SEO Basics: Text Navigation Links vs. Image Links

Oct 2, 2006 • 10:57 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization comprises many tasks, some more mundane than others, and some more valuable than others. Most tasks performed by a legitimate SEO firm will likely help a website gain search engine rankings. One task that was less important, or so it seemed in the past, was the "clean up" of internal navigation. It is now generally accepted that the use of text links within internal navigation schemes not only helps to lead visitors to more information about a site and its pages, but also helps the search engines in weighing the value of certain pages to a particular topic or search.

A very informative thread at WebMasterWorld Forums from last month detailed a case study that showed the Administrator who started the thread that simply changing navigation links from images to text had a profound effect on rankings for some highly competitive terms. "Tedster" provides the topic, "The Power of Text Navigation," which spurred some great discussion about navigational text links – including anchor text links within content - and also some warnings about overdoing it. He summarizes his study:

Lesson for me -- don't let the issue slide when it comes to using text in main navigation.

Join the discussion or just read the thread to gain some insight at WebMasterWorld Forums.

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Brad Henry

10/02/2006 06:53 pm

If you have worked in SEO long enough you will get clients who don't want to touch their pretty graphical navigation. There is an easy solution. Create a text based page footer using your keywords as anchor text to all major sub pages. Because on page location is a relevant factor, try positioning the footer in the code at the top of the page, similar to a top navigation. You can uss CSS and absolute positioning to have the page footer hide nicely beneath the contents of your page so it doesn't really alter the look and feel of the site. I have employed this with a couple of sites and have seen very good position increases fairly quickly. You can view my client list at my website to see some of the clients this has worked for.

Robby Kyser

10/25/2006 11:00 pm

I employ a full proof graphical / image navigation method for SEO. I'll post the code on the company blog in a few days. The basics are this: * create an unordered list for navigation (horizontal or vertical with styles) * using css, add background images to each <a> element * using css, set <span> visibility to hidden * use javascript to "swap" out the background images * make sure to use an external or head styles so not to muddy the programatic simplicity. Looks beautiful in Lynx

Robby Kyser

10/26/2006 03:21 pm

Sorry about my previous comments. The validation stripped out my tags which would have made the content more relevant. Here is a link to the test: look at the source to snag the css and javascript.


03/07/2007 03:02 pm

Mark Lindsay from Elements has used the information on this forum for several sites he has done for me, so thanks!! Thoughi found the page myself while scouring for SEO information. ALso used the 'Table Trick' which doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but i think its a way of ordering tables so that, as someone said above, the code arrives earlier but the graphical representation on screen of that code fits lower down or wherever its needed for end users. Great thread, thanks very very much!! :)

Targeted Campaign Management

09/12/2013 03:30 am

Very interesting and great information I've read. Text link navigation are good for search engine but for visitors they always like images rather than text.

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