Articles written in May, 2012

May 21 2012

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Images


When you view a webpage, your eye automatically darts between the text and the images, taking in all that you see and processing the information to determine what parts of the page are important and what to do next.   Search engine spiders “crawl” a page (by sorting through the text and code) looking for text that they can process and categorize.   Unfortunately they are unable to “see” the images that you have displayed on your website; however, they will be able to crawl the text associated with an image if you or your website designers use the following suggestions.

Alt attribute text is a section of the code behind an image that tells a browser what alternative text should be displayed if the image doesn’t load or the user has images turned off.   This alt text should be a description of what the image says or is about.   Savvy search engine optimizers will make a note to use the keywords that people would search for to find the image in an image search or the page associated with the image in the alt text.   The alt text is readable to search engine spiders as they crawl code looking for text that they can categorize; the follow is what the spider will crawl, an example of what alt text would look like if the image has yet to load, and how the final loaded image renders in a browser.

<img src=”…/keyword-rich-image-name.jpg” alt=”alt text goes here”>

Above is the snippet of code that tells the browser where to load an image from and what alternate text should be displayed.

Another way that the search engine spiders can categorize an image is through reading the text in the image name.   For example, in the example code above, the image name is “keyword-rich-image-name.jpg” and could possibly show up in a theoretical image search for the keyword phrase “keyword rich image.”   If an image is optimized for appearing in a Google Image Search, it may also appear in something called Universal Search.   A search resulting in a Universal Search would result in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that shows results Google has pulled from Image Search, Video search, and other available searches that are relevant to the searched keyword phrase.   Most recently, Google has unveiled the Google Knowledge Graph which may also pull images into a new type of search result.   Keep reading MoreVisibility’s SEO blog for updates on Google Knowledge Graph.

Optimizing images is an important factor in SEO as well as website design and development.   The main takeaways here are:

  • Use alt tags
  • Use keywords in your image names

Added Note: Make sure that the images, alt tags, and image names are all relevant to the page they are included on, otherwise the search engine spider may not consider them relevant and choose not to display them in search results for certain queries.

Using the above suggestions will hopefully improve the search engine rankings of your images for your targeted keywords and allow search engine spiders to crawl your code and “see” the full representation of your website.

May 18 2012

Google’s Search for Your Website’s Pages


Google can be a valuable source of traffic for your website.   Googlers who search for a specific keyword or keyphrase benefit from Google’s curated results.   These results, separated into Search Engine Results Pages, deliver the best quality content that makes sense with the query entered.   Behind the scenes, Google goes through a number of steps before displaying (or serving) the queried content to the user.   These include: Crawling, Indexing, and Serving.

Crawling refers to the GoogleBot, Google’s web crawling bot (or spider), that “crawls” or discovers new and updated pages by following links from site to site.   This is why the “nofollow” attribute (rel=”nofollow”) was created, to prevent GoogleBot from following a link.

Indexing refers to the process of sorting which GoogleBot conducts to organize different content types.   Information processed to help GoogleBot sort a page includes tags and attributes.   Some rich media files or pages with dynamic features are not able to be processed, which is why it is best to try to simplify coding on your website if you find that a page is not showing up in Google’s Index.

Serving is the end result, the displayed snippet when a Google searcher enters a query and results are “served” to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).   Google strives to serve the most relevant pages to a search query and it is a very complex process algorithm which weights results and orders accordingly.

If you are not already familiar, we urge you to read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to learn Google’s best practice suggestions for helping find, crawl, and index your website.

May 8 2012

Google’s Penguin Update Nails Spammers


Google has recently launched its biggest algorithm update since the Panda update from last year. It’s called Penguin and it’s another way Google is actively fighting search spam.

While Panda primarily targeted shallow content, Penguin is specifically an anti-spam update that is punishing sites for techniques like keyword stuffing (using the exact same keyword an excessive amount of times on a page) and cloaking (showing a version of a webpage to a crawler that is different from what a human user sees). It’s easy to see if your site has been affected by Penguin. Just look at your Google Analytics page. Watch the data for April 24, when Penguin went live. Affected sites will see a sharp, immediate drop in traffic — indicating a Penguin penalization.

There has been some buzz about Google launching an update to penalize sites that have been “over-optimized.” Penguin looks to be just that, however the term “over-optimization” is a bit of misnomer. Sites that have followed a balanced, white-hat SEO plan will be negatively affected by Penguin. Sites that have excessively optimized via keyword stuffing need to watch out for Penguin.

It is possible you may have been keyword stuffing by accident with no intent to spam or otherwise game the system. Take the following URL as an example: product page/blue widgets/size10widgets.aspx

It seems like a perfectly normal e-commerce site ticking off product category progression, right? However, Penguin may see it as stuffed with the keyword “widget.” A preferable URL would be: product page/blue/size10.aspx

Another stuffing technique Penguin is looking for is internal links on your site that point to the same webpage using the same anchor text every time. When writing the copy for you pages, you’ll want to use synonyms for your primary keywords for the best optimization. This not only helps people using different search terms find your content, but it helps you avoid keyword stuffing as well. By balancing your SEO plan and producing quality content, you will be able to rank higher and avoid any Penguin penalties.

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