Writing link text
ALPHA. This guidance is provided as a general starting point for anyone designing online content, or working on digital projects that involve designing new content or reworking old content. It is a work in progress, and we welcome feedback and suggestions to improve the advice. Contact us with your feedback.
People scan web pages, and link text stands out. Make it work for you.
Use keywords in your link text. Those are the words people are looking for.
Make sure keywords appear to the left of the screen, at, or near the beginning of your link text. This is called frontloading. People scan down the left and you want them to see the keywords immediately. You also have more control that way over where they appear on different devices and screen sizes.
Search engines also prioritise keywords in link text.
Links help people find supporting or related information, but they also send people away from your page. Help people make those decisions more strategically by giving them a clear idea of what to expect when they click away. For example:
- Write descriptive and meaningful link text that accurately describes the content you are linking to.
- Do not use ‘click here’, ‘read more’ or other generic words in links.
- Never use a URL for link text.
Link text should make sense when read out of context. This helps people when scanning pages.
Being clear about the link purpose is also a criteria for meeting web content accessibility guidelines.
Links are also navigation tools, and help people move around your site. There are some detailed guidelines in the Govt.nz styleguide to help you style links consistently. This covers placement and linking to non-html documents.
Wherever possible, we recommend placing links below the sentence or list they refer to.
Separating links from text also means they are easier to select on mobile devices.
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