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.
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 download file such as a PDF, Word document or Excel spreadsheet
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
Compare the GDP figures with previous preliminary GDP estimates.
Read our terms and conditions.
Examples of unclear link text
Click here to compare the GDP figures with previous preliminary estimates.
Read our terms and conditions at https://www.ons.gov.uk/help/termsandconditions.
Links to ONS releases
Where possible, use the full release title (including the content type such as bulletin or article).
View more information in our Coronavirus and self-isolation after testing positive in England: 28 February to 8 March 2022 bulletin.
Our Construction statistics, Great Britain: 2020 article includes more information.
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.
For more information, see our article on how construction material and plant hire price inputs are affecting construction output prices over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic period.
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.
Ceir rhagor o wybodaeth yn ein hadroddiad Mwyafu ansawdd amcangyfrifon poblogaeth Cyfrifiad 2021 (yn Saesneg).
Links to ONS datasets
When linking to the datasets that accompany a specific release, we should always use “our accompanying datasets” 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.
Further analysis by vaccination status, including by region and age, can be found in our accompanying dataset.
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.
On 3 February 2022, the UK Government announced an Energy Bills Rebate package to help households manage rising energy bills.
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.
Example of clear link text
In their 2021 article Intergenerational inequality and the intergenerational state, Rice, Temple and McDonald found that…
Example of unclear link text
In their article Intergenerational inequality and the intergenerational state, Rice, Temple and McDonald (2021) found that…
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.
There is more information about this in the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC), Rev.4 (PDF, 1063KB).
We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.
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