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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 (example - http://whereisthecool.com/). If my image is embeded in their site like this :

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

<img src="cutecatblog.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 googles eyes as a backlink ?

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2 Answers 2

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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