11 May 2011

Alt Tag Those Images...

Ever wonder how much meaningful traffic or links could come your way if you search-optimized your images? The answer might be, More than you'd expect.

Thanks to Google's universal search results, images can help you show up on the first page—or, in some cases, even at the top—of results lists. In the process, you can increase click-throughs, ad views, and AdSense impressions. Best of all, optimizing images could help you complete more leads.

Here are five ways to get your images to rank like a star:

Filenames. Use "jpg" or "gif" files, and include keywords in the image file names.

ALT Text. Use ALT Text for its intended purpose; but wherever appropriate, also incorporate keywords as signals for the search engines.

Headings and Bold Text. Optimize important images by using boldface or a heading tag with your targeted keyword, in the text immediately preceding the image.

Image Captions. When possible, place the search term at the front of the caption.

Image Size. For best results, use images that are larger than 100 x 100 and smaller than 1200 x 1200. Linking to a larger picture with thumbnails can also be helpful.

The Po!nt: Don't overlook image optimization. By applying a few SEO tactics, you can actually make a picture worth a thousand words!

03 May 2011

XML Sitemaps

A sitemap (or site map) is a tool to help search engines crawl and index pages on a website more effectively. That can mean search engines will index more of the pages on your site, more quickly than without a sitemap. That in turn makes it easier for people to find your website.

Google and other search engines will spend only a limited amount of time crawling your site. A complete XML (Extensible Markup Language) sitemap can direct search engines to your most important pages, increasing the likelihood that these pages will be indexed and then discovered by the people you want to attract. This is called "crawl efficiency," and an XML sitemap can improve yours.
Most websites need only a simple HTML sitemap, which has the benefit of helping people, as well as search engines, find individual web pages. If a site is large or complex, or if you want to add more information to a web page listing, Google recommends having both an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap following the sitemap protocol that major search engines adhere to.