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=”http://www.domain.com/page-url”>click here for more info on key words</a> or <a href=”http://www.domain.com/page-url”>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=”http://www.domain.com/page-url” 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.