‘Link Purpose (Link Only)’ requires that every link’s destination is clear from its text.


It’s essential that you make your links clear and easy to understand.

That’s because users with assistive technology, like a screen reader, often hear all the links on a page to help them find where they want to go. Others may view your website highly magnified or tab through links, so the user will only see the link text and a few words around it at any one time.

To help your users, your link text (the words that are linked, often called ‘anchor text’) must make the link destination clear.

How to Pass ‘Link Purpose (Link Only)’

Make sure that for each link on your website:

  • The destination of the link is clear from the link text (for example, ‘My blog’); or
  • If the link is an image, the alt text of the image makes the link destination clear (for example, ‘Luke McGrath – Visit my blog’); and
  • Links with the same destination have the same description (but links don’t share a description if they point to different places).


You don’t need to make the link purpose clear if it’s ambiguous to all your users. 

For example, if I link the word ‘blog’ in the phrase ‘I have a personal blog’ the link might go to my blog, or it might go to a Wikipedia page explaining what a blog is. No user would reliably know where the link goes before they follow the link.

Of course, it’s best to avoid ambiguous links as users should always know where they are going. Although, there are times when you might want to spring a fun surprise on everyone.

‘Link Purpose (Link Only)’ Tips

You may have passed this if you didn’t really on link context for Link Purpose (In Context).

Where you link to another page on your website, it’s good practice to use the page title you set in Page Titled as the link text.

See Also

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I'm Luke, I started Wuhcag in 2012 to help people like you get to grips with web accessibility. Check out my book, 'How to Meet the WCAG 2.0'.

4 comments on “Link Purpose (Link Only) (2.4.9 – Level AAA)

    Daniel Tonon says:

    It took me a few minutes to figure out what the difference between this and it’s single A alternative is.

    Basically in “A” level the context around the link is able to be taken into consideration when deciding if it is a pass or fail. So an article in a list of articles with a “read more” button would pass A level because it can take advantage of being a part of the article list item. It would not pass AAA level because “Read more” alone when completely out of context does not give the user enough information as to what the link does (ie. read more about what???).

      Luke McGrath says:

      Spot on Daniel, although be careful because even at Level A if you have multiple “Read More” links (for example a blog homepage) that go to different places, it wouldn’t pass.

        Daniel Tonon says:

        Great, now I’m back to being confused 🙁

        Based on the W3C fail examples, it looks like as long as it is inside the same p, li, or td of the descriptive text, a “read more” link will pass.

          Luke McGrath says:

          Looks like we’re both right! A ‘read more’ link will technically pass 2.4.4 and Level A.

          But the guideline does say “It is a best practice for links with the same destination to have consistent descriptions (and this is a requirement per Success Criterion 3.2.4 for pages in a set). It is also a best practice for links with different purposes and destinations to have different descriptions.”

          So I’d recommend avoiding “Read more” as it’s not the spirit of the guideline.


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