper anchor text practice involves the use of the various options we outlined above. You can include a variety of branded terms. Here is an example:
- Adam Perl
The above are variations of the TechSors brand.
You can also use generic anchors, but ‘website’ is probably a better option than ‘click here.’ There is also the naked link option, or else you can add the full title of the page you’re linking to, such as:
The above link takes you directly to one of our blog posts with that title. Other ways to add diversity to anchor text include:
- Web Directories
- Press Releases
- Guest Posting
One final tip is to avoid pointing too many of your links to the same page. Some link builders continue to lead a substantial number of links to a website’s homepage. This looks exceptionally unnatural, especially if your site has a lot of content. You can expect to incur the wrath of Google!
Final Thoughts on Telling Your Audience to ‘Click Here’
The reality is that we no longer live in 2007. The world has changed in so many ways, so it is foolish to assume that SEO practices more than a decade old could continue to work. Some ‘old school’ hacks continue to bear fruit, but those are few and far between.
Using the term ‘click here’ to get readers to hit a link is not one of them. The modern Internet user is more suspicious than before and isn’t about to go to a page when they have no idea what it contains.
It is also bad news for search engine performance in any case. At one time, getting a link from a high PR page was extremely valuable. It didn’t matter whether the site in question had a close connection to yours. Today, it is an entirely different scenario.
Now, relevance is an essential component of a good ranking. Websites that get most of its backlinks from closely-related sites should perform well. Sites that internally link to relevant topics could also succeed.
Writing ‘click here’ doesn’t achieve any of these benefits, and is a tactic best consigned to the SEO history books.