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What effect does not using anchor text have?

     
7:21 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am hoping someone can help me regarding anchor text. Of course, I reaiize the importance of the "anchor text" after a link and before the </a> but my question is about "not" using any anchor text.

For example, in my blog and websites there are often images which are clickable and go to a linked site since they are preceeded by <a href=. However, the image is there mostly for its graphical impact and also acts as a link when clicked.

My question is does the fact there may be NO anchor text detract from the links value as far as the search engines are concerned and if the answer is yes, to what degree and is there an alternative?
7:35 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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With images add the "alt" attribute to img element and put your text in there.
7:37 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you put an alt="Text Here" on the image that will count as the anchor text ... Someone else will have to tell you if 'no text and no alt' means anything other than PageRank is passed without any 'text credit' added to the page ... Not something I've tested, but the alt="" on the image should account for not actually having text inside the <a></a>.
7:41 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Last I tested this, it seemed that alt attributes were not as strongly scored as visible anchor text - but they were definitely used in the scoring. In fact, more recently SEOmoz published some correlation studies that showed alt text has a very high correlation value with ranking well. That's correlation, not causation, but the evidence was convincing enough for me to make sure there's a real alt attribute at least in the page's "hero" image.
5:45 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Not every time can you control what ALT text you want to associate with an image. The surrounding text, page title, inbound link profile, etc should make up for the lack of anchor text or ALT.