Today, we’re going to talk about some questions Matt Cutts of Google has recently answered about search engine optimization. First up, he addressed a question on YouTube about whether or not sites still need a lot of text. You see, a user had inquired about this because his site experienced a reduced bounce rate when he swapped out text for images.
However, Cutts asserts that text is still very important to Google. If your site is mostly images, try to include text in the “alt” tag. If the images include text, type out that text in the alt tag so the search engines can see it and so you can actually rank for that text. Or, you can make use of Google Web Fonts, which allow you to have the best of both worlds in terms of content and a more appealing site design that encourages greater user interaction. Plus, the text can still be copied and pasted, which is vital for a successful user experience.
Another user question regarding search engine optimization had to do with nofollow links. The user asked how Google can tell the difference between making legitimate links to high profile sites without nofollow and making paid links. Links that look good are usually legitimate and those that people make because they genuinely like something. Google tries to be very careful about identifying links as paid. It has serious repercussions, after all, and they don’t want to penalize a site for no good reason. Usually, a site will have had a history of using paid links over a period of time before it is penalized and its links are no longer trusted.
In short, if you’re linking to something you like and you aren’t being paid to do so, you’re probably okay. That’s why links are there, after all. Just be honest with your practices and what you’re doing and you should be okay.
Search engine optimization can be a tricky thing and it’s easy to get caught up in the finer details of it. However, it’s important to take a step back and take a look at the big picture sometimes. Even if that means letting go of some of the more fiddly bits. And that’s okay. Web design and optimization is all about the user experience at the end of the day. Make that worthwhile for people and you’ll be golden.
Picture credit: MattCutts.com