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From Text Navigation Links To Rollover Images - Seo/google Sitelinks C


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7 replies to this topic

#1 BSG

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:57 AM

Hi all,

Looking for some opinions on this.

I operate a web site that is very well indexed by Google. We hit all our keyword targets pretty much and rank really well. We have Google sitelinks etc.

For the last couple of years I've been using sifr/cufon text replacement for our navigation bar links (so text is beautified to some font).

This hasn't impacted our sitelinks, infact they "appeared" shortly after I started using Cufon, but this is more down to the age of the site, frequency of content updates etc. I'm sure.

My concern is, we have a new design going live soon that does away with text navigation links (home, about us, news etc.) and replaces them with rollover images.

This isn't really optional due to the way to design has been put together - I simply have to use these image rollovers.

My primary concern is, if I do this, I risk losing my sitelinks because Google might have issues crawling the navigation links/buttons as they are images.

I've spent a lot of time reading up on SEO impact on switching to using images instead of text links for site navigation and there are a lot of conflicting articles/views on it.

1) ALT tags: Some of the articles I have read state that simply using an Alt tag on my rollover navigation images (e.g. the Home Page text link which is listed as a sitelink on our google listing, would become and image with an alt tag of "Home Page" thus hopefully preserving the Google sitelink as "Home Page"?)

2) TITLE tags: Some articles state using a combination of Alt and Title tags (set up as point 1).

3) Text-indent: Some articles suggest using both of the above and "hide" a text link of the button underneath it...

In addition to this, some sites have thrown doubt on the best method to use to implement the rollovers.

1) IMG tag with css styling.
2) CSS Sprites: Some say to use them with Alt/title some say to use IMG tag only.

So my question is, what is the safest combination of the above to go for in order for me to preserve our sitelinks on Google and indeed allow other search engines to crawl the rollover images without issue?

I appreciate it is best to use text but as I say, I really need to use these graphics instead.

If someone could help me with this (preferably someone with direct experience with this, rather than assumptions and guesses) I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks,

Tom

#2 chrishirst

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 08:53 AM

Do the "image links" still point to the same URLs?

Is the href="URI/URL" attribute of the links visible in the source code?

Are the alt ATTRIBUTES of linked images using the same text as the link would?

Yes to all those means that SEs will have no problem at all

AND....

Text in title ATTRIBUTE of elements are not used by any search engine.

#3 torka

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:44 AM

The main website I manage used image links with alt attributes for years with no apparent problems in either indexing or ranking. In fact, our images were somewhat abbreviated ("products") while the alt attributes were expanded versions ("red lederhosen products"), also without any apparent problems. (Of course, this was a couple of years back. Nowadays, you might prefer to play it safe and make the alt attributes identical to the in-image text. Your call.)

As to how to implement, IMO, simpler is generally better. Fewer things to go wrong, easier to maintain in the long run, less chance of technology heading off in a different direction. If it were me, I'd just use venerable but reliable ol' IMG elements with alt attributes. YMMV.

--Torka :propeller:

#4 Jill

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:23 PM

The original poster's post was long, so you guys may have missed the specific question regarding SiteLinks:



My primary concern is, if I do this, I risk losing my sitelinks because Google might have issues crawling the navigation links/buttons as they are images.


I guess the answer is still what was said above because Google doesn't now nor have they ever had trouble crawling image links.

But I'm not sure how that all relates to SiteLinks.

#5 piskie

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 07:11 PM

It's the Javascript type Rollover Links that Google used to have trouble with and I am not convinced that they are fully indexable even now.
Rollover effects are achievable using CSS and they then become fully indexable.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:36 AM

It's the Javascript type Rollover Links that Google used to have trouble with and I am not convinced that they are fully indexable even now.
Rollover effects are achievable using CSS and they then become fully indexable.

Google has been crawling all sorts of Javascript links for years. Of course, they don't guarantee to parse/crawl ALL Javascript.

If you want to test this, copy the Javascript code and put it on a Website you know will be crawled frequently. Then replace the links with links to innocuous Websites (government sites, Wikipedia, news sites, etc.) using unique expressions (search on them using quotes -- if nothing is returned, they are unique).

After the page's Google cache has been updated (such that you can see the test Javascript in the cached image) search on the unique expressions again. If your page is returned for those results (or the sites you linked to) then you can make a reasonable inference that Google is probably crawling the Javascript okay.

Edited by Michael Martinez, 21 July 2012 - 01:37 AM.


#7 chrishirst

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

It's the Javascript type Rollover Links that Google used to have trouble with and I am not convinced that they are fully indexable even now.
Rollover effects are achievable using CSS and they then become fully indexable.


Image rollovers have NEVER been a "problem" provided they simply use the onmouseover & onmouseout events to trigger the "rollover", that is EXACTLY the same as the CSS pseudo classes of :link & :hover do.
Only menus that are created using a javascript document.write or DOM insertNode etc. to create the links are going to "invisible" to search engines and other non-js user agents.


If there is a href attribute with a URI/URL in the HTML source code search engines can read it and "follow it" to the target page.

#8 BSG

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:47 AM

Really appreciate the responses all, thank you.

I've got a good idea where I am going now. Will give it a shot and see what happens.

Tom




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