Adding more content to an image-focused site

July 2nd, 2008

My current project — smartlivecasino.com — is meant to be visually attractive. It’s an entertainment experience, after all.

Unfortunately, the people who originally designed the site saw it more as a work of art than a sales tool. As a result, there are loads of pretty pictures, most of which don’t even have alt-tags, and little actual text.

To the human eye it looks fine, but to any ONE — or any THING — not relying on vision there’s a problem. Strip away the imagery and there’s very little for a search engine spider to index except for a few links and disconnected phrases: not exactly what you’d call good content. No doubt we’ve all seen worse: sites where even the text is displayed as a GIF image, and an un-tagged one at that.

For good SEO any site needs words, and sentences made up from these words, and paragraphs made from these sentences. The bottom line is that only by increasing the number of words on a page can one hope to improve keyword densities to that sweet spot of between 5% and 15% of the total.

Indeed, the current version of smartlivecasino.com comes close to running the risk of agitating the search engines because the density of certain keywords is greater than 20%: to a search engine that could look like “blackhat” SEO.

But before undertaking a major redesign, can anything else can be done to improve matters?

Well, remember the bit about any ONE? If you consider the page from a disability access standpoint, there are plenty of things that could be done to make it more useful to someone with a visual impairment, or a search engine.

A good first step would be to alt-tag all the images using clear keyword-rich phrases. A stage further would be to add keyword-rich TITLE tags to images, links and any other media. Neither of these measures would disturb the look of the page in any way but they would give more content for the search engines to spider.

However, the line NEVER to cross is to include hidden text in your page, artificially increasing the keyword density by peppering it with white text on a white background or commented out phrases which bear no relation to the code. That sort of thing WILL get you in Google’s bad books.

I say “never” but it depends on what you mean by hidden; however, that’s another post …



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