Link text is used to describe the destination or purpose of the link. Good link text will help all users navigate your page and assist them in finding what information they need.

Users of screen reader technology can generate a list of links, have them read alphabetically, and then navigate websites from there. For this reason, link text should be as descriptive as possible and should not have to rely on the context of the surrounding text in order to be understood.

Avoid vague link text

Make sure the text that you are linking is as descriptive as possible. The user should be able to tell what type of site or information they are being linked to.


‘Click here’ or ‘Read more’

The data can be found at Dr. Smith’s personal website.


‘learn about undergraduate studies’ and ‘find out about Biology tracks’

The data can be found at Dr. Smith’s personal website.

Don’t link the actual URL

Always use descriptive link text instead of inserting an actual web address. When using the full url as the link text, screen readers will announce the full path of the url including each individual number letter and forward slash.


The data can be found at Dr. Smith’s personal website.


The data can be found at Dr. Smith’s personal website.

Make sure link text is unique for each link destination

For example, if you link the text ‘A Very Important Book by John Doe’ to the book’s publisher, don’t also use the text ‘A Very Important Book by John Doe’ further down the page to link to a website displaying the book’s reviews. Each destination should have unique link text. 

Don’t open links in a new tab or window

Whenever possible avoid opening links in a new tab. Users can be confused by an unexpected new window or tab. Some screen readers may detect and announce a new tab, but older version may not. Opening a new tab or window also essentially disables the back button, making navigation more difficult for the user.

When opening in a new tab is required, alert the user with an icon or text.

Don’t only link the file type

For example, in a list of publications, don’t link only the ‘(pdf)’ on each item. Instead include the file type extension in the descriptive text. By including the file type in the link the user is alerted to what to expect.


Smith, A, B. V., & Lopez, D. A. (2015). A comparison of German and oriental cockroach habitats. Journal of Insect Science, 20(1), 8-12. (pdf) 

Text on buttons needs to be descriptive

Remember, buttons are also linked text so all of the rules apply to them too.  

Reference: 2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context)