homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.166.105.24
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / Marketing and Biz Dev / Link Development
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: martinibuster

Link Development Forum

    
Text Link vs Alt Image
Industry

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 10:03 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Obviously, text based links are preffered. Anyone care to comment on how effective a linked Image on page would be vs a text based link? Let's say it is a company logo, and that logo has an alt image tag which links over to the target site. Would this be almost as effective as a text based link would be on that page?

In other words...Example 1 would be a text based link of "BLUE WIDGETS"/ Example 2 would be an Image which hyperlinks to a page and has an alt image tag of "BLUE WIDGETS".

Any ideas on this?

 

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 6:09 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that while the image approach would clearly be sending content signals to Google the text link would still be preferable. Actually that's what Google tells us...

"Use mostly text for navigation
Controlling most of the navigation from page to page on your site through text links makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your site."

[static.googleusercontent.com...]

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 8:45 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

As an aside, I have found linked images occasionally misidentified by ad blocking software. Also not all visitors will realise that an image is clickable - I can tell from site stats that the forward and back arrows on my photo gallery are generally ignored.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 9:05 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree. Some of us can become blind to the icons and graphics that appear on some websites.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 9:11 am on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

You can also use an image and linked text together. In this case the alt text should be empty (i.e. alt="") from an accessibility point of view - but I am not sure what it should be from an SEO point of view.

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 2:09 pm on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)


You can also use an image and linked text together.

I have still had problems with that, using the ad blocking function in Norton I had a whole line of linked image plus linked text just vanish. It was standard html within the page, not any external reference. I had to redesign the page in the end.

As I said, any linked images need to be verified against ad blocking software, false positives aren't that common but Mr Murphy dictates that they will be critical to site usage when they occur.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 3:32 pm on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

@piatkow, that is interesting. What size were the images (any of the standard ad sizes), and were the next and the links in the same link (i.e. was it <a href="..."><img ...>text</a>)?

I am slightly worried about this on a new client site.

Alex_TJ

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 11:01 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

piatkow - are there any NAV emulators you can recommend for those of us who've given up on Norton many moons ago?

ZydoSEO

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 12:44 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why not have both?

If it is something that is relatively static, you can make it a text link with text link text but have it display as a logo image in the browser.

I do this for all of my site's logo images in the header of each page. It gives me a text link from each page back to my home page with the targeted keyword phrase as the link text instead of an image link with alt text which carries less weight.

I use something like the following in the HTML to render the logo image in the header:

<div id="site-logo"><a href="/">targeted keyword phrase for the home page</a></div>

then in the CSS something like

#site-logo a {
bacground: url("/images/logo.png") no-repeat blah blah blah;
display: block;
...
}


I like this better even for accessibility. I mean, it looks to screen readers (and those with images turned off) like a pure text link. The link text actually describes the page that is being linked to UNLIKE an image link with proper alt text would (since the alt attribute should describe the image, NOT the page linked to).

If I have an image of a family standing in front of a house that links to a Refinance page, my alt text should "technically" describe the image, "Family standing in front of white house with picket fence."

So this gets read to a blind person... It gives them no clue what the page being linked to is about. Using a text link with appropriate link text describing the page being linked to and CSS to associate a background image with it gives me the best of all worlds IMO:

1) Crawlers see a text link with real link text describing the page being linked to
2) Browsers w/ images turned off and screen readers (neither of which can "see" an image) are presented a text link with real link text describing the page being linked to
3) Browsers w/ images turned on see the image itself

I am sure some purists will think this is a bad idea from an accessibility perspective. But my friend who is totally blind and works for Microsoft said he prefers this experience.

It would be tough to do with dynamic content unless you generate the CSS for the images as inline CSS (or generate external CSS files when images/links changed and have a process to push them out to the server(s)).

Just an idea...

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 5:03 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

describing the page being linked to

in general, the description of the referenced page should be in The Title Attribute [webmasterworld.com] of the anchor tag.
you want to avoid stuttering and there are a lot of variations on this which are best described in these Accessibility Guideline Techniques:

H2: Combining adjacent image and text links for the same resource:
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H2.html [w3.org]

H30: Providing link text that describes the purpose of a link for anchor elements:
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H30.html [w3.org]

H33: Supplementing link text with the title attribute:
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H33.html [w3.org]

testing with a lynx browser will give you a good indication of your success or failure using these techniques.

many relevant issues were discussed in this thread.
accessibility and <h1> header images:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/accessibility_usability/3844966.htm [webmasterworld.com]

in my experience the alt text in the header images was indexed but i didn't set up a scientific test to compare the effectiveness of pure text vs alt text.
in my case i had to implement an image-based solution and wanted to get the best possible results under the circumstances.

Silvery

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 3:53 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

graeme_p I don't believe the ALT text should ever be empty for a clickable image -- neither for SEO or accessibility.

I think it might be possible to use a separate stylesheet that targets audio browsers, though, which might be a way to suppress image links that are duplicated with text links.

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 4:00 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

In an attempt to look natural whilst building strong links I have nearly always tried to create a mixed bag of incoming links. Some with;

Text links with targeted anchor text
Text links with un-targeted anchor text
Text links without anchor text - URL only
Unlinked instances of URL
Image links with targeted Alt,
Image links with untargeted Alt
Image links with file name as Alt
Image links without Alt

The more natural and quality orientated your link profile looks the better. You need to decide and research what ratios are normal for your industry/niche and try to replicate what naturally occurs...

Remember most freely given editorial links are not that optimised

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 5:11 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

@silvery, I was following a W3C recommendation - see the Example one in the first of phranque's links (although I got in from another document that I cannot find right now).

I have also read that screen readers are not good at following the style sheets they should. I have not had any opportunity to test this, so I am going on what I have read.

Jon_King

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 6:32 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>Remember most freely given editorial links are not that optimized

Link text that is... but, the "meaning" of the inferring page "passes" depending on those text "hints" we call anchor text.

The meaning of the page is a factor, the specific link text is a factor and the two combine within a larger context of the site and more to yield a ranking value.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 6:59 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Image links require alt text as anchor text and Google will treat it the same as a text link.

Yahoo! and Bing are reliable as well. No guarantees on other engines which is why text links are better than image links.

CenSin



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 7:07 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

With linked image you have bonus traffic from SE images search associate to your alt text.

I even get "Images for [mysitename]" on the fifth result of page 1, when I search for [mysitename] using goog, displaying a couple images from my site.

vegasgirl



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 7:18 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ZydoSEO - doesn't that considered cloaking? perhaps it's better using sIFR method (which Google actually recommend).

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 1:49 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

bonus traffic from SE images search


Not to distract from the convo, but I've had my fair share of "bonus traffic" thanks to image leeches that scrape the search image results and then hot link the source.

I had to opt out of all image crawlers and image searches, not to mention implement hot link blocking, just to stop wild and crazy amounts of bandwidth leeching.

I agree that it's best to have anchor text links plus alt text links, and google will give you credit for both regardless of whether or not you allow them to put you into the image search scraper cesspool.

CenSin



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 2:32 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not to distract from the convo, but I've had my fair share of "bonus traffic" thanks to image leeches that scrape the search image results and then hot link the source.

I always put watermark (my site name) to my images for 'brand awareness', and consider those scraper as my marketing 'partners'. :)

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 3:23 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

consider those scraper as my marketing 'partners'


I don't remember the site, but they were hardly marketing partners.

Every page load they displayed a bunch of images, kind of like Amazon product suggestions, the page was completely overloaded, it never generated any traffic.

Considering I host about 40K images, and they were leeching them like crazy, it simply had to stop because it certainly wasn't generating any income and was pushing me towards upgrading the server, again.

CenSin



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 4:45 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Considering I host about 40K images, and they were leeching them like crazy, it simply had to stop because it certainly wasn't generating any income and was pushing me towards upgrading the server, again.

I see... That's why you want to block them. Or maybe you can redirect all their images request to one single image promoting your site.

Ghalib



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 11:58 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Test links only fulfill the requirement of natural link. The image link has its own value and can't be ignored. At some locations they too, play a big role. But overall text link is the best

Rlilly

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 3:43 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some links have "alt" type text popping up when you roll over them. How effective is that?

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4211262 posted 11:18 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Often image ads can complete the overall backlink profile and maintain 'diversity normalcy' in the profile, even if the net effect is not as sharp, or direct, from the link.

Therefore, I think it is important to have image backlinks, as a particular percentage of backlinks, regardless of whether a text link in the same scenario would present the better advantage, in order to round off the build.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Marketing and Biz Dev / Link Development
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved