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Old 06-11-2008   #1
clickagent75
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Spanning text vs. using ALT descriptions for images.

Hi,

I've been doing some research on some SEO sites, particulary images and how the methods of describing the image.

I noticed that some sites use <span> with a CSS style of DISPLAY: NONE to contain text about an image, but it's not visible to a user.

How's this different than using an ALT tag to describe the image?

Are there any SEO advantages?

I also noticed that they'll use these <span> tags within an <h1> or <h2>.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-11-2008   #2
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Re: Spanning text vs. using ALT descriptions for images.

Using an external css that engines can't see with text content they can see but users can't especially in an H1 and/or H2, is a practice that might very well get your site banned from Google.

ALT is short for Alternative text:
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TEC...ext-equivalent

In some cases where Flash imagery contains text and the text in then "Display none" area matches exactly, is the only time I would consider using such a technique. That said, it's still risky, far from a "best practice" and important to know EXACTLY what you are doing.
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Old 06-11-2008   #3
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Re: Spanning text vs. using ALT descriptions for images.

Hmm, seems like a gray area.

Sites that I'm auditing (particularly SEO sites) are doing this (or a variation of it), but doing so at different degrees. Some are being quite bold and containing this spanned/hidden text within an H1/H2 tag...while others are strictly doing it for their graphical navigation images.

I guess buyer beware on this one.

Found this post from SEOMoz:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/guide-to-hidden-text

I guess as long as you use some methods conservatively (read no keyword stuffing) with some practical applications than it should be okay.

Thanks
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Old 06-12-2008   #4
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Re: Spanning text vs. using ALT descriptions for images.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clickagent75 View Post
I guess as long as you use some methods conservatively (read no keyword stuffing) with some practical applications than it should be okay.
No not really, both sets of content must to match!

Here is what Mark Berghausen, Google's Flash Guru had to say:

"If the content of your HTML is at all different from the content of the Flash video, you are toeing the line on what is effectively cloaking, which is a violation of our Webmaster Guidelines."

http://groups.google.com/group/Googl...c0a8c8e9d657f1

Hope that help and please use caution!
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Old 06-12-2008   #5
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Re: Spanning text vs. using ALT descriptions for images.

Oh ya absolutely. I'm not suggesting at all to have any difference between the text and the text within the image. I've read of manual human reviews of websites by Google, and definitely don't want to have any sites have being reviewed b/c of shady tactics.

Tough hole to dig out of.

Thanks beau!
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