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If I have lots of images appearing tumblr blogs, the sort of tumblogs with very little text just reams and reams of images for people to browse through. If my image is embeded in their site like this :

<a href="http://example.com" target="blank">

<img src="example.com/cat.jpg" alt="cute cat"/>

</a>

so the image was a link back to my site. Although there is no anchor text to speak of does Google take into account the alt text of the image ?

Would this still count in Google's eyes as a backlink?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes, the ALTernate attribute acts as 'anchor text' for links that contain images.

A recent test found both Bing and Google indexed/ranked ALT attribute values: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4265397.htm

Also, you need to consider that Google operates functionally like the lowest common browsing denominator (like a Lynx browser, or as one SEO put it 'a blind five year old'), so if you ran a site through the Lynx browser, those ALT attributes are replacements for anchor text.

More recommendations from Google here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=114016

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in addition to this, if there is no alt text but instead html5 figcaption does this do the job as anchor text ? – sam May 28 '12 at 18:01
    
<figcaption> tags normally sit outside the associated <figure> tag to which they relate. Also, <figcaption> tags can contain normal <a> anchor tags containing hyperlinks, so to answer your question - no. – Mike Hudson May 28 '12 at 23:25

Yes, even as a blogger I always optimize the <img> alt attribute text and, if the image acts as an anchor, it's great for my audience as well as for SEO.

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protected by Stephen Ostermiller Feb 18 at 18:15

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