Join David Booth for an in-depth discussion in this video Optimizing nontext components of a webpage, part of SEO Foundations.
- Search engines are generally very good at analyzing and understanding the text contents on web pages, but search engines have a little more difficult time with other forms of content like images, videos, and audio clips. Let's take a look at a few different ways that we can go about optimizing these kinds of content for our target keywords. One simple best practice is to use the text surrounding the non-text elements to describe what it's all about. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. Having a paragraph of text describing a particular video right next to the video itself is a very common practice, and images embedded in line with text often have text titles underneath them and they're typically very relevant to the text on the page.
Image slideshows or carousels often contain a textual title and description of each photo and an audio clip typically has a description and may even have a complete transcription as well. Search engines do analyze the text that's in close proximity to the non-text components, making the assumption that there is some topical correlation between those elements. On the Explore California homepage for example, we can see this in action. Let's take a look at this logo for Cycle California. It's an image and even though those pixels are arranged in such a way that human beings can quickly read "Cycle California" and see that it's a logo, remember that search engines can't do this quite as easily.
So while the search engine will look at the image file name and the alt text, it will also look at the text nearby and in this case we can see that it's all about Cycle California, telling search engines a little more about that image. Aside from using the text that's nearby the non-text elements, there's also some special code that we can use to help the search engines out a little more. We've already seen how we can use the image file name and the alt text for an image tag, but another way we can optimize code for non-text elements is to use microformatting from schema.org.
This allows us to mark up our code with some very relevant, very specific metadata specific to a certain type of content. These are some of the properties that you can define for an image object, and if we scroll down you can see the difference between your standard image tag and one that's been enhanced with microdata. Note that there are also microformat specifications for audio and video clips as well. So let's take the example of that video on the homepage of the Explore California website. We can see that there is some code that embeds this video and right now there's not much that can tell a search engine about the contents of that video, but by adding in some special markup, we can provide search engines with all kinds of rich metadata and this will help them really understand what this content is all about.
Now, when a searcher types in something like "explore California olive oil," we've positioned ourselves for this page or even this video to pop up in the search results. Take a look through schema.org and you can see all of the different properties and elements that you can define for these non-text components. Making sure to provide as much information as you can to the search engines can only help your overall search engine visibility. For video content, you can also make use of a video sitemap file. XML sitemaps are just files that use a special syntax to provide search engines with a listing of all the pages and content found on your website along with some attributes that describe that content.
There are different formats for different types of content, and video sitemaps give us a way to inform search engines exactly where our video content is along with what it's about using the title and description attributes. Here's an example from Google Webmaster Tool Support, and you can find all the specific supported elements and syntax here as well. Using a mix of content types on your pages can be a great way to engage with your visitors and help them down the conversion path. Just because a piece of content doesn't use words doesn't mean we can't help a search engine understand just what it's all about.
Through surrounding text, some code elements and sitemaps, you can open up all of your content to search engines and be well on your way to attracting new traffic to your pages.
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- What is SEO?
- Understanding how search engines index content
- Researching keywords
- Using SEO tools
- Optimizing pages for keywords
- Optimizing code and site structure
- Building links to your content
- Optimizing nontext components of a webpage
- Analyzing content quality
- Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
- Promoting your content via social media
- Measuring SEO effectiveness
- Setting up Google+ Local
- Optimizing ecommerce sites for search
- Configuring sites for mobile