Link text

To write link text, use descriptive phrases that provide context for the material that you're linking to.

Different readers experience links differently. For example, users of screen reader software often jump from one link to the next without reading the words in between. Other readers visually scan a document to find relevant links. Effective link text helps to improve accessibility and scannability.

To write effective link text, use one of the following forms:

Sometimes you have to rework a sentence to include a phrase that makes good link text.

Apply the following guidelines when you write link text:

  • When you write a complete sentence that refers the reader to another topic, introduce the link with the phrase For more information, see or For more information about..., see.

    Recommended: For more information, see Load balancing and scaling.

    Recommended: For more information about task scheduling, see Reliable task scheduling on Compute Engine with Cloud Scheduler.

  • Write unique, descriptive link text that makes sense without the surrounding text. Don't use phrases like click here or this document. They're bad for accessibility and scannability.

    Recommended:

    For more information, see <a href="/wombats">Care and feeding of your wombat</a>.
    

    Not recommended:

    Want more? <a href="/wombats">Click here!</a>.
    

    Also not recommended:

    For more information, see <a href="/wombats">this document</a>.
    
  • Don't use a URL as link text. Instead, use the page title or a description of the page.

    Recommended:

    For more information about protocols, see <a href="http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616.html" class="external">HTTP/1.1 RFC</a>.
    

    Not recommended:

    See the HTTP/1.1 RFC at <a href="http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616.html">http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616.html</a>.
    

    Exception: In some legal documents (such as some Terms of Service documents), it's okay to use URLs as link text.

  • When link text is a description of the target page, use the following guidelines to help readers scan content so that they can determine if the link is relevant:
    • Keep link text short where possible.
    • Place important words at the beginning of the link text.
    • Don't repeat link text in a document unless the link target is the same.
  • Use an external link icon appropriately, as described in Cross-references.
  • If a link downloads a file, write link text that indicates this action as well as the file type.

    Recommended:

    <a href="/readme.txt">download the README.txt file</a>.
  • If the text includes an abbreviation in parentheses, include the long form and the abbreviation in the link text.

    Recommended: Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

    Not recommended: Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

For more information about link text, see Cross-references.

If you write sitewide CSS for your website, apply standard styling to link text. This helps readers find links in your content.

  • Contrast link text color and regular text color. To help readers see links, link text should be distinguishable from the rest of the text on the page.
  • Underline link text, and don't underline non-link text. When readers scan a page, a horizontal line cuts through the vertical line of scanning and helps readers find links.
  • Make visited links change color. Use color-blind-friendly color changes to help readers differentiate links that they've followed against links that they haven't followed. This helps readers navigate your site effectively without revisiting content that they've already read.