Optimizing Image Links - SEO benefit of title tag vs alt tag

18 replies
  • SEO
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I've searched around for information about this, but for the most part all I can find are opinions.

What I'm looking for is information concerning whether or not the title tag in an image link has any added SEO benefit over the alt text. I've always used both, but have never tested one versus the other. It is widely believed that search engines look at the alt text of the image as somewhat equivalent to the anchor text of a hyperlink. Is it the same for the title tag? Can the title tag carry more weight?

Obviously, I could test this, but before I spend my time doing that I was hoping that maybe someone already has or can point me to an article about someone who has.

I know that Google has let it be known that alt text is looked at by their crawlers, but Google is also not always entirely upfront with their information and conveniently leaves out additional information that could be beneficial to anyone hoping to get better rankings. Everything I can find from them about title tags in images seems to indicate their search engine is pretty indifferent towards them, but that doesn't mean it is true.

Anyhow, if anyone has any solid information on this, I would appreciate it.

I'm not looking for opinions. I could care less what your opinion is about the topic. Solid facts please. I did this... and got this...

Thanks.
#alt #benefit #image #links #optimizing #seo #tag #title
  • Profile picture of the author doshmachine
    Remember to title your image files with your keywords too...
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    • Profile picture of the author FredJones
      For SEO, I would go with alt tag over title if I had to go with one, but why not go for both? Surely that does not hurt the SEO?

      If you mean in the marketing sense then whether you need a title or not will depend upon your site, and alt usually does not hurt but again, depends...
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    From my own testing with images (+2k images) I've found that an image ALT-text will show up inside a Google Cache (text only version). The image Title-text will not show up in the Google Cache (text only version).

    I found out a couple of days ago I have a keyword phrase (keyword1 keyword2) that is kicking butt in organic SERPs for a semi competitive keyword. Google SERPs is showing (in this order):
    • My Index page for the keyword phrase (keyword1 keyword2) ranked #1
    • Four Google Sitelinks to pages that contain Images with the same keyword Alt-text (keyword1 keyword2)
    • Four out of five thumbnail images in Google SERPs, the 5th thumbnail image isn't mine.


    The screenshot below is an example of how my keyword phrase (keyword1 keyword2) is ranked, the Index page, Google Sitelinks, & 4 images. This is only an example, not my keyword, & the image is altered to show how my own keywords are showing results in Google organic SERPs.



    Again, the screenshot is altered, don't bother searching for the keyword.




    I still use the image Title tag, but I haven't ranked for any of those keywords, which are not the same exact keywords as my image Alt tag keywords. Both keywords (Alt + Title) are very similar, just not the same exact keyword. That tells me Google isn't paying much attention to the image Title tag.

    I'll still use the image Title tag because you never know what will happen with SEO in the future, I just don't think the image Title tag has much (If any) SEO weight in 2012.

    Another thing I need to look into is, when I click one of my image thumbnails in the Google organic SERPs, & then click on Similar images, I see 6 out of 7 pages of images are all my own sites images, most of these images are running the same or very similar image Alt text + image Title text. I still need to dig in deeper & see which one is triggering the Similar images pages in Google Images, my bet is the image Alt-text.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      From my own testing with images (+2k images) I've found that an image ALT-text will show up inside a Google Cache (text only version). The image Title-text will not show up in the Google Cache (text only version).

      I found out a couple of days ago I have a keyword phrase (keyword1 keyword2) that is kicking butt in organic SERPs for a semi competitive keyword. Google SERPs is showing (in this order):
      • My Index page for the keyword phrase (keyword1 keyword2) ranked #1
      • Four Google Sitelinks to pages that contain Images with the same keyword Alt-text (keyword1 keyword2)
      • Four out of five thumbnail images in Google SERPs, the 5th thumbnail image isn't mine.


      The screenshot below is an example of how my keyword phrase (keyword1 keyword2) is ranked, the Index page, Google Sitelinks, & 4 images. This is only an example, not my keyword, & the image is altered to show how my own keywords are showing results in Google organic SERPs.



      Again, the screenshot is altered, don't bother searching for the keyword.




      I still use the image Title tag, but I haven't ranked for any of those keywords, which are not the same exact keywords as my image Alt tag keywords. Both keywords (Alt + Title) are very similar, just not the same exact keyword. That tells me Google isn't paying much attention to the image Title tag.

      I'll still use the image Title tag because you never know what will happen with SEO in the future, I just don't think the image Title tag has much (If any) SEO weight in 2012.

      Another thing I need to look into is, when I click one of my image thumbnails in the Google organic SERPs, & then click on Similar images, I see 6 out of 7 pages of images are all my own sites images, most of these images are running the same or very similar image Alt text + image Title text. I still need to dig in deeper & see which one is triggering the Similar images pages in Google Images, my bet is the image Alt-text.
      Thanks. Exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
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  • Profile picture of the author arnold55
    Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

    I've searched around for information about this, but for the most part all I can find are opinions.

    What I'm looking for is information concerning whether or not the title tag in an image link has any added SEO benefit over the alt text. I've always used both, but have never tested one versus the other. It is widely believed that search engines look at the alt text of the image as somewhat equivalent to the anchor text of a hyperlink. Is it the same for the title tag? Can the title tag carry more weight?

    Obviously, I could test this, but before I spend my time doing that I was hoping that maybe someone already has or can point me to an article about someone who has.

    I know that Google has let it be known that alt text is looked at by their crawlers, but Google is also not always entirely upfront with their information and conveniently leaves out additional information that could be beneficial to anyone hoping to get better rankings. Everything I can find from them about title tags in images seems to indicate their search engine is pretty indifferent towards them, but that doesn't mean it is true.

    Anyhow, if anyone has any solid information on this, I would appreciate it.

    I'm not looking for opinions. I could care less what your opinion is about the topic. Solid facts please. I did this... and got this...

    Thanks.
    i am reasonable sure that image titles are not relevant but i know alt tags are. i have never ranked for a image title but i have on several occasions (like yukon) ranked for an alt text keyword.

    mike reynolds
    arnold55
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  • Profile picture of the author dminorfmajor
    If I remember, I always try to title it too. It can't possibly hurt.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Another image/Pagerank trick is the way Wikipedia has their images setup.

    Wikipedia doesn't just upload an image to their server & paste the URL in their articles. They create a separate page & then post the full size image on that 2nd page (not the article). Then inside the article they post the image as a thumbnail image linking to the actual image page (the 2nd page).




    What they're doing then is pointing all automobile pages that include that image at the 2nd image page (not the actual image).

    So If I search for automobile on Google, Wikipedia is 2nd in organic SERPs for that keyword search. The automobile wiki article has a PR7.

    The wiki automobile image page has a PR5.

    So basically they are funneling PR into the image page, so they get a free PR5 page that they can do anything they want with, instead of just posting the image inside the article like 99.9% of the web does.

    Each Wikipedia has 3 levels per image:
    Wikipedia article (thumbnail image) >> Wikipedia Image Page (Free PR page) >> Actual Wikipedia Image (full size image)
    Anyways, my point here is you can have user friendly on-page image SEO & milk Free PR/authority without looking spammy.

    So, next time Wikipedia has an automobile related article, they can pass 100% relevant PR directly at the new page for an instant boost.
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    • Profile picture of the author JanisG
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      Another image/Pagerank trick is the way Wikipedia has their images setup.

      Wikipedia doesn't just upload an image to their server & paste the URL in their articles. They create a separate page & then post the full size image on that 2nd page (not the article). Then inside the article they post the image as a thumbnail image linking to the actual image page (the 2nd page).
      Yukon,

      I am using your image trick with 2 images (regular and oversized) on some of my sites. As far as I understand this Wikipedia setup goes one step further. Is it correct?

      Cheers!
      Janis
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by JanisG View Post

        Yukon,

        I am using your image trick with 2 images (regular and oversized) on some of my sites. As far as I understand this Wikipedia setup goes one step further. Is it correct?

        Cheers!
        Janis
        Hi Janis,

        If your talking about the pdf I posted in another thread a while back then yes, Wikipedia is taking it one step further. If you've already done the two page image setup in the pdf, then you can copy the wiki setup by making the large image on the 2nd image page clickable & pointing directly at the image which would be the 3rd step.

        Article page (thumbnail image) >> Image page (large image) >> Full size image (only image, no page)
        If your trying to rank the image in the SERPs, I would do all the same exact SEO (image Alt-text, image file name, any anchor-text pointing at the image) on both the thumbnail image (article page) & the full size image (on the 2nd page). I would also suggest having caption text below the images, gives you another chance at describing the image with plain text.
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        • Profile picture of the author JanisG
          Thanks Yukon!

          I will try to figure it out how exactly to link these pages

          Cheers!
          Janis
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  • Profile picture of the author marketwarrior06
    Banned
    i don't think the title of the image is that important. as far i know the image alt tag is the most important thing that you can do for optimizing your images.
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  • Profile picture of the author penpoint
    Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

    I've searched around for information about this, but for the most part all I can find are opinions.
    Wow, you just got a bunch more opinions, didn't you? And that's all you will ever be able to get because nobody knows for sure what Google is looking at and how much weight is being given to any factor.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by penpoint View Post

      Wow, you just got a bunch more opinions, didn't you? And that's all you will ever be able to get because nobody knows for sure what Google is looking at and how much weight is being given to any factor.
      So your pretty much wasting your time in the SEO forum, right? :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author penpoint
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        So your pretty much wasting your time in the SEO forum, right? :rolleyes:
        No, I'm not wasting my time because I can always get ideas and OPINIONS! - which I value! But, OP stated, "I'm not looking for opinions. I could care less what your opinion is about the topic. My point is, opinions are about the only thing you are going to be able to get, unless you ask Google.

        Even testing in a case like this has very limited value because there are too many variables. But, one can weigh the opinions, thoughts, and points that are shared by contributors and use those as a basis upon which to formulate ideas and plans.

        Of course, you're welcome to have a different opinion and I will consider it without "rolling my eyes". To your credit, you seem to be the only one offering any actual test-oriented results. Kudos for that.
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
          Banned
          Originally Posted by penpoint View Post

          No, I'm not wasting my time because I can always get ideas and OPINIONS! - which I value! But, OP stated, "I'm not looking for opinions. I could care less what your opinion is about the topic. My point is, opinions are about the only thing you are going to be able to get, unless you ask Google.

          Even testing in a case like this has very limited value because there are too many variables. But, one can weigh the opinions, thoughts, and points that are shared by contributors and use those as a basis upon which to formulate ideas and plans.

          Of course, you're welcome to have a different opinion and I will consider it without "rolling my eyes". To your credit, you seem to be the only one offering any actual test-oriented results. Kudos for that.

          I see what your saying now, I won't roll my eyes again, lol.

          I do have a lot of time invested in my own sites images & SEO.

          I've even tested EXIF data embedded in the images, errr what a time consuming headache with no noticeable results. Google will display EXIF data on their image frame, but it's as If they don't do anything else with that data.

          What I did was stuff the EXIF data with highly irrelevant unique keyword strings, example, s4fsdf65s4fdsf54sdf just to see If my images would show up in Google organic text and/or Image search. The EXIF data didn't even phase the SERPs. I still ranked for my Alt text, but never did rank the EXIF keywords.
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  • I hope this isn't too off topic, but I always use Title tags for hyperlinks, too. Google crawls it all, I'm sure, so I put keywords wherever I can.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaryPabalates
    Banned
    According to "Perfect-Optimization" (an SEO ebook), you should add alt text to image for getting benefit from SEO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lukas
    Yukon,

    Great information! Thanks for sharing. I noticed a local competitor using this method. All No. 1 rankings along with using tables, td, font size=4 etc..(old school stuff) and very useful external local links. If I were G00gle I'd say it is user friendly. Does it look like sites of today with social, video, or design..not really.
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