Does Telling Someone to
“Click Here” Work?

Click Here

I’ve always been a big proponent of having actionable anchor text for links when I really want someone to click. From a copywriting standpoint, it’s a no brainer—it’s been proven time and time again that if you want someone to do something, you’ll get better results if you tell them exactly what to do.

Simple as that.

So, it catches me off guard when people question something so fundamental. I’ve had people email me to settle disputes over the issue, such as the time a reader told me about an argument he was having with his boss. The employee thought it was archaic to tell people to “click here,” and his boss thought otherwise.

I politely replied that for once the boss was right. I never heard back.

Another reader once chastised me for wasting anchor text with the words “click here,” even though my primary goal for the link was to get people to click (shocking, I know). This is when I first realized that Google is truly making people lose their minds. Somehow, this person no longer saw links as navigation for actual people to use; they only exist to pass on “juice” according to an algorithm that no one outside of Mountain View fully understands.

Someone has the wrong idea.

It’s been a bit since I’ve seen any independent testing data on the use of actionable link anchor text (outside of my own), so I thought I’d share the results of a Marketing Sherpa experiment performed with their newsletter readers. The goal was to find out if the wording used in hyperlinks could make a difference in click through rates.

The answer is yes. They found that the right two or three “click” link words can lift click through rates by more than 8%.

Here are the results:

  • “Click to continue”: 8.53%
  • “Continue to article”: 3.3%
  • “Read more”: (-)1.8%

Since there’s no relevant difference between an HTML email message and a web page, the lesson is clear. Not only should you use actionable anchor text if you really want someone to click, but you should also tell people to take the exact action you want them to perform in order to get the best response. Click here to read the original Marketing Sherpa article in its entirety, and have a good Monday. :-)

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  1. And before anyone else says it… I’ve already emailed Chris Pearson and told him he’s making us look bad with the “Continue Reading” anchor text he uses for this blog theme. :)

  2. Changing it now (on the old sturdy Cutline) ;)

    Always wondered about this, thanks for the pointer B.

  3. What about screen reader visitors – if all the links are ‘click here’ instead of something descriptive, are they not punished with a lot of ‘click here’, click here, click here and no sense of why/what’s beyond the link?

    And yes, the juice aspect is one drilled into us by SEO experts. Are they wrong? Where’s the balance?

    Not a real link:
    “Click here for to learn more about our copyblogging services”

    - can work, but now I want to get rid of the underline, too much of eye-sore. CSS can do that, but now, are we in trouble for breaking standard metaphor?

    Help?

    • Use title tags for screen readers. If you’re offering a free ebook and your anchor text reads, “Click here,” your title atrribute should be the ebook’s title, for example. I tend to set my anchor text as, “Click here to download my free ebook, ‘How to Combine SEO and Usability,’” and then either use the same text for the title attribute or just the name of the ebook.

  4. Thanks for writing this, Brian. Now I’ll have something to point to when the boss tells me that we should ALWAYS use keyword-rich anchor text, instead of “click here,” no matter what the situation.

    Often, “click here” is the best anchor text to use, especially when you’re trying to make a sale!

  5. the ‘click here to continue’ type of tags are drastically different than context aware links.

    When a user is reading an article and gets to the end but wants more, they need to be told where to get it and how, I think this falls into Test Results you describe.

    However; I fully believe that ‘click here’ links within an article do nothing but subtract from the value of the content. They add unecissary breaks/pauses. Our browsers (or readers…) are already smart enough to know the difference between text and a link and the users already know what to do with a link. If you mention something noteworthy and that particular text is the link out I think it is much more effective (forget the indexing algorithms) than using text such as ‘click here for more information’.

    I certainly see your point (and agree) for certain situations in which the user is looking for direction. I think the argument you are presenting is slightly miss leading given that it only applies for the one type of link.

    I would be more interested in a similar study on links within the actual articles themselves.

  6. I agree completely. I see nothing wrong with helping people do what you want them to do.

    I once put a link on my site with the anchor text, “DO NOT CLICK THIS!”. (And trust me, a LOT of people clicked it.) It lead to a sassy little “I told you not to click that” page. I moved the link around and monitored the click-throughs to see where people noticed it the most. Helped me determine where to place links I wanted people to click.

  7. What would have been wrong with linking ‘Click here to read the original Marketing Sherpa article in its entirety’ – why did you have to stop at just ‘Click here’.

    I am not against using those phrases, and I respect your opinion, as sometimes they make more sense and will eliminate redundancy, but just using ‘Click here’ all over the place seems tacky to me. It gets to a point where they turn into the animated GIF/flash ads all over the place trying to grab your attention at every turn – I eventually just turn those things off and avoid them.

    I’m sure studies could be done all over the place to prove me wrong, but I would rather stick to a more descriptive link than litter a page with ‘Click heres’

  8. Hi,
    I wrote a blog post about the use of “click here” on travel websites….. last week…

    I guess any blogger who is trying to “stem the click here tide” is a click hero?

  9. Why don’t you just use buttons, if you’re looking for a call-to-action that isn’t already referenced in your text? You seem to be breaking the very fundamental nature of hyperlinks so that you can meet a slimy advertising need – to trick the user’s eye into looking at certain pieces of your content at the cost of consistent, usable design.

    I’m certainly not saying that putting attention on the pieces of your site that bring revenue is wrong. I’m saying that crapping on convention and misusing the tools in your belt is wrong.

    And at that, should buttons be labeled “Click here”? Should body copy be labeled “Read here”? Should headers be labeled “Ignore here”?

    And another thing … text like “Continue to article” isn’t the same as just “Click here”. There is actual meaning to the former, whereas the latter is 100% redundant, semantically, with the fact that it is a link.

  10. I love the line “Google is making people stupid”. Brilliant, and true. So many webmasters/bloggers are more worried about SEO and phrasing and ratios and stats than they are about, oh say, CONTENT.

    Very well said. Stumbled and Dugg.

  11. I work as a technical editor for web content, and part of our editorial standards require that we insert “Click here” at the beginning of any link. Something like “Click here to access this article” or what have you.

    We’re required to do it so that we follow ADA standards for blind people. It’s so people who use a voice-based browser (or however they manage it, I really have no idea) they know where the links are.

  12. Setting aside the various and sundry reasons “click here” links are bad, I would suggest you’re missing the bigger takeaway from the test. Out of the three phrases above, “click here” may be the strongest call to action – not that any of them are very strong.

    Anyway, I would suggest that if you’re relying on “click here”, for links, you’re still failing. You need a stronger call to action.

    Also, “click to continue” isn’t exactly the same thing as “click here”. The former is telling what the results of the action will be, the latter simply requests the action. Key difference.

    Now, for the problems with “click here” links:
    1) They’re bad for accessibility
    2) They’re don’t accomodate for how users scan pages looking for actions within links (eyetracking studies bear this out)
    3) They’re insulting to the user’s intelligence.

  13. Nate, nothing in this post is my opinion. And no one said to use “click here” all over the place. You only use it when you really want someone to click. Most editorial links are not like that, so you would use descriptive anchor text in the vast majority of situations.

    Baxter, on the other hand, is giving us nothing but opinion. You’re making a huge set of assumptions, Baxter, with no data to back them up. Your opinion versus testing is a lopsided battle that you lose.

    And of course “click here” and “click to continue” are different, because the context is different. But the operative word is “click.”

    If you really want someone to click, tell them to click. Period.

  14. Great reminder of the value of testing.

    My own tendency has been to avoid saying “click here” for aesthetic reasons (mainly for the aesthetic reasons that Nate and Baxter refer to). It’s nice to get a kick in the ego every now & then and remember that testing rules & opinion drools :)

    As far as the “insulting to intelligence” argument, remember that while your results may vary, Sherpa’s readers are generally very web-savvy marketing professionals. If “click here” were going to be insulting to a group of people, wouldn’t they be one of the most likely groups to be insulted? And yet, look at the results…

  15. However; I fully believe that ‘click here’ links within an article do nothing but subtract from the value of the content. They add unecissary breaks/pauses.

    Randy, you only use it as a call to action when you really want someone to click. Let’s face it, as much as bloggers love to link, most of the time they don’t really care if you actually do click away, right? In fact, they probably hope you won’t. :)

    But think about a situation where you want someone to continue reading, or you want to drive them to a landing page or affiliate merchant. Those are the situations where you need to use “click here” to get the highest response.

  16. Creating actionable links is effective when understanding the context. MarketingSherpa used a single teaser intro and then leaving the reader hanging with “Click to continue”.

  17. It’s just like “Please turn page” at the bottom of all those successful sales letters.
    Some things just work.

  18. I disagree with the sentiment of the post and agree entirely with Lee.

    I also expect that test results you cite are testing for a very specific outcome, though it may not be the primary goal for all websites everywhere. Indeed, coherent design, accessibility and many other factors must be taken into account — click-throughs are not the final word in copy writing.

  19. I agree that click here is effective. People might not like it, as they might think Billy Mayes tacky, but both are effective at initiating action.

    I’m more in favor of “ClickMe,” a 1-word link telling what to do and what to do it to…not to mention personification added for flavoring.

    Rock on
    Shane

  20. click-throughs are not the final word in copywriting

    They are when that’s the goal of your copy in a particular context. I thought I wrote a very narrow article related to a very narrow scenario, but many seem to be extrapolating beyond what I actually said.

    It’s funny how emotionally invested people are in their beliefs about how things *should* be. Most successful people are only interested in what works, and I suppose I was writing this article for them. :)

  21. Not only should you use actionable anchor text if you really want someone to click, but you should also tell people to take the exact action you want them to perform in order to get the best response.

    Wise words indeed, Brian!

    Click here to increase the traffic and advertising revenue of my blog :D

  22. Chris, I’m going to let you get away with that just this once. :)

  23. Perfect timing on this article, Brian…

    In preparation for my blog’s (re)launch, I’d been going through and scrubbing out “redundant text” like “click here” or “click me to continue.” It just seemed unnecessary for an experienced web user.

    It seems I’ve now learned my lesson :-). Going to go back through and add it back to important locations (and especially at the end of post excerpts on the homepage!).

    Thanks!

  24. OMG!!! I have been using “Click Here to Bid on paintings instead of all that fancy stuff, thinking,” oh, I am such a low tech idiot!”. I just thought, make it simple. Ask them do do what you want them to do….You have made me feel terrific!! Now click on my name to see what I do. :) Then you can smile and Click to bid. Maybe it works after all. All best, Jan
    PS. I love your site. Helps me a lot.

  25. Using click here as the only link text means you can only have one per page (from an accessibility standpoint – screen readers often read the link text and having more than one link with click here text would be redundant and difficult to use, at least if they point to different locations).

  26. Even from an SEO point of view it can be wise to use “click here” links every once in a while. Over-optimizing your anchor text profile isn’t something you want to do, as it might raise all kinds of flags.

  27. I vigorously disagree with teh “Google is making people retarded” since there were stupid people long before those zany California kids misspelt googol. What Google does is enable stupid people to clickslide somewhat further along the intertubes than they otherwise would venture.

    P.S. I really like the bold red text, it’s easy on the eyes.

  28. That is so wrong.
    Why don’t you use “Click here” in your navigation, and other links? After all, you want users to click them..

  29. this is a doozy of a tip. Thanks for the specific tips and advice. Your headlines from the other day really helped me out for a recent sales letter.

    :)

  30. I think that “Click to Read More” should have been an option in the test. I think it could have scored aggressively as well.

    Furthermore, you should not have used “Click here”. You should have used “Click to read”. The issue with “Click here” isn’t Click in my mind, but instead its the word Here. Here is a useless word. It doesn’t tell you anything about the destination. Continue tells you something, Read tells you something, Here doesn’t.

  31. Read This. :)

    Couldn’t resist, sorry.

    Have you ever tested these against more specific calls to action, like ‘learn more’ or ‘click for next step’? Is the word ‘click’ the essential word?

  32. Brian, you know (or should know) I’m a big fan of yours, and have been almost since day one. There had to come a time sooner or later when I disagreed with you on something, and today’s the day.

    That said, I don’t ENTIRELY disagree, just mostly. I don’t really dispute what marketing sherpa found. I’m just disagreeing on the takeaway. What I got from reading it is that a strong call to action will work better than a passive or vague phrase. Sometimes “click here” might be that call to action, but most times one can probably do better.

    I think that’s the larger message: If you want someone to do something, don’t be wishy-washy about it. “Click here” links aside, I suspect you’d agree on that point.

    And I’d have to disagree with your suggestions that I’m making a huge set of assumptions based on opinion. There’s very little opinion in my post. Yes, I do have a differing opinion on the most significant message found in the marketing sherpa report, but beyond that:

    Click here links ARE bad for accessibility. It’s a fact. Much smarter people than I have explained why at great length.

    Click here links DON’T accomodate scanning – again, there’s A LOT of research backing this up. Users scan for links, looking for specific calls to action. So, one “click here” could be hugely effective, and a second and third would (probably) show a huge drop-off.

    They’re insulting to the user’s intelligence. OK, that one’s just opinion. You got me there.

    Anyway, I rarely post since I rarely have anything to add, but always enjoy. Thanks.

  33. Can’t you just throw a “nofollow” on the link if you’re worried about anchor text?

    Otherwise, I agree with Joost – you don’t want over-optimization – even for internal link anchor text.

  34. Gamermk nailed it. It’s all about the useless reference of “here” to itself.

  35. Just remember not to be a more on. Words matter, right Brian? ;-)

  36. It seems to me that, even with the goal of marketing rather than usability, “click” can’t be the “exact action” we want someone to take. It can’t be that because not everyone clicks. Blind users don’t click. Users with certain motor disabilities don’t click. People using phones/handhelds probably won’t be clicking either. The “exact action” is the one that defines the end-point of the link, not whatever mechanism the reader uses to activate the link. The content creator has no control over the last, after all :)

  37. Heh. Yeah that’s true – I “tap”. (Wacom tablet)

  38. Gamermk nailed it.

    As soon as Gamermk tests it, I’ll take your word for that. Otherwise, “click here” has served me well over the years, and I don’t intend to change without having a tested alternative that outperforms. :)

    So, one “click here” could be hugely effective, and a second and third would (probably) show a huge drop-off.

    Baxter, thanks for the follow-up. Just so you know, I would never use more than one “click here.” That would be silly.

    I’d also like to see some of the research you mention. I doubt I would end up disagreeing with any of it in practice. As I mentioned above, I thought I kept the focus of this post narrow enough so people would understand how and when it’s appropriate, but I guess people take away the message they want, and then comment about what they want.

    Look at the post itself. If my goal was to drive traffic to the Sherpa article, that’s a way to use one single “click here” link to do it. Very simple stuff.

  39. It can’t be that because not everyone clicks.

    And yet, “click” is what works. Don’t shoot the messenger. :)

  40. I use both. It really depends on the content of the site and if I want them to remain on my site or pass on through to something else.

    Besides, what do people learn and love to do first on a computer anyhow? Click.

  41. I’m no professional, but it seems to me a good rule of thumb is that if it’s an internal link, use “Click here” or similar, and if it’s an external link, use something descriptive.

    The reasons being, If it’s external: a) It helps google understand it (regardless as to your ideology on how links should work, the reality is it helps google better index the internet) and the owner of the external site would probably appreciate it b) Semantically, an external link serves as more of a footnote or a citation, so it makes sense to link the text (or part of it) that you are citing. c) What do you care? (unless you’re getting paid for referrals)

    As for internal, the rule is more loose. Navigation list don’t need a click here after every list item, etc.

  42. I believe if falls more in how you address items you link to.

    Instead of sticking the data results link at the end, I’ve found it better to offset it with em dashes after you first reference it.

    Ex. According to XYZ study — “Link to study” — blah blah blah.

    It’s important to provide the link while people are still interested and not bury at the bottom of an article.

  43. #2 from a Top 10 List of Web Design Mistakes from Jakob Neilsen:

    Don’t use “click here” or other non-descriptive link text.

    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/designmistakes.html

  44. As a senior web consultant, I advise my clients never to use “click here” for several reasons. First, to a sophisticated web user, it looks amateurish, like you don’t know how to use hypertext. Second, it can render a blind person unable to use the web page, because blind users frequently select hyperlinks off of an audio “menu” of the link text, so they can’t figure out which one they want if their “menu” says “click here click here click here click here click here.” Third, this could lead to a lawsuit from a blind person.

  45. I appreciate your article, but..

    I don’t like the way ‘click here’ clobbers readability of most sentences – it often looks really contrived.

    The most telling reason I never started using ‘click here’, though, is that usability test scripts complain about links doing different things but having the same label. Since I screen for usability and standards (infrequently), the ‘click here’ is an interesting concept, but don’t look for it in my work.

  46. I tapped here and scrolled down to leave this comment.
    A plain Click Here is no help to anyone. I think the word Click works fine but it needs to be connected with something. Click for More, Click to see…etc.

  47. quick disclaimer: i’m a huge opponent of ‘click here’ links. baxter, if you don’t mind i would like to piggy-back on your points. secondly, i’m a designer, not a writer… if that makes a difference.

    how many of you looked at the “creative” that M.S. used? frankly, it’s awful. i wouldn’t dare click on anything on the page in the first place. i can only imagine those that did click thru were the people that are actually being made stupid by google. a well designed and thoughtfully written piece would have likely seen a higher click thru rate anyway.

    this test needs to really be done in a similarly controlled environment, but with quality content with a decent design; not something that looks like spam.

  48. I’m going to have to disagree as well, especially for the sake of Accessibility. I also agree with comments about text-rich links being easier to scan.

    Let’s turn to Jakob Nielsen, who I guarantee has observed many more usability tests than Copyblogger. See the Good Luck in User Performance section in Outliers and Luck in User Performance.

    Sure, some of Google’s guidelines make life uncomfortable for web site owners, but this particular guideline actually improves the quality of the Web for all involved.

  49. People generally are a bit dumb (or clickably unadventurous)

    They tend to need instruction before action a lot of the time.

    Blind people shouldn’t be the reason to change accepted and time tested wording, thats reverse discrimination, get on with life as normal, people adapt and adjust, if they don’t like it they can go elsewhere.

    click “here” to prove it.

  50. Good article.

    I’m probably repeating a lot of what’s been said, but I have to say that simple “click here” text is quite poor. Not only is it poor for SEO, it’s simply poor for usability.

    If you’re a page skimmer, links will stand out to you. If you see a link that says “click here”, then you are forced to read the context around that link to find out why you should actually click here.

    Placing the context OF the link IN the link is the best way to go. While you don’t want a 30 word sentence, you want the link to contain two key elements:

    1. The action
    2. The context

    Then you have a very powerful link, which will be received well by skimmers and spiders alike :)

  51. Let’s turn to Jakob Nielsen, who I guarantee has observed many more usability tests than Copyblogger

    Jakob Neilsen is not a marketer. His thoughts on usability are good when he sticks to presenting data, bad when he confuses his abstract preferences with what works in the real world.

    I make a living making the right choices when it comes to this stuff (and it’s not from this blog), and Jakob makes a living pontificating. You choose who you want to listen to…. it’s all fine with me. :)

  52. Jeepers Mr. Peepers, with all the problems in the world, you guys are debating “click here”?! OK, “click here”.

  53. I hate “Click Here” links because as I scan the contents of a website I have no CLUE where the hell the link will take me.

    In the final paragraph of your link you should have the anchor on the text “the original Marketing Sherpa article” and not some random link that I will never click on.

    Maybe you think you are some kind of genius – but your “Click here” bullshit is a violation of accessibility standards.

    see:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#link-text

    “Good link text should not be overly general; don’t use “click here.” Not only is this phrase device-dependent (it implies a pointing device) it says nothing about what is to be found if the link if followed. Instead of “click here”, link text should indicate the nature of the link target, as in “more information about sea lions” or “text-only version of this page”.”

  54. Brian’s argument makes perfect sense. One should use “Click here” wherever there is a need to click. It’s just like another action word and copywriting anyways puts so much stress on using action words.

  55. I have always been led to believe that it’s more an accessibility issue. If you take the links out of context as someone might who is using a screen reader, then a link with “click here” has no context and thus has no meaning.

    You make a compelling argument, but not one that would stand the rigures of W3C or WCAG.

  56. Great article and something I’ve been looking for info on for a long time. To me it’s common sense to tell the person what you want them to do. It means there’s no confusion.

  57. Baxter, thanks for the follow-up. Just so you know, I would never use more than one “click here.” That would be silly.

    But that is irrelevant – What if I had many articles I wanted to link to on one page. Going my your logic I could only use “click here” once and the rest would require some other text. Pointless.

    Look at the post itself. If my goal was to drive traffic to the Sherpa article, that’s a way to use one single “click here” link to do it. Very simple stuff.

    Yes, but you also would like for the article to be posted to Digg, right? – so why did you opt for the link to read “Vote for it at Digg” as opposed to “Click Here to Vote for it at Digg”

    Also you have not addressed the Accessibility issue of using “click here”. You may have an axe to grind against Jakob, but what of the W3C?

    http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/noClickHere

  58. Great tip. Thanks a lot!

  59. Stop telling me what to do !!
    Seriously you have to ask or tell people what you want them to do. Anchor text links referring to anoher post or blog are one thing and i think its understood that the visitor may click through to find your other content, but when you want to monetize or have a visitor do something you want them to ASk or TEll is the best route.
    Oh by the way this story is front page on Stumble, you cheeky money brian

  60. Google did not make people retarded…they already were.

    What is retarded is the way Google and SEO people get hung up on these things.

    A website is for the user, not the algorithms.

    When dumb Johnny average websurfer can’t figure out what to do to advance to the next webpage, it’s up to the webmaster to tell him by inserting a “Click here” message.

    Stop worrying about Google and SEO. Start worrying about making it easy for web visitors to find the content.

  61. I agree with the gist of this post. I use “Click here to add to basket” and similar links, as they are a specific call to action. That doesn’t mean that every link on a page has “click here” and I don’t think that’s what’s being suggested. It only applies to specific calls to action.

    I wouldn’t use just “click here” in isolation, as it doesn’t make it clear what the user will get if they click.

    Some other comments on the comments:
    1) Designers who remove underlines on hyperlinks are the real villains;
    2) SEO “experts” who turn interesting copy into marketing garbage, just to get up the search rankings, surely don’t realise that it’s better to have fewer people reach the site if you increase the number of people actually performing the call to action;
    3) Jakob Nielsen may know about usability as an academic subject, but if everyone followed his recommendations it would be a very dull web indeed;
    4) I think blind people will know what to do with a “click here to…” type link, even though they don’t click!

    Best wishes,
    David.

  62. That makes sense as long as there is only one link you really really want someone to click.

    You wouldn’t want to have your main navigation links replaced by clickheres? Would you?

    It does’t work in cases when people look for a certain link. Anchor text stands out and meaningful text is easy to spot. Otherwise reader is forced to read entire context (not gonna happen).

  63. I strongly agree with everyone that’s made the points about accessibility, poor writing, and making users feel like they need their hands held. Here’s a perfect example of an accessibility nightmare that “click here” can cause which I stumbled over just five minutes after reading this post.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelinlibrarian/1401364983/

  64. I think that there’s a little bias due to the point of view. Click here isn’t always right, exactly like it isn’t exactly wrong.

    If you have:
    . inline descriptive links (i.e. “if you remind the last article…”)
    . better descriptions (i.e. “Download here”)
    . better labels (i.e. “About”)

    Using ‘click here’ is obviously not right.

    Instead, if you have:
    . just the first part of the article (i.e. “Click here to read more”)
    . generic go on message (i.e. “Click here to continue”)

    And similar, it’s of course good to add a little ‘click here’.

    There’s hardly a general rule that guides this kind of situations. The issue has been raised a lot of time ago when in long articles that doesn’t require ‘click here’ included inline links with “(link)” or “(click here)” annotations, that were just plain annoying. So, this exaggerated practice created a rule that forbid it (exaggerating it again).

    As most things in this life, rightness is in the middle. :P

  65. I have to disagree with this article.

    Keep in mind that the MarketingSherpa report is talking about e-mail and using newsletters to drive people to a website. The author seems to assume that this extends to links within a website.

    In a website, using “click here” for a link is not only bad for Google, it is also bad for Section 508 accessibility standards. Imagine using a screen reader because you are visually impaired and hearing “click here,” “click here,” “click here” for every link.

  66. Great post! I’ve always wondered, since I always used to use “Click Here” but then heard it was bad practice. But it makes sense…some web users need a real obvious command ;)

    But Kevin Wohler brings up a good point, also. I guess we have to still keep in mind what audience our site is aiming for and make the best choice based on that. Maybe instead of making the link just “click here”, it would be beneficial for the whole link to be “click here to read the rest of this article”, in other words the call to action (click here) followed by where the action will take you (read the rest of the article)

  67. I think the point of this post was not to get over-obsessive about the anchor text even when “Click here” is heavily needed. Anchor text is very relevant and I agree with the SEO/accessibility issues of using/not using anchor text and for that the solution might be — I think somebody mentioned it in the comments — to use an image instead of text and in the ALT attribute you can put all the words you feel like putting.

  68. Well look at it this way:

    I have a website page with a link to another page. I want the end user to click through to the second page.

    If I use “CLICK HERE” slightly more people will click the link the if I use:

    “Article on [stuff] continues on page 2″ *Slightly* less people will click through, however slightly more people will go to that page directly from the search engine as now page 2 has usable keywords so the SE’s know what page 2 is about *slightly* more then if I had just a “CLICK HERE” type link.

    The very, very easy way to get the best of both worlds is to have different links with different text to the ‘next page’. Its not really rocket science.

    As for the “Click to continue” winning over the rest that is because out of those 3 links this is the one that makes most sense- its not word ‘Click’ that is doing the magic here is the “Continue” in combination with another C starting word. *C*lick to *C*ontinue sounds better then the other options. “Read more” did poorly as its nonsense (read more what?), the “Continue to Article” has too many Syllables and no alliteration. So out of the 3 options “Click to Continue” was always going to win the human vote. But then its not always about the humans in this internet game.

    Still an interesting read non the less.

  69. I guess, one doesn’t need a study to validate this… anyway now we all have one to quote, even 8% sounds such a cool number.

    There are all kind of people on the internet; everyone is not a evolved user like the bloggers or the web designers or for that matter the so called internet buiness guys.

    Many new users actually struggle thru their way on a site… a “tool tip”, “anchor text” with a button looking thingie is definite help for a someone to move on and click.

    Thanks for bringing in this number to us.

  70. I agree, *click here* anchor text has it’s place. There are times when that’s just what you want the reader to do — even when it doesn’t look pretty. Thanks!

  71. > [Jakob Nielsen] confuses his abstract preferences with what works in the real world.

    He does a lot of usability tests with real users and gets his ‘evangelism’ from that.

  72. I think it makes total sense, but I personally click on links with anchor text that describes the link…and rarely on “click here” links.

  73. WOW, that’s crazy. Read More gets negative hits.

  74. To me, “click here” is confusing. I don’t know what will happend if i click it… but ok, good article. Statistics says it all… but i’m still against it :P

  75. To read many more amazing comments just like this one, click one this
    keyword to learn more!
    It always works for me!

  76. I think “A Wenham” has it right–create multiple options to navigate, and then *you can do your own testing* to determine which one works best in your context.

    If you’ve got a Big Red Fez that you want folks to click on, at some point it’s smart to just tell them to click on it. But that doesn’t mean there’s no other way to get there.

    As Brian C. mentioned, perhaps a bit plaintively, he’s not advocating a whole page of “Click heres.” His main point (it seems to me) is that we can’t take X or Y or Z as gospel without testing to make certain. I’m sure he’d say the same for any tip that he gave you here–these are copywriting techniques that are put forward because they’ve traditionally tested well, but that doesn’t mean you don’t continue to test.

    Please for the love of god don’t stop underlining hyperlinks, though. Or if you do, be sure you test it with users who haven’t seen your site, and watch them wave the mouse around (or not) to try to figure out what they can click on. Not pretty.

  77. Maybe this observation needs to be narrowed down to previews/split-article/multi-page article constructions and not generalized (as some people seem to be doing) to all hyperlinks in all contexts.

  78. Accessibility doesn’t have to be compromised if you’re working with a web page (email is its own Pandora’s box ).

    Russ Weakley’s ‘Simple, accessible “more” links’:
    http://www.maxdesign.com.au/presentation/more-links/

  79. so why did you opt for the link to read “Vote for it at Digg” as opposed to “Click Here to Vote for it at Digg”

    Because what I want them to do is *vote.* Clicking alone accomplishes nothing for me, so I tell them exactly what I want them to do (just as I advised in the article). The only people who will be willing to comply with that request understand the clicking part. A big part of this has to do with understanding who you’re talking to.

  80. Just a point of clarification on sight-impaired users, as they scan a page similarly to sighted users. They use a function in screen readers to list links, which reads the link text or the link title if it is available. Lists of ‘Click Here’ are very redundant and pointless if there is no context included with the link.

    I think the test cited in Marketing Sherpa is interesting, but it is only a valid test for those three options. I would be more interested to see the results against more creatively written calls to action.

    While I do not see a problem of ‘Click Here’ being used once in a while, seeing it used more than once or twice on a page is redundant, and not in a good way. The user can only click one or the other, and the more it is used on a page, the more it distracts.

    ‘Click Here’ is an action, but it also needs a reason. Combining the action and the reason provides a very powerful context for the reader.

  81. Brian,
    how about adding a title tag to the click here-link? That would give users an actionable anchor text, while also catering for those who need more ‘departure’ information (and of course our beloved search engines…)

    (if this comment appears several times, please excuse me and delete duplicates. [long explanation omitted ])

  82. Working with SEO experts I’ve been advised that using ‘click here’ as the actual link is a waste of a good link. A link containing keyword rich content that links through to a page all about that keyword is loved loved loved by Google. So how about a compromise?

    How about ‘Click here to find out why data management is essential for your business’ and have the word data management underlined (or in a different colour font) rather than click here?

  83. Great advice… with all of the ‘SEO’ tips and tricks out there it is sometimes easy to forget that site visitors are human beings. So much of the internet and web design has to do with psychology. SEO techniques should ALWAYS be considered secondary.

  84. Could I suggest you take a look at a suggestion I have that could allow you your ‘click heres’ but not at the complete expense of accessibility and/or search?

    http://tinyurl.com/2pr72v

    Thanks – hope you find it useful (and maybe even take it on board!)

  85. @Sarah

    Your comment makes sense. I think the trick is not to use click here every time there is a link. Instead, save it for your call to action – otherwise it will lose impact. It’s exactly the same as “Phone Now” on QVC. Everything else can be a standard link.

    @Alex
    I agree entirely – so many pages have been so heavily SEO’d that they don’t read well when humans use them, and are little better than lists of keywords disguised as links and copy. No wonder many (most?) sites fail to provide a return on investment despite being high in the search rankings.

  86. Cool stuff

  87. Brian,

    Nicely done. A simple concept many miss. I like the test results though, and will use “Click To Continue” more often. I noticed in these results that it seems that the text should not “tell” a reader to do an action (i.e. read more) but rather just inform them of the result IF they decide to follow the instructions in the text.

    Joseph Ratliff
    Author of The Profitable Business Edge 2

  88. this article is cute, but boils down to: given 3 different choices (“Click here”, “Click to continue”, “Read more”) the audience of a sector-specific newsletter responded more to “Click here” links. from that you seem to extrapolate an absolute “see, ‘click here’ works, i was right all along”. the data is inconclusive, since it only compares three out of a far wider range of options, and i’m sure a fourth, stronger, context-specific, active call to action that doesn’t necessarily require ‘click here’ can be found (if it was the case of an extract, with link to the full article, i would have loved to see comparison to something like “Read the full article”, appropriately highlighted with styling to really stand out).

  89. Aside from all the criticisms already mentioned, I can’t understand why you are so confident drawing conclusions from a single study that, while explaining methodology, does not indicate sample size (unless I am missing out on the full report somehow by not being a member).

  90. Hi Mark. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this comment thread (like right above you), I make a living marketing online, and I do rigorous testing so I can make more money. “Click” always wins in my own testing for actionable links, but it’s nice to see someone publish independent results.

  91. I agree I do need to test, but frankly it’s pretty obvious that “Here” is the problem. None of the statistical data you present uses it either.

    There is nothing wrong with actionable words used in links. There is a problem with useless words like “Here” being used in links.

  92. What I took from this post is that “click here” works as a CALL TO ACTION. It’s direct without being pushy. Personally I would want to qualify it a little, but that’s just me.

    If I was going to buy, say, an e-book, I would feel far more predisposed to click a link that said “Click here to buy the e-book” rather than “Buy the e-book”.

    Even without extra text in the link, I think people are missing the fact that you can describe a link outside of the linkable text itself.

    “Want to learn more about copywriting? _Click here!_”
    “This article is worth reading about. _Click here._”

    I wouldn’t just put “click here” randomly around the page, and I don’t think that’s what Brian is endorsing, though some people seem to have taken it that way. Copywriters should leave the reader with an idea of what they want them to do (ie. buy), so the ultimate result of “click here” should be fairly obvious. Nobody would structure every link and navigation button as click here; that’s a strawman argument if ever I’ve seen one.

    Just my two cents.

  93. How do I get the click here on my articles or blogg?

  94. Why not do both? A simple image – either image of the text itself, or a fancy graphic that says “Click Here To Continue” could be used. Then set the ALT attribute of the image tag to the engine preference name, like “Best Real Estate in the Nation!”

    Then both people and the engines, click here.
    http://www.datachoices.com
    Data Choices
    We compile. You decide.

  95. It’s important to note that the study was conducted on an email newsletter – not web content. They also said it was “inhouse”. What does that mean? They tested it themselves, or they commissioned the study?

    Frankly, I wouldn’t trust marketingsherpa to provide accurate usability/design/development/content advice.

    I didn’t bother to read the actual report because by the time I got to the second page of the “free trial” signup I got sick of answering irrelevant compulsory questions, I live in a country that doesn’t have abbreviated state names, and on one page I thought I had a 6 month free trial and on the next learned it was a 7 day trial.

  96. As it has been already said (#5), “click here” may work in certain situations, as in this follow up situation, but I wouldn’t recommend in a context-aware situations.

    For instance, I would have used
    “Read the original Marketing Sherpa

    instead of
    Click here to read the original Marketing Sherpa”

    And not for SEO reasons.

  97. great tip – i’m going to go reformat some of my blogs to reflect that.

  98. Yeah I tend to disagree with you and im sure im not the only one. However you do raise a good point. I think cleck hear etc is more for accessibility reasons…

  99. I completely agree! Dealing with and being out in the public on a daily basis i see it too often. If you don’t give some people a explicit instructions they will just don’t get it.

    Besides it makes it easier for most people, they don’t need to think.

    WordPress Guides

  100. The way I see it, you might as well change your own website navigation to say “click here to go home”, “click here to learn more about me”, “click here to contact us”, etc. Click here (actually not here but on the next line) for more:

    http://lutrov.com/blog/hey-stupid-click-here/

    But that would be silly, wouldn’t it?

  101. This is so sad. “Click here” is wrong, period, period, period. The action you want people to take is to read something, buy something, view something, whatever. Clicking is the means whereby. And anybody with their hand on a mouse knows that. Seeing these two words adjacent to each other reduces my trust and confidence in a site by about 20%; I assume it’s made by amateurs and things don’t work.

  102. And anybody with their hand on a mouse knows that. Seeing these two words adjacent to each other reduces my trust and confidence in a site by about 20%; I assume it’s made by amateurs and things don’t work.

    Or maybe what’s sad is that you–the professional–don’t understand that users are “amateurs,” and therefore your personal preferences are of very little consideration when it comes to what works.

    Do what works, not what you prefer. That’s how true professionals operate.

  103. The study you cite is of an email newsletter, not a web site. I would grant that crossing the application divide between email and web requires a little handholding — they are different media and things need to be a little bit more explicit than usual — but when people are using the web, they know a link is a link is a link.

    Look at amazon.com’s homepage, for instance. There are many calls to action, but just one “click here”, and it’s in the footer, and even that’s one too many.

  104. Very interesting post Brian. I am doing this for “Read more” links on my site.

    Hilary Jeanes

  105. I agree. I think the word “click” would be the most effective thing to place in an attempt to get more views.

    Amanda <3

  106. Anecdotally I’ve seen this method work. In a recent email with 6 external links to the same site, “click here to do x” received 42% of the clicks.

  107. I think it would be better for the visitor to know what to do rather then guess so the more informative you are the better it is..

  108. From a users point of view “click here” will seem more natural than using an anchor text of your choice. Yes,from an SEO POV it’s better to use an anchor text,but over optimizing your targeted keyword could raise eyes brows in the SE.

  109. it’s nice to see a blogger actually doing some research before giving “the facts”! Sometimes it’s easy to forget the basics. Good post.

  110. If you’re trying to get ranked for specific key words on the search engines, this would kill you. Google is all about looking at anchor text of inbound links to rank you for keywords that match that text.

  111. Maybe the happy medium is to hyperlink not just click here, but click here to read . I usually do this, highlighting half the sentence if I have to. The way you get the anchored click here, but also the keywords. And it also is all nicely underlined and eye-catching.

    Makes more since to me to have:

    Click here to order the Ultimate Egg Dying Ebook

    Then…

    Click here to order the Ultimate Egg Dying Ebook

  112. We had a similar dilemma about Click Here. In the right context though, it works.

    http://www.carlknibbs.net/blog/2008/8/4/click-here-good-or-bad-practice.html

  113. Well it is always a bit consufing but thanks for the post it made everything a bit more clear.

  114. Hi there!
    I just did a follow up post on this, without realizing it.

    Basically, I think ‘click here’ can be improved even further by not actually using ‘click here’ as a call to action. They are very ordinary, needless words:

    http://rich-page.com/web-analytics/revealed-the-two-most-useless-words-on-any-website/

    I would imagine that if you continued your test with my examples, it would improve click through rates even more!

    I would love to know what you all think…

    Rich (website optimizer fanatic)

  115. Yes, I think the fundamental questions should be “Why you should always have an “effective call to action”? A good and appropriate call to action starts with a verb, should be positive in tone, clear and direct. For example, “Take a Tour”, Free Demo”, “Request Demo” , “Buy Now”, and “Register Now” are appropriate if and when used in the proper context. You can find more tips on http://nettrafficbuilder.com/_blog/Copywriting_Tips

  116. I’ve noticed that reverse psycology works well. Although it’s usually better not to say you don’t want someone to do something that you do want them to do on a professional page, it seems whenever I stress the importance of NOT clicking on a link, it makes them curious of why not, so they usually do.

  117. You are absolutely correct and i also support the concept of visitor enhanced optimization. After all your site is for humans, not search engines.

  118. I am dying to know if you are tracking traffic from a recent post containing a ‘click here’ link to this page, “Five Ways to Make Your Email Marketing Work Better”.

  119. Can u explain the whole thing?

  120. @USman, not sure if you actually read the post or were just trying to feel included… seriously, did you read the post?

  121. I think tell is visitor to click a nd follow direction you would like him to is good as long as you dont make the user feel really dumb

  122. I agree. I think the word “click” would be the most effective thing to place in an attempt to get more views. I also feel that offering a special deal or offer would have better conversions though.

  123. It seems like we’re insulting the readers’ intelligence by hyperlinking ‘click here’ rather than highlighting text within the sentence and hyperlinking it assuming the reader will figure out to click it but turns out we’re not. I’m going to be as literal as possible from now on. Thanks

  124. It must work as I clicked a “click here” from one of Sonia’s articles!

    Guess it’s a bit like the “wet paint” warning sign – we can’t resist touching to see if it really is web paint :-)

  125. Sorry, I couldn’t resist ;-)
    Greetings from Vienna, Austria, Robert Redl

  126. “standard mongers”
    the kind of people that have a three page website validated strict with absolutely no updated content.

    There a great amount of times where your page will not meet “standards”, w3c dictates a lot of behavior and they are good general rules but not religion.

    Most big websites in fact do not validate there is no ROI on nitpicking.

    microsoft.com
    yahoo.com
    google.com

    I ran into one exception while checking sites, and that was IBM.com, now you will be saying “OH ibm can do it why can’t you” well you will notice there front page is all static content (news is displayed through static swf), if you go to there troubleshooting page(first random page i clicked) you will notice it does not validate(I would like to know if there is a big website with dynamic,update content that does indeed validate).

    In short if something works use it if you have good enough reason to the contrary.

  127. Bioware Supporter :
  128. WOW, that’s crazy. Read More gets negative hits.

  129. Personally, I prefer a nice clickable button rather than a text link. It’s hard to resist an attractive button… so shiny… must press…

    I’ll also use clickable graphics like a picture of an e-book.

  130. So simple, thanks!

  131. So, it’s been three years or so since the Marketing Sherpa study on “click here” was done, according to the click here above ;) — any chance there is a new point of view supported by research or can I go to the naysayers in my group and say that “click here” is still the best way to direct folks?

  132. Interesting stats.

    I like to think of it in terms of an offer – quid pro quo – you give me this and I’ll give you that. Not all links are offers, many are informational in nature, but as marketers we tend to make offers, right?

    Take for example a link that reads: “Click here to download the xyz PDF”

    Spelling out for the reader what needs to be given (a click) in order to receive (a pdf) makes a lot of sense in that context.

  133. Lots of interesting comments about effective calls to action. Depending on the context, I think “Click Here” as well as other more compelling words such as “Donate To Save…”; “SignUp Now” etc. can work well. I agree with your readers that think the most important thing is to HAVE a call to action and ask your prospect/customer to act. I did a webinar on this recently for those who use Goldmine CRM who may be interested. You can download it at http://www.intelliclicksoftware.com

  134. Is the use of ‘Click Here’ even Section 508 compliant? I mean you could get away with ‘Click Here for X’ but not just ‘Click Here’. I’m sure blind people would be a little confused with a link that just said ‘Click Here’. If the ALT text was a little more descriptive, then leaving ‘Click Here’ as the link text would be fine since the screen reader just looks at the ALT text.

  135. Making a call to action like “Click Here” easy to see and easy to understand is a excellent idea that I will start using more often.

  136. So true, I will test this tonight for sure…

  137. Loved the post. My assistant and I have the same argument about whether to make Click Here part of the anchor text. I have always been told not to – big waste of key words. You make a valid point that the whole world doesn’t revolve around Google sEO

  138. I see some merit in this. I have just changed my ‘about me’ blurb to end with ‘Click to continue’ instead of ‘Read more’. Will be interesting to see what affect this has.
    I tend to agree with anthing internal can be click here, anything external, I personally prefer to know a bit about where you’re sending me. I often balk at multiple ‘click here’ cause I figure if you’re lazy enough to send me away multiple times in the same sentence, can I too be bothered. Probably not.

  139. This is a simple, but widely overlooked way of getting people to take action. I was always curious of the exact stats so thanks for bringing that up :)

    I agree that everyones just gone nuts with the Google SEO stuff…

    It’s not about what Google can do for you, it’s about what you can do for Google (which is serve up good content).

    - Dean

  140. I use ‘Click here’ sometimes, it’s much more user friendly. Chances are if I’m using ‘click here’ anchor text, I will already have another keyword rich link on the page anyway – hence it’s not a waste of a link.

  141. I use “click here” anchor text only if the article or reference is a competitor for my key words but as a rule of thumb always use my keywords for anchor text, especially if I am linking to webmd or another psychiatric site with authority that I am not going to go head to head with.

  142. Does telling someone to click here and then use the keywords as the anchor text still work or will google see “click here” and put the kabosh on the link?

  143. the value of Click Here might be an outdated idea, and what seems to work more these days is the direct relevance between the article being read and the article being linked to. Click Here by itself is less a threat to the google spiders that it once was… My thoughts, anyway…

  144. The problem is with your test alternatives…”click here” is ambiguous. Who wants to “read more” from an email. Your tests would have been more compelling if your alts were, “Start your application” or “order today”…who wants to just read your article. In addition, you don’t provide any numbers to back up your percentages, so it’s impossible to make judgements without knowing their statistical significance. Were all these tested on the same article? same day, same database?

  145. I could write an essay on this.. but this does make me chuckle how wrong it is on so many levels.. even legally in many countries..

    So if design is good, following accessibility recommendations, the display and behaviour of links should clearly signify what is clickable and what is not – these aspects convey what the text ‘click here’ is explicitly and unnecessarily describing. Contrary to popular belief, humans are not actually that stupid, whilst content should (generally) be pitched for a comprehension level of an 8 year old, interaction is a different kettle of fish. I see two year olds picking up devices and quickly learning what they can interact with by following these design cues.

    So by using these design cues to indicate call-to-action, we are now free to use the meaning of the link text to convey additional helpful information SPECIFIC to the destination page, i.e. putting the ensuing interaction in context. I’m a great fan, and so is Google, of using the page title of the destination page as the link text (Is that a coincidence?) Users like consistency, it reduces the cognitive load and it makes them feel comfortable when they land on a page with content that the link that they have just clicked described. A page title, and it’s referring link, should as accurately as possible describe the contents of the page.

    A final point – this generic link naming approach is probably not WCAG compliant, and would be breaking disability discrimination law in more than a few countries because of the way screen readers work. At best it would be introducing usability issues for this user base. You’d have the RNIB all over you if you tried to do it on a website of any significance in the UK..

  146. Good points Stuart;

    I will often use something like “click on the link ‘anchor text’” to read more on such and such. I feel this allow me to maximize my keywords for the anchor text.

  147. I always, always put an action verb for links or registration to webinars. ‘Click here’ or ‘RSVP now’ things like that.

    Descriptive Anchor Text
    Whenever I just include a descriptive summary for the link’s anchor text I assume no one will click it. What reason do I have to click through if my anchor text gives away the main idea behind the link?

    By the way, as someone who lives in Mountain View I find this line hilarious.
    “Somehow, this person no longer saw links as navigation for actual people to use; they only exist to pass on “juice” according to an algorithm that no one outside of Mountain View fully understands.”

  148. If you were making a magazine would you do a similar thing on the contents page?
    “Turn to page 45 for an article on widgets”
    “Turn to page 54 for an article on Acme Corp”
    “Turn to page 64 for an article on the ugliness of Click Here”