What does it do?
Tests what links are used inside the website, and whether they are used appropriately.
Why is it important?
The text used to create a link (i.e. typically the underlined text you click on, like this) is particularly important for several reasons:
- Search engines pay particular attention to it. Often they rank websites more highly for keywords found inside these links.
- Users with accessibility issues are particularly dependent upon it. Links are often read out to them, out of context, so links such as “Click here” are useless to them.
How is it measured?
All links in the website are recorded and analyzed individually. Within a page, links are checked to see whether the same link text points to different URLs (for example, if “Click here” links to 12 different pages). Links are also checked to see whether they contain weak link text, i.e. a series of common statements which are frequently abused and should be avoided where possible: e.g. click here, read more etc. The score is reduced by the proportion of URLs with these problems, weighted for their significance.
How to improve this score
Where possible, make links describe the page they are pointing at, and ideally include keywords which may be relevant to both the user and search engines. For example, instead of this:
ACME Inc. launches new website (1st Feb 2007) Click here for more
ACME Inc. launches new website (1st Feb 2007)
The new version is actually shorter and makes more sense to the user (they’re clicking on what they want, not on a superfluous piece of descriptive text). Search engines will also pay more attention to the content of the link, not to words like “Click” and “more”.
How to use this test effectively
Review your current use of links and where possible make incremental improvements. We recommend starting with education to show people how to use links properly, following by ongoing measurement of how the website is improving (or not) each month.