Google SEO Guide

A quick review of the Google Search Engine Optimizer Start Guide shows it to be a valuable starter resource to the basics of search engines and page and site optimization for not just search engines but people as well.  I like that it talks about a topic, like unique, accurate page titles, and gives good practice suggestions as well as what to avoid.  It all matches with the common webmaster guidelines in a simple format that is not overly technical.  An excellent resource I will be recommending all clients and people with websites read.

Writing Quality Alternative Text

I linked to a Google video explaining the usefulness of alt attributes for images a while back.  Now Roger Johansson has posted a succinct article on writing good alt text.

Two rules of thumb I use when writing alt text for images are these:

  • If you were to describe the document to someone over the phone, would you mention the image or its content? If you would, the image probably needs an alternative text. If not, it should probably have an empty alt attribute.
  • Does the alternative text of any images in the document make sense if you turn off the display of images in your web browser? If not, change the alternative text so it does make sense and does not provide redundant information.

These two rules should help anyone determine if alt text is necessary and to write good alt attribute text.  By these rules, most images won’t need any alt text and it should be left empty.  In certain cases (perhaps more often for sites who focus more on visual content) the image is the focus and proper alt text to describe the image in order to make sense of the document is required.

Your Product: The Content

Last post I struggled through the most difficult part of my metaphor — a building of website software.  Now I come to the most important and often overlooked part of creating a website — the content or your product.  A physical business is filled with what is being sold, whether products or a place for services.  This is what the people come for.  The quality, price and service all affect customer satisfaction.  On the web, this is only half the story.

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