Image Content and SEO

We all know that detailed ALT tags in your images can help SEO on your web pages, but what about the actual image? For example, let’s say that I wrote a page about “Sioux Falls”. ALT tags and image names aside, would an image of Falls Park help my SEO? I believe it would.

Google developed this type of technology to decipher what is actually in an image with their Google Goggles app. It’s also technology they will be using with their Google Glasses product. It only makes sense that Google would use this technology to also rank search results. A post that has an image of what is being written about is much better than one that contains an image that’s not related.

That being said, I think images can hurt your rankings as well. Most notably, images stolen from other websites. If you copy an image from another website, Google is able to tell. That signal may just force your pages down in the rankings.

If it actual image content isn’t a ranking signal yet, it’s definitely something that will be used in the future.

To Date or Not To Date Your Posts

Years ago, I removed all timestamps from my posts. This was because people are biased when it comes to reading a post that is old. Google indexes date information on your page too, which can cause people not to even click through to your site.

Though I couldn’t tell how much of an impact this made, there was something not right about not including a timestamp on my posts. Since readers may want that kind of information, it becomes a question about designing my pages better for the reader. So I recently reintroduced timestamps on my posts. This time though, I decided not to provide the date the post was published. Instead, I use the date the post was modified. It’s way more relevant to a reader to provide the last date your post was updated rather than the first day it was posted.

In WordPress, you can hack your theme to provide the date your post was modified by inserting this code:

Last modified: <?php the_modified_time(‘ F j, Y’); ?>

Personally, I like providing this information at the end of posts. That way, it’s indexed by Google, but it’s not right at the top of the page.

Is it Legal to Use Another Company’s Logo In Your Post or Publication?

My websites have never been too decorated with graphics. I mainly focus on writing good content. But as I look around the web, I see many other websites using logos from other companies on many of their pages. For example, sites like TechCrunch or Mashable may have a picture of an Apple or Android logo when talking about smartphones.

It made me wonder about the legality of using these logos. After all, company logos are often registered trademarks. Were all of these websites asking for permission to use these logos? Probably not, since it would take a lot of resources to ask for permission to use company logos in every post.

So how are these websites able to use the logos of other companies in their posts? The answer actually differs with each company. When looking to use a logo for a certain company, what you’ll want to look for is web page on their site that details the legal uses for company trademarks. Apple has a page where they say their logo can be used by authorized dealers, but not by websites or other publication without permission. While Pinterest seems to allow almost any usage of their logo as long as you “don’t manipulate it”.

Another question might be “Do these companies actually enforce the legal rules they set?” My guess is, not likely. These legal pages are really designed to protect companies in the event that somebody is abusing the use of their logo. Using an Apple logo on your personal blog for an iPhone review post probably won’t raise any eyebrows over at Apple. They may be concerned if you featured the Apple logo on every page in a manner that makes your site look as though it’s affiliated with Apple though.

The “Mobile Web” Craze

Everywhere you look, you hear about the “Mobile Web” craze. Bloggers have been in a frenzy for the past few years telling people:

  • “You must have a mobile version of your website!”
  • “You must have an Android and iPhone App!”

Following this advice can be quite a money sucker for business owners who don’t know how to create a mobile site or design an app.

This advice is bunk anyway. Chances are, your business will not benefit by spending additional money on being “mobile friendly”. The web browser on most mobile devices these days can render any page the same way your desktop or laptop can. Your regular, non-flashy website will display on these devices just fine (as long as you don’t use too much Flash).

Making a mobile version of a website was once required to accommodate users of smaller devices that couldn’t render a full version of a website. It was also needed to save bandwidth in an era when wireless providers were charging 40 cents per kilobyte to access the Internet. Those days are long gone.

Stick with your basic website. It’ll work just fine. Don’t waste time or resources on a mobile business plan just because Sally at SEOforyourbusinessnow told you to.

Web Site Advice For Local Business Owners

Lately, I’ve been frustrated with the lack of presence some local businesses have on the Internet. The sites often have scant information and are rarely updated. It’s important as a business owner to not overlook the value of a good website. Here are some tips to follow.

Have your hours posted

This is the most common frustration. I often cannot find the hours the business is open on their own website. Some businesses may not include the hours on their site because they change seasonally. But it doesn’t take that much effort to make those changes.

 

Make a Google Places and Facebook page

Be sure to own your Google Places page and make a Facebook page too. Include all the information you can about the business on both. It’s another way to ensure that customers can find your business and the information they need.

 

Keep it basic

Don’t include any fancy videos, flash animations or anything else complex. Your customers just came to your site for information, and such things only act as a hurdle. I see many restaurant websites have their menus in PDF format. This is lazy! All information should be available on the site in the most basic form possible.

 

Give me an electronic method of contact

Email, Twitter, Facebook… I want to be able to contact you without having to call you.

 

As always, I’m willing to help most people in the area. Send me a tweet or leave a comment if you need more advice.

Mystery Pains Solved

If any of you are close with me, you might know that I had been suffering from pains in random parts all over my upper body off and on for about a year now. I would wake up with pain near my kidneys on some mornings. The next week it would be my chest or perhaps my gallbladder. After a month of experiencing these problems, I went to see a doctor and had my levels checked. I was given an ultrasound also. Everything checked out OK, so the pains remained a mystery for a year and I have just lived with it.

The pain went away about 8 months ago, but then returned after 2 months with a vengeance. Every time I moved, I would hurt. The pains got so bad that I would spend hours sitting still so it wouldn’t hurt. Finally, I decided that I needed to get serious about finding out what was causing these pains myself. I decided to make a chart of what I ate and drank each day, then I would chart the relationship to my pain and how bad it was each day. After about 2 weeks, a shocking pattern emerged. After days when I drank a Heritage Dr. Pepper or Pepsi Throwback (the version of these sodas made with real sugar), I would often feel pains the next day. My charting also revealed that the more of these drinks I consumed, the worse the pain was.

So how could this be? I have drank soda all my life. Also, why did the pains go away? Well, Hertiage Dr. Pepper and Pepsi Throwback were taken off the market for a a few months. It turns out, that was the same period that my pains went away. I reverted back to the kind made with HFCS and felt no pain at all. The pains returned at the same time these products returned to the shelves.

I’m not sure why my body is rejecting this product. I don’t feel that Pepsi Throwback and Heritage Dr. Pepper have anything in them that generally make people sick, I just think I have an intolerance pure, real sugar. Maybe my body is just messed up from consuming HFCS all these years that it can no longer tolerate real sugar. I intend to visit a doctor soon and maybe he can shed some light on the problem. For the time being though, I’m going to steer clear of soda altogether and stick to coffee and tea.

There’s no way a doctor could’ve figured this out. I had to do it myself. Chart what you ingest and how bad the ailment is each day. These simple steps may help you solve almost any health problems.