Links & Image Alt Tags for SEO

Here are the questions and the conversations this week surrounding SEO and blogging – specifically a href tags and img tags. How many of you are asking the same question? It goes something like this,

Just so I am clear. It is OK for an image to be linked to Attachment Page, Custom URL or None? Just not Media?  It is all so confusing and there is so much conflicting information.

~ Real Client, Real Frustration

SEMRUSH Image Linking Warnings

In the above conversation, she was referring to an SEMRush report with a If you subscribe to SEMRush you will get a report of regular scans of your pages and posts. If you have your images linking to anything you get a list of urls and a warning. The warning looks like this:

This is saying that if you link your images to itself (a media file like .jpg) google might get confused. *insert shock face*

We already know that we shouldn’t link our images to the attachment page – it is a page with solely the title, sidebar, footer and image. That doesn’t have a lot of quality content, right?

The other options provided natively, in WordPress, are “none” or “custom”.

What SEMRush is saying is that if you have an image – it should have no links or at least link to a content-rich source (like a related blog post).

Should you change all 6000 image links for SEO?

*Climbing on my soap box*

That is ridiculous. Google isn’t ‘confused’ by image links (media files)! Lol

It is pretty simple. The link goes to .jpg or .png if it is a media file.

  • blog.com/wp-content/2019/11/image-name.jpg or
  • blog.exactdn.com/image-name-123123123.jpg
Since 2017, linking an image hasn’t been an issue according to the best practices at google. (see https://www.seroundtable.com/google-image-links-seo-24732.html )
While I get a little scared of being shunned for speaking my mind – let me say one thing: I usually agree with SEMRush. But this?? This is just making people worry for nothing. I can only imagine why they do that – it makes the reports seem useful perhaps?  And changing ALL your images and posts is likely to have a negative effect on how google perceives your blog.

My advice for image linking and SEO?

Changing ALL your images and posts at once is likely to have a negative effect on how google perceives your blog. Going forward if you want to not link images thats fine. But links to images/media files are not a problem. Google is far from confused by us!

On the other hand, if your images link to the attachment page – it looks like a regular page url. Except the only thing on it is NO text, and an image, there is a reason to stop doing that. Don’t do that!
They’re obeying the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the thing.

And the CMA

Now – a caveat. If I’m going to backtalk SEMRush(!!), I have to also say – they might be right at the moment in extreme circumstances. If you want a perfect blog, or you’re just starting. However, with these types of reports – you’ll have to change all your links, tags, headings, etc every time there is a significant update to seo.  They’re obeying the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the thing.
They will always get caught – google is pretty singular minded – provide the best content for the search term.
It’s looking for relevance, authority (which is where links come in), timeliness and intention/context. If you’ve been in this business long enough you’ve seen it happen many many times. Remember the exact keyword had to be everywhere x amt of times in each post? Uggg.
Then the images had to have the exact keyword? (exact – not even plural)
Last year it was H2 tags to include a paragraph directly under post title and before image. NOPE.
I could go on and on… SEO’s are making a fortune holding out hope that they can ‘fix’ things that aren’t broken! A new client of mine just lost 3/4 of her traffic because someone told her to optimize all her top performing posts (an SEO ‘expert’ that a lot of bloggers use) …
Please! If you want to optimize your chances of showing up in search engines – follow the spirit of the law, the best practices, just be the best search result. 

Do we do SEO Audits?

Ironically, yes. But only for best practices! We will help you find keywords and dig into analytics, find your competition, improve your content, find ways and places to collaborate and improve authority… it is NOT about conforming your posts into a formula. If there is a formula, google will find it and get rid of it. It doesn’t want a formula keeper, it wants the best result for the searcher. If you want more information you can contact me, but please read this in its entirety first  << That IS optimization in a nutshell.

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