Build Links for SEO & Call to Action

A great thread over at WebProWorld forums discusses how to both encourage more people to click the link while making it user- and SEO-friendly. What we know about “Click here” type of links:

  • Most SEOs will tell you that they are quite useless as they don’t offer a search engine any information as to what the referred page is about (it’s like a missed opportunity: you link to a page but don’t improve its rankings by not including any keyword in the anchor text);
  • People tend to respond better to this type of links (as it basically calls to action, i.e. invites them to perform an action: “click here”, “read more”, etc);
  • “Click here” links are bad for accessibility and usability: screen reader users navigate through a page using the tab key, moving from link to link and the “click here” type of link will give them absolutely no information.

So what to do if you want to both help a page to rank higher and get people to click a link? Some possible and interesting solutions offered at the forum thread include:

Combine “click here” type with keyword-optimized type of links. Example: <a href=””>click here for more info on key words</a> or <a href=””>read more on key words here </a>.

Comments: This method seems the best one (however, I have no evidence if it calls to action as effectively as pure “Click here” link). Google is most likely to have learned to extract important information from the anchor text and never pay attention to words like “read”, “click”, “info”, etc treating them the same as the stop words. So in the examples above, only “key words” will count. Besides, this “mixed” type of links should be better for usability: they both call to action and tell what the visitor is going to see after he clicks.

You should explain what the user will find at the other end of the link, including some of the key information-carrying terms in the anchor text itself to enhance scannability and search engine optimization

Add a keyword-rich TITLE attribute to your “click here” link: <a href=”” title=”Your keywords“>click here</a>.

Comments: I doubt the effectiveness of the method though. In the past link TITLE attribute was not counted by Google at all. It is now used more often than in the past (due to WordPress which by default duplicates the post title link in its TITLE attribute) and will probably become more important soon but I haven’t seen any evidence to that yet.

On the other hand, it is more user-friendly as some screen readers will read TITLE tag along with the anchor text.

Try using an image button (calling to action) with keyword-optimized alt text.

Comments: I still have to experiment to prove my point but I am pretty sure buttons are more associated with some other type of action than a text link. Buttons usually invite to buy, search or subscribe, while links bring users to another page.

Thanks to Webnauts for pointing the thread out to me.

Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project,
Ann Smarty

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20 thoughts on “Build Links for SEO & Call to Action

  1. Doesn’t the link rank better if the keywords appear first in the link instead of “Click here for … “?

  2. Is there any evidence for this?

    ‘Google is most likely to have learned to extract important information from the anchor text and never pay attention to words like “read”, “click”, “info”, etc’

  3. @Ned, like I said in the post, I believe it doesn’t matter much as Google should have learned to extract general words like “click”, “more”, etc. Keeping them in the beginning is more encouraging to act though…

  4. I totally agree with you, Ann. Anytime you can tell a visitor what they should do and couple that with keywords in the anchor text, it’s a win for everyone.

    It prompts the visitor to click on the link, but it helps the them better understand what they’ll find when they do. And also for the site’s SEO – as having keywords in the anchor text is obviously important.

  5. Good post, Ann. I think the image option is a good compromise when you’re trying to balance design with SEO-friendliness. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to make a “Read Name of Really Long Article Title” look good.

  6. Another thing to keep in mind (something that ALL designers and SEOs should know) is that all links should stand out.

    Whether that means making links on your page bold with an underline, a contrasting background-color, or other funky variations, if your links can clearly be identified as links… you don’t really have to worry about the call to action.

  7. And what about combining both techniques: keyword in the url text and title tag? Does it make sense using one word as an url text and more information in title tag when you don’t have much space for link?

  8. I agree with the points about call to action links. The days of “Click Here” are dead, but we all know old-school Webmasters still love it.

    In general, I like to link contextual phrases with the action so it’s natural for someone to want to click the link without as much mystery behind it.

    For instance, “Follow us on Twitter for short updates on Acme Widgets…” would be an example of a call to action combined with contextual relevance.

    Good advice, thanks for sharing it!


  9. I am not quite sure about “info” in call-to-action links – from what I’ve heard from other people and seen from my own experience, the best calls to action have to include a verb. The rest of the article tho has nailed it exactly – thanks for the great writeup!

  10. @Ann

    I partially disagree with you about the title. If you correctly use the title attribute, not proposing again the same title nor the link as you said, but mixing word or using synonyms you will get better conversion.

    I did a lot of text on this, and that’s definitely what I can say basing my evidence on italian market only.