1

Which of these two google favours? Do they have the same weight?

It would be better to include both, an anchor text and the image?

For example:

<a>
<image....\>
<div>Anchor Text</div>
</a>
  • Search is about text. – closetnoc Oct 8 '17 at 17:52
2

An image without an ALT tag is not valid HTML:

An img element must have an alt attribute, except under certain conditions. For details, consult guidance on providing text alternatives for images.

Google, Bing and all other search engines will treat the ALT tag as the anchor text within <a>, however the ALT tag should be treated as a description of the image and not that of what users should expect if they click it. So, if your image is a sunflower but the link is gardening tools, then the text within the link should be Garden Tools and the alt tag within the image remains 'Sun Flower'. Only ever use ALT tags to describe an image and never primary for targetting keywords.

Summary:

  • ALT tags are for impaired users, not search engines.
  • Anchor text is for all users, not search engines.
  • Obey these rules, users and search engines will like you.

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