Hyperlinking for AODA and SEO

Hyperlinks have become ubiquitous online, for good reason. Smooth, streamlined text that gets rid of a messy looking url is the hallmark of websites. A simple “click here” or “download” can string users along your site without breaking up the paragraph flow, and can even be inserted within sentences for an unobtrusive experience.

Except when hyperlinks can bring you farther away from AODA compliance, and worsen your SEO.

wooden puppet facing unknown endings from non-descriptive links

Bad Links

A bad link is, simply, a link that doesn’t provide context within the hyperlink text. While it’s very tempting to use these, since they’re the least obtrusive, they aren’t AODA compliant.

Examples of bad links include:

  • “Click here”
  • “More info”
  • “Continue reading”

While they look fine in context of a paragraph, links are often not read within the context of their paragraphs. As a result, people who use screen readers will come across link text that gives them no information for what they are about to click, rendering your website frustrating to navigate at best.

Google also doesn’t like blank links without a description, and while it will follow the link to rank your content, it won’t give any extra points for making the link difficult to understand when taken alone.

 

Good Links

Thankfully, it’s rather simple to turn a bad link into a good link. It’s simply a case of adding context to the link itself.

Examples:

  • “Click here to…”
  • “More info on…”
  • “Continue reading about…”

By filling in the blank about what you’d previously discussed in your content, you make the link stand on its own. This means anybody or anything that comes across the link will know exactly what it leads to.

This makes your site easier to navigate, and you can get a few more points in search in the process. While it can be tedious to go through and check every hyperlink to make sure it can stand on its own, the peace of mind knowing all links are compliant is worthwhile.

Image credit: a-poselenov