Q and A: How do we get around the ‘Top Banner’ image alt tag problem?

QuestionDear Kalena…

How do we get around the ‘Top Banner’ image alt tag problem?

I have just read how important it is to have page-content specific titles….what about our site banner?

Even if I use text with a css background-image for the Site Name….it’s still the same on every page!!

Does the use of the H1 tag on each page being different solve this problem?

Thanks
Paul

Dear Paul,

When incorporating keywords into your website, relevance is the most important thing. If you sell ‘blue widgets’ and on your website you have a picture of a ‘blue widget’ (not that I really know what one of those would look like, but just work with me here…) it would be relevant to use the words ‘blue widget’ in your image alt text.

But if you were to have an image of a cow (not that I know why you’d have an image of a cow on a ‘blue widget’ website) I’d advise against using the image alt tag ‘blue widget’ because it’s not relevant to the image.

The same applies to your top banner.

Obviously the top banner is the same on each page and I could imaging your banner would probably contain images, perhaps your logo and maybe even a tag-line or text pertaining to your business.

So use alt image text that would pertain to the banner – put the company name and tag-line or core product in there, but don’t try and cram it with keywords.

Using unique title tags, headings (H1, H2 etc.) and content has far more weight from an SEO perspective than the image alt tags, so if you do this well, you’ll have nothing to fear by having the same alt text for your top banner.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

Q and A: Will two sets of header information effect our ranking?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Our Web site uses a layered navigation scheme which pulls content (formatted as its own page) into a template which wraps the top, left and bottom navigation (also its own page) around the content page. This results is two sets of header tags when the page is loaded in a browser.

Will two sets of header information effect our ranking?

We have a script that pulls the title tag from the content page and displays it at the top of the two combined pages. I’m hoping to hide the second title by hiding it in design notes. If I have design notes in my HTML code, will search engines ignore it?

Thanks

Brad

Dear Brad

Years ago, having two sets of header tags in a document would cause considerable display issues for some browsers but as they’ve evolved (to accommodate for poor coding and situations like this), you most likely won’t have too many browser-related problems.

However, from an SEO point-of-view it would be best if you could avoid unnecessary header tags. The search bots navigate pages from top to bottom, so by default, it will use the header data from the first tag and technically should ignore the information contained in the second one. But having two such tags bloats the code (even if it’s commented-out) and creates unnecessary information that the search bots have to scan, even though it provides absolutely no value to the page.

If the pages being pulled into the template aren’t designed to be viewed or indexed without the layered navigation system you’re using – then really you shouldn’t even need to have heading tags on these docs? Or perhaps as another alternative, have an additional script that runs and only imports/displays all data below the tag.

Hope this helps

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

Q and A: How much should I expect to pay for SEO services?

QuestionDear Kalena…

We are in the early stages of the SEO service development within our company and are now wanting to start getting an idea as to what the going rates for this service generally are within the industry, and what factors effect pricing.

Do you have any knowledge or information regarding this?

Are there any leads/resources you can point me in the direction of for me to gather up information regarding this? How are costs usually determined/laid out within a company offering this service, I’m assuming there are typically multiple levels of SEO one can offer, yet I do not know what the variables are that put someone in one level, and someone else in another.

If you can, please let me know anything about this topic that you can. I’m sure any help will go a long way in helping us sort things out.

Thanks

Myles

Dear Myles

There are many ways you can promote a website online ranging from paid advertising, organic optimisation, social media marketing, local business directory and search listings, article marketing/distribution, viral/linkbaiting etc. etc.

Just like there are many flavours of SEO – there are also just as many types of companies providing these services ranging from large corporate SEO agencies, freelance consultants and specialised boutique providers that focus primarily on one aspect of SEO (and then do it really well).

So as you could imagine, the pricing will differ considerably – and sadly, you don’t always get what you pay for.

Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz wrote a great article on the topic which should give you some more specific information regarding costs and services: SEO Pricing & Costs – What Should You Charge / How Much Should You Pay?

SEOmoz also has a directory of well respected SEO firms in their SEO Services Marketplace. Or the Search Engine College Jobs Board will give you an idea of what price some companies are willing to pay to hire in-house SEO consultants.

At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable with the SEO provider you decide to work with, so ask lots of questions and if you’re not satisfied with the answers move on. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is… oh, and one last thing – avoid any company that guarantees top 10 rankings.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Services

Q and A : How come we see PR for password protected Gmail inner pages?

QuestionDear Kalena…

We all know that PR comprises of backlinks to a particular page or PR passes on from High Page. We also know that Google or any other Search Engine suggests to block a page by using the username and password.

If that is the case then how come we see PR for Gmail inner pages or PR for Orkut pages when logged in?

In reality the PR should never pass to the email account pages when you have logged in.

Thanks

Arnab

Dear Arnab

The PageRank shown in the Google Toolbar is not an accurate measure of a page’s true PR. The Toolbar PR is usually updated 4 – 6 times a year (sometimes more, sometimes less depending on algorithm changes and other search updates).

As a result of this, there are a lot of pages that will show no rank for months, which really do have a ranking hidden to the general user. Or the complete opposite where pages within a well trusted domain like Google (even non-indexed, password protected pages) will show PR that doesn’t exist.

In these cases it’s nothing more than a glitch in the Toolbar as it’s attempting to guesstimate what the PR would be based on the value normally passed down from the root domain.

You can still use the Toolbar PR as a rough guide, but for the reasons above, it’s best not to focus primarily on the Toolbar PR and use other metrics to measure the true value of a page.

Hope this helps.

Peter Newsome
SiteMost

Q and A: Does Google automatically search sub-directories?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Does Google automatically search sub-directories? Or do I have to have a ‘Links’ page to force google to index the sub-directories?

Also, I was reading about ‘redundant’ content. I have a business directory which will eventually have thousands of pages with the only main difference in content being: {Company} {City} {ST} and {Subject1}. Will Google view this as redundant content?

Best Regards,

Steve

Dear Steve,

For Google to index your sub-directories, you will need some links pointing to them. These links can simply be internal navigation links and if you have a large website, it’s also advisable to include a sitemap that links to all your pages and sub-directories within your site.

In regards to your redundant content query – it’s best SEO practice to have at least 250 words of unique content per page. So if all the pages are the same other than the contact details – then yes, it would be considered redundant content.

My advice would be to offer a one-page listing for each company and on that page have a small blurb about the company, their contact details and a feature that allow users to add feedback/comments/reviews. This should provide enough information for Google to index without causing redundant or duplicate content issues.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost