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Words Or Pictures Of Words?

Filed under: web design — Tags: , ,

I answered a question the other day from someone who was wondering why they were not getting any traffic from Google. When I looked at their first page I could see right away what the problem was. The entire page was one big picture. It was chopped up into smaller slices to help it load faster, but there was no text at all.

When I mentioned this they said that there were plenty of words on the page and in a way there were. What they had were pictures of words on the page and not actual text. Unfortunately they didn’t know the difference.

These are words. You type them one letter at a time into the page. You can select all of them with your cursor or just part, then copy and paste them into a text editor like notepad.

picture of wordsThis is a picture of words. You do type the letters in when you are creating the images in GIMP or PhotoShop, but once you save it as a picture the letters and words are no longer available to you (or anyone) to select as words any more.

It’s important to know the difference because when the search engines visit your page and they see this picture, they see something like this
<img src=”http://www.lillicotch.com/images/words.jpg” width=”240″ height=”170″/>
You are permitted to put an “alt tag” in this where you can write a description of the picture (and are encouraged to do so), but because it’s not visible to all it’s not trusted the same as if it were actual text that everyone can see.

There are times when you want to do this. Clearly the letters can be much more fancy this way and you are limited quite a bit with plain text as to what will work on a web page, so it may be OK for some places on your page.

Search engines are also getting better at “reading pictures”, but there is still not a good reason to put the main text of your page in a format that is still hard or impossible for search engines to read.

SEO For Images On Your Site

1 Comment »

  1. […] other day I wrote about not using pictures of words in place of real words on your web page. Well, here’s an example of a site where it works […]

    Pingback by Lillicotch.com » Favorite Site Designs - The Idiotic Adventures of Philippe and Pierre — March 7, 2009 @ 9:17 am

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