Making the biggest splash with thoughtful linking

In an eyetracking study of newspaper websites by the Poynter Institute, the first three eye-fixations on a page by a user were on text 78% of the timewith the other 22% being on graphics. Users in general were first drawn to article headlines, article summaries, and captions. The Norman Nielsen Group has found similar results in their studies.

Despite being one of the core fundamentals of the web, content managers and designers still don’t always link the right words.

Scanning for linked keywords and following the link to an article of interest is one of main ways users browse the web. It was how users first read on the web in the early 90’s and it’s every bit as valid today.

Swimming Australia new listing links the feature image and “read more” to the article but not the title which is what users are most likely to click.

Swimming Australia just went live with their new website a few months ago. It’s a visually appealing website and highlights Australian swimmers with informative profiles and vivid imagery.

On the news listing page though the title of the story is not linked. Only the featured image and the “read more” are linked.

Yet studies show that a user is more likely to click on the article title.

Better still, you don’t need “read more” links if your article title is styled and designed to make it obvious for users that it’s a link. That means more real estate for your news stories.

If that’s not enough to convince you to review your content, in addition, linked keywords are a ranking signal for search engines which means when you link the titles of your news articles they are more likely to be discovered by search engines. When that happens your sports organisation wins!

Now that’s worth making a splash about!

Pat Birgan