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SEO Website Audit

All-Graphical Home Page

April 15, 2009

Dear Jill:

I realize that Google picks up Alt text data (aka Alt tags), especially if the graphic acts as a link; however, I am a bit puzzled on how Google ranked a particular site.

I performed a search for [a phrase + Michigan] and this site is #1 on Google. I viewed the text-only version of the home page from Google's cache and performed a search for that particular keyword phrase, and Michigan does not appear anywhere.

Does this mean that Google can determine the location of a given site without indicating the state locale in the visible content or Alt text?

Note: I personally would not recommend relying solely on the use of Alt text…but please, what's your take on this?

Best,

Rene


++Jill's Response++

Hi Rene,

Google will use all the info they know about a site to help determine its relevancy. Because the inner pages do have the address on them, Google knows the company is located in Michigan. The website may also be listed in Google’s local search directory, which would help. Plus, other sites may be linking to the home page and using the word "Michigan" in their anchor text.

Hope this helps!

Best,

Jill

++Follow-up Question++

Jill:

Thanks for the feedback; I thought the same thing, but I just needed confirmation. But what are your thoughts on relying solely on Alt text on the home page of the site? The reason I ask is that a lot of folks don't want a lot of text on the home page of their sites, because visually it is not appealing; however, you and I both know the importance of text.

I hope you can afford the time to answer that question for me.

Best,

Rene

++Jill's Response++

Hi Rene,

Personally, I think it's silly to have an all-graphical home page. I just remembered that this question is in our SEO FAQ as well:

If I have an all graphical page, where can I place keyword phrases for the search engines?

 

Jill

++Additional Follow-up++

Jill:

I agree with you 100%. It's unfortunate that my clients do not feel the same way. I have attempted to explain to them the importance of using more text than graphics, to attempt some type of balance in the site's architecture, but they just don't get it, and it is extremely frustrating.

What do you tell people and how do you cope with difficult clients that just don't get it?

Rene

++Jill's Response++

Hi Rene,

Typically, I don't take the client in the first place if they don't understand exactly what will need to be done, and have already agreed to it. It's extremely important to discuss these types of things before they actually become a client. I always ask them if they understand that the content on their pages will likely be changing, and whether they are okay with that.

That said, you should be able to optimize their inner pages, even if the home page is less than desirable.

Good luck!

Jill


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Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services company.

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