Link Title Attribute – Common Questions Answered

December 30, 2009

“If I use keywords in the link title attribute, will that help me rank higher?”

I recently had a client ask this question. They were under the impression that using keywords in the link title would help in terms of SEO. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. There are several issues to consider, the big one being usability. Let’s take a look at this link title, shall we?

What is the link title attribute?

Put simply, the link title attribute gives additional information about the page being linked to. Here’s what the W3C has to say about it:

The title attribute is used to provide additional information to help clarify or further describe the purpose of a link. If the supplementary information provided through the title attribute is something the user should know before following the link, such as a warning, then it should be provided in the link text rather than in the title attribute.

When should I NOT use a link title?

You should not use a link title if you’re just repeating the anchor text. Not only does that not provide any additional information about that link and the page it goes to, but you could be annoying your visitors (if they’re anything like me). Have you ever scrolled over a link and the title pops up, covering surrounding text. Yeah, that’s what I mean by annoying.

When should I use a link title?

Use the title attribute for your links when you can provide additional information about that link and/or the page it goes to. For example, if your anchor text just says click here, give your users a better idea of what they’ll get if they click on the link (scroll over the “click here” link to see what I mean).

Of course, I’m not the first one to talk about this. If you want to find out more about the title attribute for links, here are some helpful resources:

How to Use Link TITLE Attribute Correctly

Supplementing Link Text with the Title Attribute

How to Customize Your Link Title Attribute

Do you use the title attribute on your links? If you do, let me know in the comments if you have any cool examples, or if you do it differently.