We've covered the topic of having links based on anchor text versus images for many years but I don't know if we covered Google on them. John Mueller said on Twitter this morning that obviously an image link versus a text link are "pretty different."
Linking to a page of content versus an image is different. Google web search rare links directly to images, even really in image search.
He said "one has textual content, the other one doesn't." Adding that "seems pretty different."
Here is the one in context:
This doesn't seem to be about hyperlinking, adding a href around text versus around an image tag, but rather where you are linking, linking to content versus linking to an image.
Forum discussion at Twitter.