Link attributes abound in the SEO world, including link title, alt text, and the like.
In fact, there are some new rules you should use if you want to stay up to date on your link optimization.
These types of attributes are important. Not only do they help clarify the context of your link, but they also help control how Google perceives it.
Whether it’s a paid or free link, you need to make sure you’re using the right attributes so that Google doesn’t misunderstand what your links mean, leading to lower quality results.
And SEO is all about results!
For best results, follow best practices and make sure you don’t violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Using duplicate alt text as the link title text is not an acceptable practice, for example. There are different ways to use alt text and title text that an SEO professional should pay attention to.
The following includes an overview of the link title attribute and the things you need to know about it to be successful.
Let’s dive in!
Link Title Attribute Best Practices
You must use a link title when providing more link information.
Do not use a link title to provide the information again, as this is a usability failure that will only annoy your users.
Have you ever encountered an incident where the exact link title showed up when you hovered over it?
You didn’t need to know something that is already visible on the page, right?
Some of your users may also think this way.
The best question you can ask yourself when optimizing is: will this add information to my link or will it just annoy my users with the duplication?
Focus on optimizing for users, rather than search engines
Optimize for your users rather than search engines.
Yes, this is not new. But it is effective.
Do not :
- Fill the link title attribute with keywords.
- Duplicate topic title.
- Write the link title so that something unique appears to users.
- Write the link title with users in mind.
The link anchor text is meant to be the name of the link itself.
The link title attribute is supposed to provide more information about where the link will take the user who clicks on that link.
How, exactly, should you use the link title attribute?
Google search attorney John Mueller has detailed this in the past. Hangout during Google webmaster office hours. This discussion begins at point 00:42.
Google uses both the title attribute and the anchor text in the link to improve its understanding of the context of the link.
He explains that you can test this with a word you came up with and add it as a title attribute.
Then you can wait a bit for things to be indexed, and then you can review the results after they’ve been indexed.
Ideally, one could use the title attribute to cover missing information in the anchor text. And Google will use these two attributes together when crawling your links.
Does the link title attribute help support accessibility?
There is some disagreement among SEO professionals about whether accessibility should be included in SEO best practices.
I am of the opinion that accessibility, if not a direct ranking factor, is one of those indirect ranking factors whose value is indisputable.
This will help improve your client’s site and its results by reducing accessibility lawsuits for not including basic accessibility elements like alt text.
(Being inclusive also expands your audience and customer base.)
Alt text, or alt text for short, is an image attribute that gives text to screen readers for the blind.
In principle, you would think that the link title attribute works the same way.
However, this is not the case.
The W3C states what follows:
“Current user agents and assistive technology provide no comments to the user when the links have title attribute content available.
Some graphical user agents display a tooltip when the mouse hovers over an anchor element containing a title attribute. However, current user agents do not allow access to the contents of the title attribute via the keyboard.
The tooltip for some common user agents disappears after a short time (about five seconds).
This may cause difficulty in accessing title attribute content for users who can use a mouse but have fine motor impairments, and may cause difficulty for users who need more time to read the title attribute. tooltip.
Current graphical user agents do not provide mechanisms to control the presentation of title attribute content.
User cannot resize tooltip text or control foreground and background colors.
The placement and location of the tooltip cannot be controlled by users, which prevents some screen magnifier users from accessing meaningful parts of the title attribute content because the info -balloon cannot be fully displayed in the display window.
Some user agents provide access to additional information via the context menu.
For example, the key combination Shift + F10 followed by P will display the contents of the title attribute, as well as other additional information in Mozilla/Firefox.
It’s not perfect, so it’s almost impossible to provide a good way to implement accessibility in this scenario.
This is why it is important to deepen the guidelines of these elements.
They don’t always work the way you think, and in some cases, item changes can also happen in the blink of an eye.
How to use the link title attribute: an example
Here is an example of the correct use of the link title attribute:
What are search engines saying?
We can speculate all day, but in the end, the last word of search engines on the link title attribute is this:
“The ‘title’ attribute is a bit different: it ‘provides advisory information about the element for which it is defined’.
Since the Googlebot does not see the images directly, we usually focus on the information provided in the ‘alt’ attribute.
Feel free to supplement the ‘alt’ attribute with ‘title’ and other attributes if they bring value to your users!”
That’s what Bing has to say:
“Think of anchor text as your main description of the linked page.
But if you’re linking inline in your body text paragraphs, you need to keep the natural, logical flow of the language within the paragraph, which can limit your link text description.
As such, you can use the title attribute to add additional keyword information to the linked page without affecting the readability of the text for the end user.
What are other SEO professionals saying?
Based on the opinions of several people who have done SEO for years, the link title attribute has no weight on search engines.
There is also a usability issue with the link title attribute.
For most browsers, it will display when you move your cursor over the link.
For this reason, you don’t need to copy the anchor text into a title attribute. If the title attribute is unable to provide additional information, you shouldn’t use it.
“Don’t add link titles to all links: if it’s clear from the link’s anchor and its surrounding context where the link will lead, then a link title will reduce usability by being one more thing than users need to watch.”
The Rise of Accessibility Lawsuits: Should You Be Worried?
On January 4, 2019, it was reported that Beyonce.com was for follow-up on accessibility issues.
The target was also sued for accessibility problems in the past.
Accessibility should always be a concern for SEO professionals because you are expected to generate revenue and increase your clients’ ROI.
When an accessibility lawsuit occurs, your client loses money, or ROI, due to the lack of these efforts. Also, they are usually unhappy with your website.
Your efforts as an SEO should include ensuring that link title attributes and links are visible and usable by your users, regardless of their abilities.
Focus on your users, not search engines
When writing link title attributes, be sure to write for users and not create junk text just for search engines.
Because it will be the users who will – mainly – use this title text.
Ultimately, accessibility matters:
- Don’t create hard-to-read links.
- Don’t make link titles difficult to use or understand.
Make things look great while focusing on user experience to ensure your users are happy and excited to be on your website.
TL; DR: key takeaways
The main takeaways are:
- Do not use duplicate alt and title attributes in your links.
- Focus on your users when writing these, but also focus on what search engines will crawl.
- Focus on missing information that will be added using the title attribute.
- Optimize your links if the title attribute adds new information.
- Don’t use the title attribute if it doesn’t add new information.
- Be sure to use these attributes in a way that promotes high accessibility for users with disabilities.
- Don’t over-optimize. Avoid adding title attributes to links that don’t need them.
If you’re not sure if a link title attribute is something that’s going to benefit you, it’s probably best not to use it. And rather consult John Müller or another SEO professional you trust.
John is known for hanging out on Twitter and answering burning questions from SEO professionals around the world, in addition to his hangouts during office hours.
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