How to increase click-through rates with descriptive links

descriptivelinksClick-through rates are one of the most important factors in the success of your social marketing ads. It’s the first metric at the beginning of your funnel and it’s pretty simple: The more people that get into your funnel, the more money you make, regardless of conversion rates.

When the links in your marketing are visible, which is often the case in social media marketing ads, the links have a profound impact on your click-through rates. The links are the call-to-action in your marketing, which is the most important part of your ads, however, few people seem to understand their impact.

Tens of millions of marketers treat their as an afterthought, including most marketing trainers and coaches. And the links they use actually scare a large percentage of people, stopping them from clicking. Multiple university studies and a large scale analysis from have proven this to be the case.

For example, the research firm, the Nielsen Norman Group, posted this way back in 2007:

“If the URL looks like garbage, people are less likely to click. On the other hand, if the URL looks like the page will address the user’s question, they are more likely to click.”

There are many types of links. Understanding how each type of link affects people psychologically will help you hugely increase your click-through rates on your marketing and make you a lot more money without any additional effort.

The first thing to realize is that links stand out. They are a different colour from the rest of the text, they are underlined, and often they are on a line all by themselves. So, for best results, you should craft your links through the lens of writing something else that stands out; Links should be written to be an informative headline.

With the following examples, imagine someone is skimming your marketing message, and their eyes catch on just the link. All you have are these few characters of blue text to convince them to click.

Ask yourself:

1. Who is the link branding and giving SEO benefits to?
2. Does the link tell people where they are going to end up if they click it?
3. Does the link look like a tracking link, and scare some people off?
4. Could the link do the sales job all by itself, even if someone doesn’t read anything else?

Links should be written to be an informative headline… All you have are these few characters of blue text to convince them to click.

Type 1. Direct Links:

Beginner marketers and even some experts just link directly to whatever they are sending people to, which means they have a very difficult time learning what marketing results in people taking action. They are slower to improve and basically relying on luck.

Ex: or

Gives free advertising to a service like YouTube, or wherever they are going.
 Depending on the link, you may know it goes to a video, but you don’t know what it’s about.
They often look like tracking links, without the benefit of tracking.
Doesn’t do the sales job.

Sometimes, tracking doesn’t matter and these links are just fine. But, marketing messages cost money and should be optimized over time to reduce costs and increase click-through rates. That can only be accomplished by using one of the following types of tracking links.

Type 2. Short Tracking Links:

This is the standard type of tracking link used by tens of millions of marketers.


Gives free advertising to a service like, instead of you.
No idea where it goes.
It’s well known to be a tracking link.
Doesn’t do the sales job.

This completely fails our test, yet it’s by far the most common type of link used by marketers. Our advice is to never use them where people can see them, and to always use your own short domain if you do use them. Then, you own and can control the links once they are out there. (Sometimes services go down and take all their links with them.)

Type 3. Secondary Domain Tracking Links:

The most common alternative to short links is to use secondary domains, also known as custom short links. We estimate that less than a million marketers use them.

Ex: or

Brands something close to your brand. No SEO benefits.
Tells people what to expect when they click.
Doesn’t look like a tracking link.
Does the sales job.

These are a huge improvement, almost meeting all four of our requirements. The closer the secondary domain is to the real website domain, the better your click-through rates will be. However, because the domain does not exactly match the website, it could be owned by anyone, which makes it look like an illegitimate link. That will scare off some people.’s case study shows these type of links can increase your click-through rates by up to 34%. That means that if your social media ads with short links are bringing you in $100,000 a year, just switching to these could earn you an additional $34,000 with no extra effort.

Type 4. Website Domain Tracking Links:

Making descriptive links on your own website improves things even further, yet it is done just a few hundred thousand marketers, because the most well-known tools that do it are very limited, simple WordPress plugins.


This brands your website and gives it bonus SEO benefits.
Tells people what to expect when they click.
Doesn’t look like a tracking link.
Does the sales job.

This passes our test perfectly. Not only do you know where you’re headed, now you know for sure who is sending you there. And, because it’s branded to the legitimate website, trust is increased, so you get more clicks, more shares, and more brand exposure for the correct domain names – the only domains that matter – your websites.

Type 5. Domain Redirect Tracking Links:

A little known fourth type of tracking link, used by a tiny percentage of marketers is to buy a domain to redirect directly to another site, like an affiliate link or internal promotion. Big brands like Coke use these all the time, but most smaller marketers do not.


Doesn’t brand your website, but it can closely match a brand you’re trying to sell.
Tells people what to expect when they click.
Looks less like a tracking link than any other type of link.
Does the sales job.

For certain types of promotions, this can give you better click-through rates than any other type of link, because it looks like a direct link to a website, and not at all like a tracking link.

Additional Advantages of Descriptive Tracking Links:

All three types of descriptive links drastically increase conversions, and each is best for different situations. If you don’t have a website yet or don’t intend to have one, secondary domains and domain redirects are the best links to use. If you have websites you want more free exposure and SEO benefits for, use them in your tracking links instead.

They also benefit you because they:

Provide Analytics: They provide invaluable details such as CTR, where your clients are based, how long promotions are effective for, and how effective each promotion is at driving traffic. This data can be used to improve results on future promotions and increase sales.

Are Shareable: More people choose to share custom links that are descriptive, because they are easier to remember.

Are Trustworthy: Skepticism continues to run rampant among Internet users concerned about cyber-criminals lurking behind suspicious links. People are more likely to click on links that appear friendly and look like the pages on your website, especially if they trust your brand and the domain in the link exactly matches your website.

Provide SEO Benefits: If you want to keep up with the competition, then Search Engine Optimization (SEO) shouldn’t be neglected. Descriptive links show up on Google for whatever domain you use, and will work to send SEO link juice through your links or keep them from leaking out, thus increasing your search engine ranking.

Increase Brand Awareness: Using keyword links on your primary websites gets people seeing and interacting with your brand every time a link is published or shared, so it’s critical to use your own website’s domain instead of a secondary domain or a service’s domain.

Allow Affiliate Links: Increasing social media exposure is vital to the success of any marketing campaign, but social media sites like Facebook block affiliate links. Currently, you can bypass these blocks with framed links offered on many tracking links services.

How To Use The Best Link Type, Every Time:

There’s only one tool that offers every type of descriptive tracking link,

It is is a very powerful analytics service that creates and tracks short links, short links on your own short domains, descriptive links on secondary domains, website domains, and domain redirects, and also QR codes, all from the same dashboard, so you’re covered for every situation for all your brands and websites.

And each link has the same powerful features, so you not only don’t have to switch tools and dashboards to get different types of links, you don’t have to compromise on features when choosing a better link type for a specific marketing campaign. offers a pay as you grow plan for adding custom domains starting at $23/month when paid annually, with three custom domains which can be used for secondary domains, websites, or domain redirects. Then you can just add more domains as you need them for only $5/month per domain. Or you can upgrade to higher plans that come with up to 15 spots for custom domains and a half million clicks per month:

  1. Starter Plan: If you only have one to three websites or brands, then this plan is ideal and allows for tracking of up to 50,000 actions per month.
  2. Complete Plan: Tracks up to 100,000 actions per month with advanced variables and retargeting methods, and a couple of extra domains.
  3. Professional Plan – A perfect plan for those people managing over a dozen websites or brands, this plan provides tracking of up to 500,000 actions per month.

If you are interested drastically increasing your click-through rates, while increasing exposure and awareness of your websites, then please visit to start a free 14 day trial.