Back in September, 2007, Alex Bainbridge wrote a post called The “Click here” canary where he analyzed the use of “click here” on several UK travel sites. He found that on the sites he reviewed, 1.71% of all pages used “click here” as link text.
His hypothesis was that websites that are better managed–and are better optimized for search engines–will not be using “click here” for links. What he found was that the newer, web-only companies tended to avoid “click here”. Older, traditional companies tended to rely on it more. So the use of “click here” said something about the sites using it. Thus the canary-in-a-coal-mine metaphor.
I thought it would be interesting to see whether, two years later, the matured sites would demonstrate a lower use of “click here”. I used the same methodology he did:
- Pages that used ”click here” at least once counted by running a search using
allintext: “click here” site:domain.com
- Total pages for a website were calculated by searching
Here’s what I found:
|2007||2009||Website||# Pages w/ click here||Total pages||% Pages w/ click here||# Pages w/ click here||Total pages||% Pages w/ click here|
So some of the worst offenders in 2007 have improved. But many of the sites that didn’t use “click here” as a consistent strategy in 2007 apparently do now. I’m so disappointed in you, TravelRepublic.co.uk. What happened? Why did you go from using “click here” on 3 pages in 2007 to 8,330 today?
If you add it all together, these travel sites used “click here” on 1.71% of their pages in 2007 and on 3.10% in 2009: an 81% increase.
I’m not familiar with many of these sites, so I can’t say whether Alex’s original hypothesis about web-only companies avoiding the use of “click here”. Some of the larger sites–Hilton (14.98%), Orbitz (12.01%), MyTravel (43.40%)–use it a lot. But the largest sites–Kayak (0.12%), Wayn (0.02%), Travelocity (2.49%)–use it, just not as much.