• http://www.keshkesh.com/ Takeshi Young

    I don’t see how any of this is Local specific? This is just standard image optimization.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    True, Takeshi. However, this is commonly neglected on local business websites, so I wished to highlight it to SMBs. Since it’s so neglected, it’s particularly impactful in Local SEO since many competitors may not be doing it. Local SEO actually encompasses all regular SEO and includes a handful more ranking factors on top of the “standard” list.

  • http://www.imarketsolutions.com/ Matt Dimock

    Takeshi: you can add a region to your logo alt text. “iMarket Solutions, an Irvine Internet marketing and SEO company.”

  • http://www.imarketsolutions.com/ Matt Dimock

    Takeshi: you can add a region to your logo alt text. “iMarket Solutions, an Irvine Internet marketing and SEO company.”

  • SEO GROUP

    This technique absolutely works very well and most companies miss this easy optimization opportunity.

  • Andreas Mitschke

    You definitely miss the point in Image Replacement Techniques, which might be due to a lack of coding prowess.

    Certain image replacements are used to “amplify” the SEO impact due to using clear text content, which gets subsequently hidden via CSS yet just visually hidden, not hidden for screen readers nor crawlers.

    Like for example say:
    awesome Lawyer Logo key phrase

    Cutts already pointed out that those techniques probably don’t have any harmful impact, because “content obscuring” is not an issue in case of a single sentence.

    Web crawlers still see the key phrase, wrapped in a highly valueable H1 tag, which might not find a better place somewhere else on the page and they also will rate them as “readable for screen readers”.

    In case you’ve a key-word optimized H1 phrase, which fits into the content, then, as a matter of course, you may whish to swap the H1 for another tag…

    … but so long, image replacement techniques are still worth way more than ALT tags considering SEO impact.

    It’s also questionable if you want users to see your logo in an image search as a user probably is seeking pictures of, in the lawyer example, the staff or the office, something emotional to relate to.

    I highly doubt someone is using image search to find a dull logo, instead he probably whishes for more insight, otherwise he wouldn’t have used image search or user X would have specified the search like “Awesome Lawyer Logo”.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    Andreas, I don’t miss the point, nor do I have a “lack of coding prowess” — LOL!

    The majority of image replacement techniques work poorly for SEO value, or are downright risky in terms of being considered against Google’s rules. So, if you’re going to recommend that as an option, you need to be clear about precisely which method(s) you’re suggesting. For instance, I had a client once who went directly against my recommendation and used an image replacement technique that moved the text 5,000 pixels to the left of the position, and they were promptly and devastatingly penalized!

    There are some image replacement techniques that are not going to be penalized, but there are also additional reasons why I recommend using a straightforward linked logo image instead of trying to do fancier coding that provides less SEO power. There are a number of cases where SEO is concerned where simpler coding provides greater ranking potential, and this is one of them.

    Primarily, a visible, linked logo image conveys much more PageRank than a hidden text link. When CSS hides text on a page, the importance of the keywords and PageRank of links within it is sharply discounted. (There are cases where CSS hidden text are allowed — such as blocks of text that can be clicked to expand and reveal more text — I’m not referring to types of hidden text that Google would penalize.) Since a simple, linked logo image is not hidden, it conveys full PageRank and keyword weighting associated with the ALT text.

    So, image replacement technique is not at all worth more than a simple, properly formatted logo image with good ALT text.

    Further, I didn’t at all suggest that people were seeking logo images when performing searches — I wouldn’t expect Google to make the logo prominent for certain types of queries where their past data has shown photo images to be more desired by searchers. However, Google is featuring logo images or primary images associated with businesses in many local search interfaces. But, you miss the point when you criticize performing image SEO for this — the logo is a standard type of content associated with business websites, so this particular image is a key piece of data that the search engines are looking for in analyzing and ranking websites. THAT is why it’s advisable to perform good optimization around them — they are arguably one of the most important images associated with a business website.

    Surely you’re not suggesting that people neglect the SEO of their logo images or even de-optimize them because you feel that they couldn’t possibly be valuable?

    Why do you think Google introduced Schema.org markup specifically for logos, recently? Obviously, that image data is important and valuable from their perspective. This is also one of the reasons why I chose to highlight this optimization element. The logo’s importance in SEO isn’t on the decline.

  • vitals

    I like most of your advice, but I take exception with the use of the title attribute. I belive that attribute is SEO cancer and recommend anyone to stay far away from utilizing it. It is redundant to the alt tag or anchor text and serves zero functional purpose.

  • vitals

    I like most of your advice, but I take exception with the use of the title attribute. I belive that attribute is SEO cancer and recommend anyone to stay far away from utilizing it. It is redundant to the alt tag or anchor text and serves zero functional purpose.

  • http://www.sodapopmedia.com/ James Faulkner

    Another great tip, Chris! I’ve never thought of optimizing the logo on a website before until I’ve read your article. I’ve just tried your technique on our website, let’s see if would help improve our local SEO.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    As long as the text is very consistent, I don’t think the title attribute would prove to be poisonous. One reason to consider including the title attribute is that it appears in many browsers as a little mouseover tooltip, revealing the text, which can be a nice bit of user interface communication. That may make it good from Google’s viewpoint. And, it’s widely used, such as in the embed code that Flickr provides for images. If it differs from anchor text or ALT text by much, I would expect it could then be troublesome.

  • Andreas Mitschke

    I must say, there is no negative SEO impact of title tags, but this:

    “One reason to consider including the title attribute is that it appears in many browsers as a little mouseover tooltip, revealing the text, which can be a nice bit of user interface communication”
    Is exactly the reason why UI designers always recommend to “NOT” use any TITLEtags as you’ve no consistent influence of how those tiny, 90s-esque tool-tips look like.

    So for someone who does not “design” stuff, it seems “a bit of comunication”, but for those who design UI and create UX, it’s a no-go !

  • BobGladstein

    Last I checked (and for what it’s worth, it’s been a few years), it didn’t look like Google bothered to index the title attribute of any element, much less give it any ranking weight. Try putting some unique text in a title attribute and see if the page comes up when you search on that text.

  • BobGladstein

    Last I checked (and for what it’s worth, it’s been a few years), it didn’t look like Google bothered to index the title attribute of any element, much less give it any ranking weight. Try putting some unique text in a title attribute and see if the page comes up when you search on that text.

  • https://www.globalsign.com.au/ Globalsign

    I’d rather have an image with my company logo rather than having a suspicious and spammy username.

  • http://onreact.us/ Tad Chef

    Wow. So keyword stuffing in hidden areas is en vogue again? Why do I have to read this on SEL?

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    Wow, that was a long article and a significant amount of feedback all on how to optimize a logo image…. Have we hit the summer time doldrums?

    Turn off the computer, get outside and enjoy the remaining summer sunshine.

  • seoservices4smallbusiness

    I haven’t tired doing logo optimization yet but surely going to try this. Its a good article. Got to learn something new here. Thank you!!

  • Chris Silver Smith

    Title attributes can be employed to further confirm ALT or anchor
    text, so I wouldn’t recommend using it in place of either one. As a
    confirmatory signal, it would be difficult to establish whether it
    conveys an actual rank weight or not — if the text in it weren’t
    present in either the anchor or ALT text, I wouldn’t expect it to
    provide weight (so, lack of indexation on a unique term doesn’t exclude
    it from being a ranking factor). Meta descriptions are not used as
    direct ranking signals, either, in terms of keyword indexation, but we
    wouldn’t recommend leaving those off, either. By contrast, the title
    attribute content is much more visible to users on the page, so it makes
    sense that Google pays attention to them along with all other visible
    content.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    Not entirely sure what you mean, since I specifically warned people about using text that would be deemed unrepresentative of the logo image…

  • Chris Silver Smith

    You can find many articles on image replacement techniques that include methods like the one I described that Google would deem to be bad. Numbers of sites have been penalized for the type of indent technique I mentioned, including my past client’s. Various Google employees have specifically spoken against this, for example:

    http://maileohye.com/html-text-indent-not-messing-up-your-rankings/

    You neglected to mention that fact, and failed to acknowledge that I might have a very good reason to recommend avoiding image replacement, so I thought it was a good idea to further clarify this for our readers.

    Programming ability doesn’t automatically equate with good judgement nor knowledge of search engine guidelines. I’ve no doubt that you would avoid the worse techniques, but not all of our readers would.

    I’d note that it’s maybe not a great approach in rhetoric to attack the person (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem). I happen to have a lot more “than a clue” about coding, front-end, back-end or otherwise, although you’re welcome to disagree with my recommendations. If you read back in my article, I stated that image replacement can be efficient and elegant.

    If Google didn’t take styling into account, then they wouldn’t pay attention to whether content is hidden on the page or not. They also pay attention to styling that may be applied by JavaScript.

    The specific technique that I used as an example (hidden text that’s clicked-to-be-revealed) was directly addressed by Matt Cutts and I think you can see that they do indeed analyze this type of styling:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpK1VGJN4XY

    I know from statements that Googlers have made at conferences and in conversations with them that various types of content in different locations on webpages is analyzed by their algorithms to be more or less important (you could say “PageRank” or “weight” for their calculated importance ratings). In general, visible content and content “above the fold” is often assessed to be more important and weighty than the opposite. I’ve been directly told by Google employees that keyword text within click-to-reveal areas may be weighted as less important that text that it immediately visible when a person arrives on the page. This information correlates with the ways search engines have interpreted content for many years, as well as with established SEO principles.

    Logos are most frequently found above the fold, and in the top area of pages where users first look for content, according to heatmap studies. I recommend avoiding any potential chance of discounting the keyword weight and link rank benefit by using anything other than a straightforward linked logo image.

  • BobGladstein

    I think that would be very difficult to demonstrate. Have you tested pages that are identical except for title attributes? I expect one of those pages would simply be ignored. Even if the search engine paid attention to the title attribute, it wouldn’t be enough to differentiate the pages, and they’d just be treated as duplicate content.

    Personally, I only employ the attribute for usability — to indicate that a link goes to a pdf document, or a page in a language other than that of the page I’m linking from. For the vast majority of links (or any element that could have the attribute) I don’t use it at all.

  • http://www.eemes.com/ Jack SEO Consultant – Eemes

    I fully agree. Local image optimization have been ignored for a long time. But the only problem is the overuse of alt text optimization.

  • Kaan KÜÇÜK

    i have just read this post about 3 weeks ago and applied image alt attr.. from that time to now, i would like the say that this guide made serps bottom to the top on google turkey.. big thanks @chrissilversmith:disqus great postççç

  • Chris Silver Smith

    Glad to hear it worked for you, Kaan!

  • http://www.send2press.com/ Christopher Simmons

    Ironically, if you keep the exif and meta data in images, Google Page Speed will warn you to better optimize those images by removing elements from the image data file.

  • http://www.medium.com/@patrickbaek Patrick Baek

    @andreasmitschke:disqus is right about just ONE thing: “…a crawler does not care for the style rules.”

    #1. Use a common sense

    Without CSS:

    With CSS:

    h1.logo {
    width: 300px; height: 50px;
    background: url(images/XYZ_logo.jpg);
    text-indent: -9999px;
    }

    business_name, XYZ

    Whether to use CSS or not, what only matters is that the meta data should ONLY be used to describe, as exemplified in this above-case, the “business name.”

    If it goes from “business name, XYZ” to something like: “XYZ, the best price in town, ABC”, then we have a problem.

    Unfortunately, you don’t seem to understand how marketing really works, as you wrote in quote: “Cutts already pointed out that those techniques probably don’t have any harmful impact, because “content obscuring” is not an issue in case of a single sentence.”

    It’s a good thing that you understand the negative implication of “content obscuring” in SEO, but the marketing is not about following a certain set of rules or (Matt Cutts) nor should you ever think of SEO as if it is about marketing for search engines. SEO is about optimizing for users, i.e., facilitating the way users find the relevant content (meaning “everything” from optimizing the intricate value of a brand logo to helping users engage with your brand, e.g., via social media), merging across different set of devices or platforms.

    Thus,@chrissilversmith:disqus has a valid point – in terms of marketing, yet you, Andreas, make a very pointless argument over the use of (primitive) coding skills, i.e., using a markup language.

    A brand can, as it should, communicate with its users (customers) by using even less than a single sentence. In other words, one can surely obscure something by adding the ad slogan often accompanied by the unique selling point such as: XYZ plus (+) a tagline: Matt Cutts NEVER said one can get away with it so long as you can craft all your selling point in a single sentence. The common sense should tell you that it doesn’t make sense.

    You are also right that the everyday user don’t necessarily look for a business logo in the image search, but at the same time, they all recognize the image that resonate with them, meaning the users always expect to see the same (consistent) brand logo whether they are searching for a homepage or else, such as social channels.

    For local SEO, i.e, SMBs, they are not Apple or Nike. With a limited budget, it is not easy to come up with a brand logo, or often lucky to even have one other than just the spelled-out name, that is distinguishably very unique and different from a galaxy full of company logos, mingling with each others.

    For example, the image used in every social profile should have the same aspect ratios as that of a homepage logo (homepage button), and if appliable, contain similarly trackable meta data – such as the number of pixels, the color codes, or such that is consistent.

    When the information, i.e., structured data, about your business is consistent across every content that links back to you, it helps the search engines to correlate the relevancy.

    Ideally, the search algorithm will become even smarter sooner than we can expect that we won’t have to worry about manually adding meta data in the image file such as a brand logo, but not every brand logo is officially registered as a trademark nor should it be a Google’s concern to figure it out all on their own. Again, we are not talking about Nike or Apple. We are talking about SMBs such as a locally owned, body shop. It’s often good, though not necessarily the best practice, to have a resonating name to your local business such as, “town name” + “XYZ”, but it is even better if you incorporate that into a unique brand logo.

    By the way, PageRank doesn’t have anything to do with improving the quality score. It is simply a graphical representation of how many links (both good and bad) are connected, whether directly or indirectly, to your page, in which Google rarely updates it just once or twice a year.

  • http://www.medium.com/@patrickbaek Patrick Baek

    True, if you run a big e-commerce site like Amazon (pun intended) but for most SMBs, we are just talking about a brand logo and some images used in the blog pages. If needed, there is always a better way to optimize the loading time, such as using the compression method, from the back-end, or using a software such as JPEGmini prior to uploading the image into the server.

  • http://www.send2press.com/ Christopher Simmons

    Yep. Been doing SEO since 1995, and was the #1 result on Yahoo under “keyword optimization” for years, so know a bit about it. Just saying that right now for mobile optimization every byte in an image is a speed penalty for Google PageSpeed even when running off our CDN, and with GZIP and lossless compression. All meta data such as copyright info, etc., adds bytes, and any checking system like PageSpeed, YSlow, GTmetrix will show you it can be faster, and those optimization tricks remove the meta data. So, we’ve been switching to better visible SEO, and less microdata SEO, to comply with the new mobile push for “smallest possible objects” which is the new mantra for speed. Your mileage may vary. Doesn’t matter for blogs or landing pages, but in B2B I think it does.

  • http://www.send2press.com/ Christopher Simmons

    I think I might burst into fire if I stood in direct sunlight too long …. been head down on redoing our network, CDN, responsive, bootstrap optimization, blah blah. 8 months have just flown by. Wild. I’m very pasty white! Sunlight? (bawhoof! *sound of combustion*). ;-)

  • http://www.medium.com/@patrickbaek Patrick Baek

    As you know, more requests = slower load time, e.g., healthcare.gov, but that is when the page size comes into the equation.

    So, the page size is only a relevant term in proportion to server capacity to handle the requests, not to mention the engineering part, as there is a great difference between web page vs. web application (of what is collectively known as, “website”).

    If the site’s main content is meant to be more centered around using rich media, it should expect to get a speed penalty, only if the rest of websites that are in the similar nature happen to load way much faster on the average, thus sending a strong signal to Google that the load speed needs to be optimized.

    In general, it is always better to optimize the site for prospecting mobile users (B2C) as well as international clients (B2B) – only if applicable, but what if #RWD is not properly implemented? Then, having a faster load speed alone doesn’t do much to help users. More importantly, it doesn’t matter how fast the speed of page load if the users, at the end, can’t find what they are looking for in a timely manner.

    For example, adding micro data such as “authorship” (often along with Twitter account) in a blog page (e.g., http://www.qz.com) is very important, not only because Google cares, but more importantly, many users actually do hover over those things whether they are on desktop or mobile because it matters to users’s intent, in which it help them decide whether to share, or bookmark the page, often, based on the trustworthiness of the author. CrazyEggs has done this as well to improve the conversion rates for their blog pages.

    In other words, ranking factors override each others, so I wouldn’t assert myself to call “smallest possible objects” as the rule of thumbs.