Link Tags With Text And Image: Which Does Google Prioritize?

In cases when html links have both text and image, which one does Google understand better, the alt text of the image or the visible anchor text?
Marie Aquino
February 8, 2022

In the Google SEO Office Hours episode last February 4, a user asked how Google treats links tags (HTML A href tags) that contain both a text and an image. Which one does Google understand better when it comes to what the link page is about – the alt text of the image or the visible anchor text? Does the order in which they occur in the html tag play a role?

According to John Mueller, when it comes to the image itself, they would probably not find a lot of value in that. As an anchor text, if there is an alt text associated with the image, then they would be treated as essentially the same as any anchor text that you have associated with the link directly.

From the point of view of Google, the alt text would essentially be converted into a text on the page and be treated the same way. It is not that one or the other would have more value or not, they are essentially equivalent.

When it comes to the order on how they are written out, the order also does not matter. It is essentially just both on the page.

One thing that should not be done, purely for usability reasons is for example, the reasoning that if the visible text does not matter as much or is the same as an alt text, the visible text will then be removed.

Other search engines might not see it that way and for accessibility reasons, it makes sense to have a visible text, as well. You shouldn’t just remove it to a minimum of just having the alt text, but rather have both of those in there – the visible text and the alt text.

Basing on his answer on the use of both the visible text and alt text of the image for the link and how they are treated the same, will there be more value to SEOs if different keywords or variations are used on the two areas, or should it be uniform? What do you think?

Check out the Google SEO Office hours episode at: