I gather there must be many ways to say things in Portuguese, and in English, too! In this case, I was observing how in English, it is not said "Look to her" in this simple sense, like "Look to the left". So, you mean in Portuguese "Olhar para ela" and "Olhar para a esquerda" are not the only ways to say it. I know "a" is used. What is one or two ways that you are thinking of?
Look at her is "olhe para ela" if your eyes need to move or you need to pay attention to what you're looking at, but if it is on your sight area you should use "olhe-a", another way to use the verb "olhar" is "olhar por" that means to take care of", ex. "que Deus olhe por ti".
Interesting! So "olhe-a" is a way to talk not unlike the English "See her there" instead of "Look at her". But in writing it, you use the hyphen. Then "olhar por" is even like "look out for" which uses the same kinds of words. Nice, thanks, man! And if Jimi Hendrix was right, she was a "Foxy Lady"!
Hahaha, yeah, but take care people don't speak as they write, "see her there" is equivalent to coloquiall "olhe ela lá". The hyphen happens because our rules of reduce a object (direct or indirect) to pronouns, if you're curious look up "próclise, mesóclise e ênclise", I say English has only ênclise case".