Improve Site Performance with Anchor Text & Images

 In Best Practices

1279957900, Kristina Astakhova

You’re a marketer. You eat, sleep, and dream ways to increase open rates, feed your funnel, and drive conversions. Sure, your parents don’t understand what you do, and some days you don’t either, but right now you’re laser-focused on getting more impressions for your website.

If you’re lucky enough to work with a web team, then you probably already have the big stuff covered—SEO keywords, custom CTA, relevant anchor text, but did you know that the images you use on your pages can boost performance too?

Beyond aesthetics and user experience, imagery can play a strategic part in driving traffic and boosting your site’s search results. How’s that you ask?

What is Anchor Text?

Screen capture highlighting what anchor text looks like and where it lives in a module

Anchor text is the text you often find inside an article on a web page that links you to another page. It’s typically denoted by a different color, and when you click it, you’re usually taken to another page that gives context to what you’ve been reading or offers up additional content on a similar topic.


All of our lives have changed, and for marketers, that means changing the way we connect with consumers

Anchor text provides valuable information for readers and search engines, because it typically indicates what you will find on the linked page. If it doesn’t, it may negatively affect search and push the page further down in search rankings.

Are Image Anchors a Thing?

A stock image of a yellow background with colorful balls and a ring by Adaask

1305695266, Adaask

There are several different kinds of anchor text, with names like, “exact match”, “partial match” and “phrase match”, but you probably come to iStock to learn about best practices for imagery. Like anchor text, a relevant and interesting image can be used to drive readers to another page and expose them to even more content and other opportunities to develop a deeper relationship with your brand. In fact, a well-round link strategy might expect 5-25% of all links to be from images, but using image links is about more than just inserting an image and linking to a complementary page.

Using Images as Anchors.

A color blocked image of laptops, monitors, blenders, headphones, and game controllers by Sefa Ozel

1298938764, Sefa Oze

When images are used to link or “anchor” two pages together, search engines use the image’s alt tag as the anchor text. So, while your image may visually attract your reader, it’s important to make sure you’ve built in the appropriate alt text so that search engines find your visual content equally attractive.

Alt text for image anchors should use SEO keywords and any other descriptive words that clearly highlight the topic of the image and the linked page. Alt text writing is a skill unto itself. A simple Google search will generate numerous tips and tutorials to help. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you find yourself writing image alt text:

  • Be as specific as possible—NOT just “pancakes” but “A stack of blueberry pancakes on a red plate”.
  • Be direct because many screen readers stop reading alt text at 125 characters.
  • Focus on the most important and relevant keywords, but don’t use too many.
  • Don’t use too many “picture of”, “image of” or similar descriptors that are already assumed.

What Kind of Images Make the Best Anchors?

A light purple stock image with four purple arrows and a blue longer one by Eoneren.jpg

1305100623, Eoneren

As with text, using bland, generic images will only hurt a page’s search results. Anchor images should be clearly connected to the page’s content, engage the reader with an interesting action or detail, and differentiate the page from others that address the same or similar topics.

Technically, it’s best to keep your images small, so they load quickly, and responsive, so they display appropriately on any size screen. Photos work best when they are a JPG or PNG saved at 72 ppi (pixels per inch), and graphics such as icons and illustrations work best as SVG files.

Image Options to Boost Search Results

An artist drawing of a smiling woman holding a magnifying glass in front of a set of books by Liravega

1329043161, Liravega

High-quality, captivating images with thoughtfully crafted alt text can be the little something extra that pushes your search results from acceptable to awesome. Whether you subscribe to one of iStock’s monthly or annual plans or opt for a credit pack, you get access to the world’s most comprehensive source for premium, royalty-free photography, illustrations, and vector graphics. Basic, Premium, Premium + Video—iStock subscriptions can be tailored to meet all your visual needs with monthly download options ranging from 10 to 750 per month, and credit packs offering many of the same benefits with no recurring commitment.

Transform your web pages into SEO magnets with visuals that appeal to target consumers and the search engines they use. With iStock’s wealth and diversity of imagery, there’s bound to be a visual solution to push your search results to the next level.

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