Sunday, July 24, 2005

Alt Text and weekend SEO cramming

Water Lily picture from my computer to show where to add Alt text in your site to help increase keyword density and get your site to the top of the search engines.

Ok, so addmittedly my last couple posts have been a wee bit negative. My apologies.

And so, to throw a little balance into the mix, this evening I would like to discuss ALT TEXT!! yes that is right, I am going to change the mood with a lesson on Alt text.

For my non-seo/web savvy readers, Alt text is "Alternative text" that is text placed in the code for an image in an HTML page. If the image is not displayed, the ALT text can be presented instead. ALT text is especially useful to users of speaking browsers. The text should be a brief representation of the purpose of the image, not a description of the image. ALT text is frequently seen when users move the mouse over images. ALT text is read by the browsers and can increase the page ranking for targeted keyphrases.

I use Alt Text frequently, (and well) when optimizing our SEO client sites.

(...oh yeah, SEO = Search Engine Optimization)

I did tuning, or made recommendations for tuning to about 6 sites this weekend, and it still amazes me that people insist on calling naming their logo "logo" when they could call it "BizNetix, located in Rochester, NY, the premiere source for web site design and development search engine optimization and web site hosting". Now doesn't that make sense! (ok, calling it "BizNetix... does not make sense on any site excite the BizNetix site... but you know what I mean). Besides being more interesting, the engines read that text and add it into the mix when determining you ranking for tartgeted keyphrases. By including these phrases in your alt text, you are increasing the density and chance that you will be found.

Being found = more traffic.
More traffic = more customers.
More customers = more money.
More money = happy client.
Happy client = happy Meg.

Now, a word of caution. Do not abuse Alt Text. Do not write a book. Do not say a picture is something it isn't. Always make sure the Alt text relates to the site. Use words in the Alt text that are also used within the site. Do not... I repeat, so not use Alt Text to list all the possible keyphrases you want to be found on. ("book, big book, best book, yellow book, my book, books, bookity book, mispelled booke, bobs book", etc). This is naughty! You will suffer the wrath of the Google Gods, (and the "Yahoo Yoda", the "Alta Vista All-Mighty" etc.) They will eventually catch on, and knock you down a notch, if they are even that nice about it.

Alt text is just one of many tools I use when tuning a site, but it is one of the easiest for the site owner to do as well. Take a look at your site and see if you have missed an opportunity to pack in some keywords.

Now, don't you feel more cheery? I do.

Meghan Wier

SEO Expert

Want to know more about Search Engine Optimization? Read a great SEO Article. (I wrote it a while it is possible that it is a little out of date, although that doesnt mean it still isn't great!)

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