I typically place a link back to our company's website on the websites I create for clients, a "Site designed by" type of link. This is not only for referrals by those that see the site, but also for creating an inbound link to our site in hopes to increase my site's rank in google and such.
Currently I use a small graphic that includes our logo, and link to my site from that, as can be seen at http://www.reevessain.com .
As I learn more about SEO, I read about creating text links with good anchor text as being the best method for inbound links. Would a text link to our site work better for the search engine boost, than my current graphic link? The graphic has alt and title text...does that help in SEO terms, even though it's a graphic link?
Would the difference between a graphic link and a text link with anchor text such as "Website Design by Navigation" be enough to warrant using a text link?
Its been MUCH better to have text links for our sites rather than image links like we used to use. Especially using a title to add some extra text into the link.
My recommendation would be to use text link whenever possible on client sites, unless of course it just looks awkward. There are a few design we've done where we've had to use an image, usually on flash site designs.
A graphic link is still a link. Probably makes no difference to Google, especially if you have something in the alt tag. Designwise, I think it's a bit 'cheeky' putting a graphic on somebody elses home page ....
With anything SEO related, I can't be 100% certain though, but from my experience.. over the past 4 years we have had no problems with the way we link from our clients websites with our logo. All clients are hosted on the same server or same C class IP too.
from what I hear, varying the anchor text back to the site might be the best thing to do from now on.
I always thought if Google wanted to pick up those people that tried to game Google via alot of off page optimization via anchor text links, they would just need to trace back those links and flag them if they have the same anchor text on say over 500 incoming links back to there site.
probably some sort of threshold which could possibly cause problems.
but if your small fry, I'm sure everything will be fine.