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Old 09-20-2004   #1
Ross Dawson
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URL Spaces & Alt Tag Naming Conventions

Be gentle with me fellow members for this is my first post and I apologise if the questions are simple, have been answered before, or just have the experts laughing.

Question One: We have a site selling pearl jewellery. Many of the internal links (eg. 'pearl necklaces') point to product pages. The actual product pages have names like 'necklaces1.htm', 'necklaces2.htm' etc. Would it be better to rename these pages to match the keywords and the internal links. For example, from 'necklaces1.htm' to 'white pearl necklaces.htm' ? Is there a downside in putting spaces in the page URL ?

Question Two: The product pages have thumbnail images and brief product descriptions. The alt tags on the images and the descriptions all contain the phrase 'pearl necklaces'. Would the search engines consider this to be 'keyword stuffing' and penalise the pages as a result ?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-20-2004   #2
Incubator
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Hey Ross, in regards to your .html names changing them may help you. It seems you have started off the right way, is your indexing good now under those urls names? Are you specializing just in pearls ?


As for the alt tags they really wont matter, most crawlers ignore them and it really only aids if the pics dont load, so on the note, make any descriptions there as specific to the pic in general.

hope it helps, best of luck

Cheers

WC
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Old 09-20-2004   #3
pleeker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Dawson
Is there a downside in putting spaces in the page URL ?
Filenames should not have spaces. There are some who feel having keywords in the file name helps, others who feel it doesn't. If you want to put filenames in the keywords, use a dash to separate them, like: keyword-keyword.html.

Quote:
Question Two: The product pages have thumbnail images and brief product descriptions. The alt tags on the images and the descriptions all contain the phrase 'pearl necklaces'. Would the search engines consider this to be 'keyword stuffing' and penalise the pages as a result ?
As Incubator said, the Alt tags should be written for accessibility, not for any SE benefit. Just write something that explains the image to someone who has images turned off, or someone who is blind.

HTH.
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Old 09-20-2004   #4
Ross Dawson
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Newbie Thanks

Wow - that was quick. Thank you pleeker and thank you Incubator. That was most helpful.

Incubator, in answer to your question. yes we specialise just in pearls. Our site is totally home grown with no outside help. Our indexing with the search engines is a complete mystery ! For example, on MSN Search we have achieved 5 listings on the first page of results for a search on 'pearl necklaces'. On Google we have never achieved any listing (although I stopped looking after the first ten pages).

Ain't life (and search engines) strange !

pleeker - you mentioned making the alt tags relevant for the blind or visually impaired. I agree totally. In fact we put the several pages of 'pearl information' we have on our site onto separate text only pages. The nature of our business means a lot of the site depends on low contrast images so I hope this helps.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-20-2004   #5
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Good for you on MSN, maybe you should look into your current backlink count at Google to see if that helps.

Im sure you are already targetting terms like"mother of pearl" ....... but i would also try and be as specific as possible aside from the most competitve terms, you can build that area as well on back links

Cheers

WC
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Old 09-20-2004   #6
scolling
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I agree that ALT tags should be for the visitor, but are likely to be related to the product and will invariable contain keywords - BUT DON'T use them to keyword stuff - whether ALT tags can benefit you or not, keyword stuffing sitcks out like a big red flag saying - I've been optimised - rank me!

I wouldn't use keywords for naming your files, unless it makes sense for the visitor however on sites where it makes sense to do so I've had good results with a suitable folder heirachy ie.

domain/pearls/white/necklass.htm
domain/pearls/black/necklass.htm

etc.

But this shouldn't be done just for SE's, just for creating a well organised site and as with anything like this, any results I've seen with this kind of site structure could well be purley coincidental but it makes some kinda sense to me that it should help the SE's understand where you're comming from.

Simon
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Old 09-22-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Dawson
Our indexing with the search engines is a complete mystery ! For example, on MSN Search we have achieved 5 listings on the first page of results for a search on 'pearl necklaces'. On Google we have never achieved any listing (although I stopped looking after the first ten pages).
Ross - As Incubator suggests, look at your backlinks. While all of the engines these days look at backlinks and link relevancy, MSN and Yahoo tend to give more weight to onpage factors. Particularly in competitive areas, it takes more backlinks on Google to do well.

If your site is new, though, it may also be that you've been delayed by the time-lag or "sandbox" effect that's been widely reported on Google. New sites on Google have been taking a few months or more to rank, and it's been theorized that this delay is a delay in weighting inbound links. I'm finding that inbound links on established sites show up fairly quickly, though. How long has your site been up?

Re seeing deep results in Google, the following will give you 100 serps at a time in abbreviated form... not exactly the same as if you view them ten at a time, but good enough to see what ballpark you're in....

http://www.google.com/ie?q=&num=100&hl=en

PS: Adding here that the Google link:domain command is virtually useless these days for checking backlinks... so you'll need to check them on Yahoo. Even though backlinks may not show up in Google, if they exist they should be counted... It's only the Google display that's strange.

Last edited by Robert_Charlton : 09-22-2004 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 09-22-2004   #8
Ross Dawson
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Thanks

Thank you all very much for your replies.

I think the lessons I have learned are:

1. Don't put spaces in file names.

2. Renaming pages with keywords in the name may help a bit with the search engines but probably isn't worth it unless there are other reasons to do so.

3. Write alt tags for the visitor not for the search engines.

4. Don't 'keyword stuff'. (I read in one of the articles that about 4 keyword/keyword phrases per 250 words of copy is about right).

5. Google pays more attention to backlinks than other engines - especially high quality backlinks.

Thanks again to you all.

Ross
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Old 09-22-2004   #9
creativecraig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Dawson
Don't 'keyword stuff'. (I read in one of the articles that about 4 keyword/keyword phrases per 250 words of copy is about right).
When you sit back and read the copy you have written, does it make sense - or are you reading the same keywords over and over again? The way I go about it is to put all the keywords I want in there then go back read it again and rewrite it read it again rewrite it etc...

In the end you have a paragraph of well written keywordy text that makes good sense to the user and the search engine.
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Old 09-22-2004   #10
dannysullivan
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This is such a popular topic that I've been keeping a list of past threads where it has also been covered. In particular, I recommend these two from June 2004:
Feel free to cross-link to other similar discussions you may have seen. I'm keeping a list of these, as it's a popular topic.

Others to consider:

Feel free to cross-link to other similar discussions you may have seen. I'm keeping a list of these, as it's a popular topic.
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Old 09-22-2004   #11
Ross Dawson
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Hi Danny

Didn't expect my humble post to be read by the editor.

Without wishing to give you too big a head I have to say that subscribing to searchenginewatch has been one of the best investments I've made. The articles and forums are tremendously helpful for us non-SEO professionals.

The only concern I have is this (which is probably unanswerable). As a novice I feel I can only 'take' from the forums and have little to offer in return. I would like to contribute but how ? Perhaps if I follow all the advice and become rich and powerful I can buy everyone Ferrari vouchers.

Ross

Physically located in Wales but mentally out to lunch
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