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Site contents links: text vs images. Yarr, drop ye anchors!!

euroraion
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Joined: 12 Jan 10
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Site contents links: text vs images. Yarr, drop ye anchors!!

So I've noticed how within the AffiloBlueprint example site, and many affiliate sites following the program, links tend to always be simple text links. Personally, I'm not very fond of text links if they're not part of an article, and for site navigation I lean more towards styled images to integrate in the site's general graphic (for an example *SITE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS DANGEROUS* 1 right at the top). What has me worried about this approach, is not the added weight of the site navigation. After all, images are quick and easy alternatives when you haven't been updating your code knowledge in the last ten years. The thing that goes amiss here is the anchor text. Seems kinda obvious, seeing as how it's not a text link anymore. Then again, maybe there is some backstage code voodoo that might allow us to pin anchor text behind an image link. Is there?
But, really now, how much is anchor text relevant in links from your site to your site?
Ok, ok, but, can't I still use image links for good looks, and then cram text links with precious anchors in a hidden frame or something? Because you know, apart from my unhealthy fetish for image links, some of the keywords I've been coming up with recently don't look all that "natural".
Yes, I've seen the lessons, and I understand the importance of using the keywords for SEO purposes, but I just can't get around the notion of having a list of content with "natural treat anxiety" or "ex win back" for instance.

... those are probably bad examples, and I guess I could just rearrange them with no loss. Could I?

Thanks in advance for any counseling.
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Last edited by michellerana on 18 Jan 10 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed link since the site was identified as dangerous
 

Moderator
wollowra
Posts: 1283
Joined: 14 Mar 08
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Hi E,
Putting text hidden behind a picture gif can be considered black hat and Google hates it.
Text links are there because they are relevant and help the bots crawl your site.
You could always name your nav pictures with alt text or something, I haven't tried it as I use text links.
You just need to pick your keywords that will be relevant and convert well.
I hope you can get some help for your picture navigation fetish...lol.

Regards
Troy
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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault
 
euroraion
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Joined: 12 Jan 10
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"Black Hat search engine optimization is customarily defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner. These black hat SEO techniques usually include one or more of the following characteristics:

* breaks search engine rules and regulations
* creates a poor user experience directly because of the black hat SEO techniques utilized on the Web site
* unethically presents content in a different visual or non-visual way to search engine spiders and search engine users."

wait... what? how is making a more pleasant looking and tongue flowing site "unethical" or "a poor user experience"? Because of the extra Kb weight on the page loading? But... but that's nothing compared to the days of old! Stuck on dial-up, before php or flash or "dynamic pages", when every website had animated gifs all over the place to choke your connection, and java to choke you pc's processor... and for what? The whole lyrics to a song following your cursor wherever it went? Now that was unethical and a poor user experience.
Actually blogs are like that even today. Only replace the cursor following text with a flash based music player that starts playing automatically at unreasonably high volumes, so it's even worse.
I'm sorry. That's not relevant.

So, I guess I could still indulge my peculiar fetish, making sure not to hide anything behind the images, and have all the text links shoved down the page, like in the Spanish learning site from the "how to identify affiliate sites" lesson (I'm not going to link or even hint at sites anymore, don't wanna risk to make myself a reputation for being a dangerous fellow. sorry about that). It's probably not worth the effort - especially in the first test/learning sites - but dammit, if I can make myself life harder, I'm going to!

Thanks for the feedback and... they tried to cure my fetish several times, the last of which using CSS, but I'm resisting. I'm comfortable the way I am. Can't they see there's nothing wrong with me? ;-)

edit: forgot to spellcheck.
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Site Admin
markling
Posts: 2489
Joined: 13 Jun 06
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I think a lot of site builders forget the SEO benefits of images. As has been mentioned you can use ALT text to describe the image to Google and anyone with images switched off (does anyone still do that??).

Heres an interesting video from Google on using ALT text that you might find worth watching.

Keep in mind usability as well - for anyone on a slow connection an image-rich site can be a pain and Google is starting to take site speed into account for rankings (see the Labs section of Google Webmaster Tools).
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euroraion
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Joined: 12 Jan 10
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Ok, let's recap:
the site must be well optimized for highly converting keywords and SEO, while maintaining a natural and captivating content, pushing on people's desires and needs, avoiding distractions and driving them where we want. Must have lots of content on that particular niche, while being varied and diversified but still relevant and as close as possible to something a potential buyer would be interested with. Must be nice and professional to look at, while being as simple, quick and minimalist as possible.
*goes fetal in a corner and whimpers*

It's like a tall guy with a short blanket! But, wait! I know! Instead of having the page written like this:

<html>
<head>
<title>whatever<title>
<head>
<body>
the state of whateverness is an ancient and noble art, with it's root deep inside each person's apathy
<body>
<html>

I can leave like this:

<html><head><title>whatever<title><head><body>the state of whateverness is an ancient and noble art with it's roots deep inside each person's apathy<body><html>

so a browser reads it quicker and the page size gets lower, and I can pass the savings onto my precious graphics! I'm a genius! (while I may come of as a spoiled brat and know-it-all, I know you more experienced guys already tried it all, and wait eagerly to hear this and that reason why it doesn't work. Like "no, google checks for user friendly source code", and I'm gonna be like "oh, come on! I'm starting not to like google so much anymore...")
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Site Admin
aletta
Posts: 3719
Joined: 09 Jul 06
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Regarding your initial question.... is there a way to include actual anchor text, while still using pretty images for your links/navigation etc.... there is a way.

There are CSS techniques where you can set your image as a background image (in which case, your text would appear on top of it) and then use classes and spans to move that text way off the side of the page (like, set the margin to be 2000px or something). You can also set specific content to be invisible using display: none in your css.

You have to be extremely careful with this: Hiding text is black hat SEO and will get your site punished. Punished, I say! That is, unless the text you're replacing with an image is pretty much exactly what the image says, and you're doing it purely for aesthetics.

For instance, if you keyword crammed your H1 tags and then used this trick to hide that text and replace it with a picture of a cute puppy.... that's blackhat, that's bad. If you had the H1 text saying "My great widget site" and replaced it with a fancy image that read "My great widget site".... that's fine.

But you should still tread carefully. Imagine you're Elmer Fudd hunting wabbits. Vewy, vewy carefuwwy.
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Site Admin
aletta
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Oh I forgot: If you want to know how to do this, google "CSS image replacement". Instructions are all over the place.
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Are your changes not showing up on your website? Try doing a hard refresh! http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/cache/
 
euroraion
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Ha! I knew there was a way! That's great, thanks!
... ... but as you say, that seems to be high risk. I somehow doubt that any Google crawler will be prepared to understand that the hidden stuff is actually the same that's on display otherwise. And, as much as style might be a factor in the grand scheme of things, I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth risking to be so fiercely punished for. Especially for my first try. Imagine! I do everything right (hopefully) and I don't get any result because Google is pissed with my attitude.
Beginners enthusiasm probably made me get ahead of myself in this one.
I'll bump this stuff back in the future, when electric cars will roam the lands and we'll access the Internet via cybernetic brains, GITS style.
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