Use clear and descriptive link text
Hyperlinked text allows users to navigate to another page or file for additional information. Hyperlinks interrupt the user journey, so only link to the most useful information. Always consider what value the destination page offers to the user before using a hyperlink and ensure that the source and content are reputable.
It is important that users can easily identify all hyperlinks and know where the link will take them. Link text should be clear, specific, and accessible for all users.
Where possible, use the title of the publication you are linking to as link text. This is not always possible, for example, if the page title is overly long or does not fit naturally into the sentence. In these cases, try to include enough information in the link text so the user has clear information about the destination page. Do not use “click here” or “in this article”, as generic link text makes it difficult for users to know where the link will take them.
The readability and flow of the sentence should be the priority. Links should be incorporated as naturally as possible.
What to do
Link text should:
- include the source, page title and type of page where possible
- clearly describe the topic or purpose of the destination page
- be as concise as possible without losing meaning
- make sense as part of a sentence, and as text on its own
- say if the link opens in a new window
- be at the end of a sentence where possible
- include the file type and size if we are linking to a file download, such as an Excel spreadsheet, or a PDF or Word document
What not to do
Link text should not:
- use generic words such as “click here” or “this article”
- use full URLs
- have quotation marks around it
- be used more than once in each section when linking to the same page
- be overused in a sentence or paragraph
- use different link text when linking to the same web page
- be included in the Main points section – avoid directing users away from your content as soon as they land on the page
Examples of clear link text
Examples of unclear link text
Links to ONS releases
Where possible, use the full release title (including the content type such as bulletin or article).
In some cases, using the title and release type as link text interrupts the flow of the sentence. In these cases, try to use as much information about the destination page as possible without compromising the flow of the sentence.
Links to Welsh content
All content on the page should be in the same language. If an English page has a Welsh language version available, include the following link text at the very start of the first section:
This page is available in Welsh (Cymraeg).
You should also include a hyperlink on the Welsh page that takes users back to the English version, in case any users land on the page in error. Use the following link text at the very start of the first section:
Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Saesneg (English).
Any hyperlinks included in Welsh content should also use Welsh link text.
Hyperlinks should take users to a Welsh version of the destination page if one is available.
If the link is taking the user to a page that is only available in English, include (yn Saesneg) at the end of the link text.
Links to ONS datasets
When linking to the datasets that accompany a specific release, always use “our accompanying dataset(s)” as link text. We do not need to state the name of the dataset because the user should know that the dataset is related to the release they are reading.
Links to external publications
When linking to external pages or publications, use the source, page title and type of page where possible (such as report or article). If doing this interrupts the flow of the sentence, choose the most relevant descriptive wording that helps the user understand where they are being directed.
Links to academic papers
When using a link to an academic paper, use the title of the article as the link text rather than the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
Links to files and attachments
Where possible, link to a web page. If there is no alternative to linking to a file download, include the file type and size in brackets at the end of the link text.