Carnegie Mellon University


A service provided by the University CMS Team

Links Best Practices

Link relevant text, and not words like "click here"

Linked text should be relevant and meaningful. Do not link words like "here" or "this page." This is important for accessibility, readability and search engine optimization (SEO). It's difficult for humans and search robots to determine the context of poor link text.

Bad Practice: To take the Virtual Tour click here.
Good practice: To learn more about the CMU campus, please take the Virtual Tour.

New window vs. same window

  • Links taking users away from your website (including links to other CMU-affiliated websites) should open in a new window.
  • Links to pages within your website should open in the same window.
  • Links to documents (e.g, PDFs, Word Docs, etc.) should open in a new window as users will typically close a window when they're done viewing a document.

Label document links

Links to documents (e.g., PDFs, Word Docs, etc.) that launch applications should be labeled, such as: Campus Map [pdf]

Warn users when links require a login

Good example: Staff Information [login required].

Only underline text for links

Always underline links to make them distinguishable from other text. The CMS automatically styles links as underlined. When not using the CMS, if possible, style links with a border-bottom to improve readability, as bottom borders will not intersect with descenders.

Be selective when using anchored links

In the past, anchored links were used to "jump" a user to a specific section of a lengthy page containing a lot of content. As shorter, easily-scannable pages have become preferrable, the use of anchored links has fallen out of favor. However, there may still be a practical need for using anchored links, such as an alphabetical directory. Learn how to create anchored links for this purpose.