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Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value

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Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value andrewwintl 7/14/11 4:20 PM
I have read the FAQs and checked for similar issues: YES
Description (including timeline of any changes made):

I am searching for results to find out the value of text links versus image links with alt text.

Do any of you have testing results that can answer or discuss these questions?

If 2 separate pages on the same domain were to have the same Page Authority, same amount of internal and external links and virtually carry the same strength and the location of the image or text link is in the same spot on both pages, in the middle of the body within paragraphs.

1) Would an image link with alt text pass the same amount of Page Authority and PR as a text link?

2) Would an image link with alt text pass the same amount of textual value as a text link? For example, if the alt text on the image on one page said "nike shoes" and the text link on the other page said "nike shoes" would both pass the same value to drive up the rankings of the page for "nike shoes"?

3) Would a link wrapped around an image and text phrase be better than creating 2 links, one around the image and one around the text pointing to the same page?

The following questions have to do with when you have an image and text link on a page right next to each other, like when you link a compelling graphic image to a category page and then list a text link underneath it to pass text link value to the linked-to page.

1) If the image link displays before the text link pointing to a page, would first link priority use the alt text and not even apply the anchor text phrase to the linked page?

2) Would it be best to link the image and text phrase together pointing to the product page to decrease the link count on the page, thus allowing for more page rank and page authority to pass to other pages that are being linked to on the page? And would this also pass anchor text value to the link-to page since the link would include an image and text?

I know that the questions sound a bit repetitive, so please let me know if you need any further clarification. I'd like to solve these to further look into ways to improve some user experience aspects while optimizing the link strength on each page at the same time.

Thanks!
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value RainboRick 7/14/11 5:22 PM
Image links pass just as much PageRank as text links, but according to people I respect who tested for it, the anchor text value of the 'alt' attribute isn't quite as strong as plain text would have been.  I don't know what happens when you mix image and text in a single link, but I would expect the text to take precedence.  Splitting the two into separate links might well be worse since Google will only consider one link when there are multiple links on the same
page pointing to the same URL. 

On the whole, I'd say you're over-thinking this situation.  The differences between the various combinations of text and images and links that you describe are not likely to make enough difference to matter.  Google has seen all of these things before and has accounted for them in the ranking methods.  If you post a significant number of such links, they're more likely to be discounted and possibly ignored.  Good luck!

Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value 奥宁 7/15/11 12:37 AM
It really is all relative.  You should pick what is most relevant for the user, because honestly different pages and sites would have different results.  if your heavy on pics and that drives your content, images would be good, otherwise, might not be as helpful.  if you are using a smaller version of a popular image on your site that does very well, it might be a useful link.  a one time image that is just the text looking pretty might not.  Like lets say its Nike and hte file is Nike-logo.jpg that might do better than link Nike with file 1294018294081.jpg or Nike with file dog-eating-cheese.jpg

its heavily situational and depends if you do it right.

also you have to account for what it does to the page speed.


my advice, don't worry about the "link juice" make it work for the user and easily parsed.  If it looks good, is easy to use, is fast, and SE friendly, it'll be fine. 

hope that wasn't too rambly to miss the point
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value Chris64 7/25/11 5:29 AM
Not attempting to argue (to much) with a level 12 and a top contributor, but I notice that you are both advising him to 'back off on the (extreme) SEO' as Google knows all and we should write for the human visitors, etc.

But isn't the whole point of thorough SEO looking at the smallest pieces and optimizing them so that altogether they help us rank higher?

Additionally, as far as "link juice" concerned. I would say that optimal use of anchor tekst as a structural approach for interlinking your website is quite important. Google does still use a formula to rank sites, don't they? :)
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value 奥宁 7/25/11 7:07 AM
I think its a case by case situation like i said, there isn't a "right answer" perse

my theory is build for the user then optimize for the SE
SEO is more build for the SE then make it user friendly.

thats why i advice picking whats best then making it fast and fully optimized.  example:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/nhl/teams/?eref=sinav
http://espn.go.com/nhl/teams

two very similar tier one sites in their industry with different styles.  one does the images one doesn't.  one ranks higher for: "New Jersey Devils"  the other for "New Jersey Devils Team"  one is more general one is more what a fan searches to sift through the junk.  both work, but htey work differently.  it depends (to me) if you're targeting a very specific KW or a general type of search

 

Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value cristina 7/25/11 7:23 AM
I think that RainboRick and Andy are right, do the links in the way that is best for the people visiting your site.
If the content of the page is such that you feel the need to link twice, by image and by text, do so in a logical and helpful way, without keyword stuffing.
Look at the page as it is cached by Google, the text-only version. The text-only version of the cache has the content of the alt attributes instead of images (obviously, being text-only it does not have images), so you can see there if the text in the alt attributes makes sense.
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value cristina 7/25/11 7:35 AM
Another thing about links is the accessibility aspect.
Use the title attribute of images and of text links to describe the content of the image and of the page linked to.
And do not link to different pages with the same anchor text.
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value boltsabre 7/25/11 7:59 AM
To the best of my knowledge, when google indexes a page it will take the first link to another page (if there are multiple links to same page), and discount all other versions of links. So that means that if you an image link with alt="nike shoes" then later in the page a text link that says "click here to see nike shoes" the anchor text that google will pass to the page will be 'nike shoes' from the image alt text.

As such, having multiple links to one page with different anchor text is not going to benefit you in the slightest (in fact, if you had many, I imaging google may give you a penality for link/keyword stuffing).

To answer the questions:
1. An image link and a text link will pass exactly the same amount of PR, no difference in the slightest.
2. I don't believe that image alt text passes as much 'anchor text weight', but to the best of my knowledge it is only minimally less (best thing in this case is do your own testing if someone else cannot give a concrete answer)
3. As mentioned above, having two links, as opposed to one will not benefit you in terms of SEO in the slightest (but as other people have mentioned.... is it better or worse for your users...???). As for wrapping an image (with alt text) and text all together in an anchor tag, well that is an interesting idea. Again you'll have to do some testing, and see what text is used for the 'anchor text', I'm not sure if it's the alt text, the text text, both, or whichever comes first in the anchor tag. If you (or someone else knows, I'd be very interested to know)

Your second question 1. Yes, only the first link is considered, the others are just ignored.
Your second question 2. Your talking about 'link juice' sculpting, and basically it wont work, and if you try to manipulate it you could actually hurt your rankings. But this is how it works... google counts the total number of unique links on a page (this includes any that you may have noindex'ed or nofollow'ed - it counts them ALL). It then gets that particular pages PR score, divides it by the number of unique links, and passes that value onto all that have no rel='nofollow'. Any link juice left over because of nofollow'ed links is lost.

To be honest, I think in this particular situation (as everyone else has mentioned), either using image alt text or a text link is going to have minimal impact - just do whatever looks best for the site.
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value Chris64 7/26/11 3:12 AM
Andy, thank you for the reference. It is indeed a good example of the described situation. As a sidenote: The ESPN site, which doesn't link the images, but only the text, does rank higher on the more important keyword 'new jersey devils' (and also ranks top-10 on 'new jersey devils team'). I know...it's just one of the trillion SEO factors.. ;)

[quote boltsabre:]
"To be honest, I think in this particular situation (as everyone else has mentioned), either using image alt text or a text link is going to have minimal impact - just do whatever looks best for the site."

It seems we're clear on that now. I won't argue. Even though it does strike me as a bit contradictory after that whole technical breakdown you presented us with :)

In any case, I believe the topic-starter has what he needs.
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value cristina 7/26/11 4:17 AM
About two links, image and text, keep in mind that there is an accessibility requirement to separate links, have some text between links, do not have two links immediately one after another,  screen readers might have problems with that.
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value Drazen Dodig 11/2/11 4:40 PM
The answer posted by boltsabre - which is marked as the best answer - is wrong. Boltsabre said "when google indexes a page it will take the first link to another page (if there are multiple links to same page), and discount all other versions of links". Matt Cutts says the opposite. Refer to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYWlEItizjI
Re: Image Links Vs. Text Links, Questions About PR & Anchor Text Value 奥宁 11/2/11 7:51 PM
hmmm, odd to revive this old thread.  

yes, he was wrong about that part, but that wasn't the original question at all.  the asker thought his explination of image verses text was well thought out