Thursday, January 08, 2009

Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Hey, my name is Zack Duncan. I'm a new member here at Xponex and as part of my training I have been asked to read the Google SEO Starter Guide and the thing I found most interesting in the guide is the section about using images in your website.

Images are of course a good thing to have on your site and a good thing to optimize. All images can have a distinct file name and "alt" attribute, two things you really should take advantage of. The "alt" attribute gives you the opportunity to specify alternative text for your image if it is not possible for it to be displayed for some reason.

But why use this attribute? Simple. If a user is viewing your site on a browser that may not support images, or is using alternative technologies, like a screen reader for example, then the contents of alt attribute provide information about the picture.

Another reason is that if you use an image as a link, then the alt text for the image will be treated somewhat the same as the anchor text of a text link. Although you shouldn't use too many images as links in your sites navigation because text links could serve the same purpose. Optimizing your image alt texts and filenames can make it easier for image search projects to understand your images better.

When using images use brief, descriptive filenames and alt texts. Do not use generic filenames or long filenames and try to refrain from cramming keywords into alt text or copying and pasting whole sections. Also try to supply alt text when using images as links but avoid using only image links for your sites navigation or writing super long alt text that could be considered spam. And lastly , store images in a directory of their own and use commonly supported file types.

2 comments:

John Beagle said...

Interesting you brought up images. Images like any links are the things that connect us.

Yes, the Google guide is in essence the bible for all things Google.

Andy Wendt said...

Right, funny even the new guys see the importance of images along with their alt tags and file names when the entire web design industry is full of people who will take your money and have no clue what they are doing. I offer as the classic example any website, of which there are hundreds, whose first thing on the page is an image that when moused over says nothing more useful than "Img001" and whose file name is even less meaningful. That in my opinion should be a customers first clue that they did not get what they paid for.