In SharePoint, Content Search web parts allow you to style links from a link list however you like. This is useful for publishing site navigation where you want a more polished look (these have a hover effect with a description not shown here as well).
Hyperlinks from a link list or from a column type of hyperlink are problematic in display templates because they hold both the URL and the hyperlink text in one property. In the Content Search web part they will just reload the same page when clicked instead of loading the URL of the link by default. You can fix this by splitting the URL from the link text as below, then using that variable as the href in your anchor tag.
var linkURL = $urlHtmlEncode(ctx.CurrentItem.LinkURL);
linkURL = linkURL.split(",");
<a class="line1LinkPortalv2" href="_#= linkURL =#_" id="_#= line1LinkId =#_">_#= line1 =#_</a>
Here’s the property mappings in the CSWP properties:
Title will display the link text from the link list, and CommentsOWSMTXT will display the link description.