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Obviously as well as the raw visitors I will recieve I want to claim the obvious SEO benefit.
Im just wondering what is the best way to display the link image? Ideally I'd like a text link from the site but I dont think this is going to happen,so gonna have to make do with a gif.
is it just a case of stuffing the alt tags with my keywords? Is there any way to add anchor text that google would crawl?
That said, in a linked image that Google does not suspect as being paid, the alt attribute's value is used to pass link juice for those words, although at quite a lower level than pure anchor text. You asked about "stuffing" - that can kill the value of the alt text, too. The alt attribute's text should represent what text on the image says, so that assistive technologies such as screen readers can report that information to their users.