11 Replies Latest reply on Apr 7, 2010 1:55 PM by mhollis55

    A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.

    martcol Level 4

      I've been reading about the Dark Art of SEO and frankly, a lot of it is more confusing than I anticipated.  Anyway, I'll summarise a bit here.I have read that:

       

      File/folder names are better with meaningful words and hyphenated words.  so DCM000123.jpg in a folder called galimg would be better as: /gallery-images/painting-title-here.jpg

       

      Alt="" text can add to the content of your pages.

       

      My thinking underneath this relates to a gallery site I built with around 200 individual paintings in it.  So the site has a lot of content but not a lot of text.  I wonder if I should start trawling through all of this to change the file names and folders and add alt="" text more meaningfully to help with SEO?

       

      So if my thinking is OK, here are the questions.

       

      How would you put the alt="" text on individual images?  I imagine that it should just be a straight-forward, what-you-see description?  But there are a few other options.  Suppose I have an image that the artist has titled, "Cattle on a Hill" and it's an oil on canvas.  I could make that into,

       

      alt="Oil on Canvas: Cattle on a Hill" or

      alt="Cattle on a Hill" or

      alt="A group of cows grazing in pasture under moonlight." or

       

      Suppose I have 20 images in a portrait gallery:

       

      alt="Portrait.  Oil on canvas: Joe Bloggs" or

      alt="Portrait.  Joe Bloggs" or

      alt="Man with grey hair wearing a blue shirt sitting on a bench" or

      alt="Portrait painting.  Oil on canvas. Joe Bloggs: Man with gray hair wearing a blue shirt sitting on a bench"

       

      The second part of the question also includes the problem that if I have 20 images in a single gallery page and I put "Portrait painting" in each alt="" text is that going to look like key word stuffing?

       

      Now on to the file name thing.  Should the file names be portrait-painting-01 and so on or should they be Cattle-on-hill or what?

       

      Final question: am I making too much of all this?

       

      Thanks

       

      Martin

        • 1. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
          370H55V Level 4

          First of all, stay away from spaces in file names AT ALL COST.

           

          The examples you cited would look like:

           

          alt="Oil%20on%20Canvas:%20Cattle%20on%20a%20Hill" or

          alt="Cattle%20on%20a%20Hill" or

          alt="A%20group%20of%20cows%20grazing%20in%20pasture%20under%20moonlight."

           

          to an SE crawler.

           

          If you really want effective picutres, use Photoshop or Fireworks to embed metadata and THEN add them to your site.

           

          Alt tags means the text that would appear if the image didn't for some reason. It also helps with accessibility for visually impaired viewers who use plug-ins to allow their browser to "speak" the images to them when the page loads.

           

          <img src="img/example-1.jpg" width="128" height="160" alt="example-1.jpg" />

           

          Above is an example of how to add alt text. Dreamweaver actually loads the alt tag automatically unless you've turned it off somehow.

           

          Either put the info in the Alt box in the properties panel, or in code view, add it between the quotes.

           

          To the second part of your question, Alt tags are meant for SEO with the images only (Like when you search for images of a certain name or containing certain tags)

           

          and really have little effect on the page SEO itself. For that type of optimization you want Keywords, and Descriptors in the <head> portion of the

           

          individual page:

           

          <meta name="google-site-verification" content="Optimizer code would go here" />

           

          <meta name="Description" content="Page name, site name, business name, location, phone number, etc. goes here"/>

           

          <meta name="Keywords" content="Restaurant, Sports bar, Catering, Hotel, Gallery, Car Dealer, Exterminator or whatever describes the site and page as well as content of the pages"/>

           

          <meta name="author" content="your name here"/>

           

          <meta name="robots" content="index, follow"/> (This tells search engine crawlers to index this page and each one you add it to,  and follow them site wide)

           

          <meta name="revisit-after" content="7 days"/> (This tells the crawler when to revisit for updates after it has indexed the site)

           

          To your last question. No, you're not making too big a deal out of it, if you're talking about exposure for a business. If it's a personal gallery of your favorite vacation pictures? You just might be.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
            martcol Level 4

            Many thanks,

             

            I have to say I have never come across that cautionary note about spaces and alt text.  I'll read up on that a bit more.

             

            I have most of that meta data in most of my sites but tweaking this is partly about helping me have a practical exercise to do to aid with the learning process.  The other part is to genuinely try to improve a sites chances in terms of SEO.

             

            The site is for an artist's gallery and although it isn't an ecommerce site there is definitely a benefit to him to putting out there and the site makes it clear that paintings are up for sale and commissions to be arranged.

             

            I think that maybe some of my apprehension is that I have always firstly thought about alt text for the accessibility issues you mention.  However the SEO stuff also seems important because as I say, the site has loads of images but littletext.

             

            Martin

            • 3. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
              Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              10 years ago, with the proliferation of Alt text keyword spamming, search engines stopped placing importance on Alt text. If you want to improve Search results on a gallery site, you should use real text (captions), meaningful page titles and filenames without spaces. Use hyphens or underscores between words in filenames the way blogs do.

               

               

              Nancy O.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                martcol Level 4

                I'm beginning to conclude that my alt text should be written for people.  I always did just approach it by writing something about and image for someone that might not be able to see it too well.

                 

                Martin

                • 5. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                  martcol Level 4

                  One more on this to follow through on Nancy O's point.

                   

                  The site I'm thinking of, the site owner doesn't want captions but if I knew how important they were for SEO I'd do a bit more to persuade him.  On one level, I'm not that bothered.  I just want to do the best I can to help his site do better in the search engines.

                   

                  Martin

                  • 6. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                    Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                    the site owner doesn't want captions...I just want to do the best I can to help his site do better in the search engines.

                     

                    OK.  Use the title attribute.

                    http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/global.html#adef-title

                     

                     

                     

                    Nancy O.
                    Alt-Web Design & Publishing
                    Web | Graphics | Print | Media  Specialists
                    http://alt-web.com/
                    http://twitter.com/altweb
                    http://alt-web.blogspot.com

                    • 7. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                      martcol Level 4

                      Thanks Nancy.

                       

                      I noticed today that a Google search on the artists name brings up two of his images on the front page and he is second place.  That's a first after about 2 years I think.  It was interesting that the two images are not in the page but are linked to from a text page using alt and title attributes and the text link.  None of the 200 or so other images in the gallery pages get a mention.

                       

                      Anyway, thanks again.

                       

                      Martin

                      • 8. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                        martcol Level 4

                        Oh,

                         

                        Since Mac+Win=Me posted about not including spaces in alt text, I have been reading up on this in my spare time and can't find any reference to it anywhere.  I'm thinking that you can use alt text without spaces?

                         

                        Martin

                        • 9. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                          Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          I think you misunderstood.

                          Stay away from spaces in file names.  Alt text can and should contain spaces if needed.

                           

                           

                          Nancy O.
                          Alt-Web Design & Publishing
                          Web | Graphics | Print | Media  Specialists
                          http://alt-web.com/
                          http://twitter.com/altweb
                          http://alt-web.blogspot.com

                          • 10. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                            martcol Level 4

                            Mac+Win=Me wrote:

                             

                            First of all, stay away from spaces in file names AT ALL COST.

                             

                            The examples you cited would look like:

                             

                            alt="Oil%20on%20Canvas:%20Cattle%20on%20a%20Hill" or

                            alt="Cattle%20on%20a%20Hill" or

                            alt="A%20group%20of%20cows%20grazing%20in%20pasture%20under%20moonlight."

                             

                            to an SE crawler.

                             

                            I see, I think.

                             

                            I know about the file names and spaces but I wasn't confusing alt="" text and file-names.jpg!

                             

                            Still, that clears that up.

                             

                            Martin

                            • 11. Re: A Few SEO Questions: Alt="" text and file/folder names.
                              mhollis55 Level 4

                              Alt text needs to be readable and may contain spaces. Filenames with spaces are bad.

                               

                              One way that Adobe's Photoshop handles this is that when you have an image that you wish to "Save for Web and other Devices," it will rename the file with underscores instead of spaces. i should mention I'm using CS3 here, so Adobe has become aware that file naming conventions need to work.

                               

                              One really cool tool I use for massive file renaming is to use Adobe's Bridge. You can do a really quick file rename from the typical camera image name: IMG90293.JPG to something descriptive like: Back Porch001.jpeg.

                               

                              Please note the space in the filename above.

                               

                              So when you resize the photo, and save for Web and Devices (which allows you to resize as well), it will rename the JPEG, GIF or PNG result with an underscore: Back_Porch.jpg

                               

                              And you're all set.