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Read Better Link Labels: 4Ss for Encouraging Clicks by Kate Moran (Nielsen Norman Group)

Specific link text sets sincere expectations and fulfills them, and is substantial enough to stand alone while remaining succinct.

Link text which makes sense out of context is often cited as an accessibility concern. It’s not only an accessibility concern, it’s also beneficial for the people in your audience who do not have a disability of any kind. Like several of the other things which are primarily accessibility concerns but which also end up benefiting the rest of your audience, (captions for videos, transcription for audio, heading structure of your website as a whole and each piece of your content separately, just to name a few), it turns out that link text which can be made sense of out of context by assistive technology users are also a great way to increase clicks generally. Most people do not read an entire page on the web. They scan it instead, so links that make sense out of context, along with being distinguishable in othere ways from the rest of the text, (underlining links, anyone)? are more likely to capture the attention of your visitors than are links which have vague or repetative text as their label. I will note that you can’t take advantage of any of these benefits if your primary platform for content distribution is a social media presence as opposed to a website you own and control. (Indieweb for the win, again).

So, score one more for accessibility benefiting everyone. And, if you’re not doing so already, spend some time putting some thought into your link text. If you’re using social media as your personal or professional home on the web, here’s one more reason to consider either starting your own website, or hiring someone to build one for you.


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