Smarty Pixels

THE IMPACT OF IMAGE ALT TEXT AND IMAGE NAME ON SMARTY PIXELS GOOGLE RANKINGS

by JOHN ERNSTHAUSEN
ORIGINAL: March 31, 2014. UPADTED: May 17, 2014

Smarty Pixels does custom website development, custom website design, copywriting, and SEO in Pittsburgh PA.

Why the update?

Findability in search space and ranking well in the SERPS for the following key phrases is important for our business.

These key phrases were used to collect data for this post and they are mentioned often enough to cause search engines to rank this post well in the SERPS for these key phrases. That's wonderful, but this blog post has replaced our main pages on custom web development which educate our customers about Smarty Pixels products.

This post has always been about the impact of image ALT and SRC attributes on findability.

Introduction

This study finds that image ALT text and image SRC filename has contextual influence on page ranking in the SERPS. We care about the results in this study because a website may use either text or an image as a logo.

The search phrase

Consider this search phrase and the Google search engine throughout this blog post.

PHRASE=[custom website development and agile software development pittsburgh]

The data

Today March 31, 2014, Google gives the Smarty Pixels website the rankings quoted in this blog post.

The Smarty Pixels website has not changed in the past year.

The Smarty Pixels logo is an image with attribute alt="Custom website development and agile software development by Smarty Pixels in Pittsburgh PA." Our logo appears on every page of our website.

The key phrase [custom web development pittsburgh] doesn't rank any Smarty Pixels web page in the first 100 impressions and neither does the key phrase [custom website development pittsburgh].

The key phrase [website development software development pittsburgh] ranks the Smarty Pixels homepage at 75 and no other page under the Smarty Pixels domain ranks in the first 100 impressions for this key phrase.

The key phrase PHRASE ranks Smarty Pixels pages with URI "/how", "/", and "contact" at 2, 3, and 4 respectively.

The key phrase PHRASE does not rank the Smarty Pixels "/what" page in the first 100 search impressions even though the hero image on the "/what" page has PHRASE as its alt text.

Past work

The following web pages document how to correctly use image name and alt text and the Smarty Pixels web pages follow these best practices.

Analysis of the data

We first analyse the HOW="www.smartypixels.com/how" page. The HOW page has many words and sub-phrases contained in the search phrase PHRASE and reads like an illustrated text book. A page's TITLE has a large impact on a pages Google ranking and the TITLE of the HOW page contains PHRASE. The TITLE reads "How Smarty Pixels does custom website development and agile software development in Pittsburgh PA". The HOW page has a hero image with alt text "Custom website development and agile software development by Smarty Pixels in Pittsburgh PA.". The logo alt text is PHRASE. We summarize that PHRASE matches once in the HOW page's title and twice in HOW page's image alt text.

Next we analyse the HOME="www.smartypixels.com" page. The HOME page is an illustrated page with few instances of words in the search phrase PHRASE and few sub-phrases. The HOME page has a hero image with alt text "Custom website development and agile software development by Smarty Pixels in Pittsburgh PA.". The logo alt text is PHRASE. We summarize that PHRASE matches twice in the HOME page's image alt text.

We analyse the CONTACT="www.smartypixels.com/contact" page. The CONTACT page has some words and sub-phrases contained in the search phrase PHRASE and reads like a list. The TITLE of the CONTACT page contains PHRASE. The TITLE reads "Contact Smarty Pixels for custom website development and agile software development in Pittsburgh PA". The CONTACT page has a hero image with alt text "Custom website development and agile software development by Smarty Pixels in Pittsburgh PA.". The logo alt text is PHRASE. We summarize that PHRASE matches once in the CONTACT page's title and twice in CONTACT page's image alt text.

We lastly analyse the WHAT="www.smartypixels.com/what" page. The WHAT page is an illustrated page with many instances of words in the search phrase PHRASE and many sub-phrases. Otherwise the WHAT page is just like the HOME page. We summarize that PHRASE matches twice in the WHAT page's image alt text but WHAT is not ranked in the top 100 impressions.

Conclusions

The data shows that Google Hummingbird makes contextual use of the image alt text to rank a web page.

The data shows that the pages HOME, HOW, WHAT, and CONTACT did not rank for the key phrase [custom web development pittsburgh] and none of these pages would rank for PHRASE except each of these pages contain the long tail search phrase PHRASE in the image ALT text.

The sub-phrase [agile software development] only appeared in the image ALT text. Image ALT text can help a web page to rank when it might not rank otherwise but the power in that help can be weak. Recall the key phrase [custom website development software development pittsburgh] isn't an exact match to PHRASE and it ranks the Smarty Pixels homepage at 75 and no other page under the Smarty Pixels domain ranks in the first 100 impressions for this key phrase.

In this study, we found that the HOME page outranked the WHAT page. In context, HOME gets ranked because it is the root of the website. PHRASE didn't help the WHAT page to rank in the first 100 impressions even though both pages have two images whose alt text is PHRASE. A particular web page may not rank for a search phrase in some image ALT text but the home page may rank in its place.

The HOW, HOME, and CONTACT pages rank 2, 3, and 4 respectively in the SERPS for PHRASE. The HOW page has word density for key terms in PHRASE and its title is PHRASE. The CONTACT page shares these same characteristics except it reads like a list where HOW reads like an illustrated book. Google ranks HOW above CONTACT due to context. On the other hand, HOME outranks CONTACT even though HOME does not have PHRASE in it's title. Context trumps title as HOME is the root of the website. The author believes HOW outranks HOME because HOW reads like a book and HOME is sparse in words. Context weighs in once again!

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John Ernsthausen
John Ernsthausen

WEB DEVELOPER and WEB ANALYST

I'm John Ernsthasuen. I am a web analyst and web developer. I write good software and I build engaging custom websites for Smarty Pixels in Pittsburgh PA. I am well trained and keenly interested in scientific computing. I have experience as a data coordinator and worked in compliance with HIPAA standards.

I believe I'm successful because I am consistent. I understand my trade and keep current with emerging trends. As a web developer, web analyst, copywriter, and search engine optimizer, I interface well with interactive designers, graphic designers, project managers, and clients.

When applicable, I use the Ruby on Rails (ROR) framework. I find Rails offers flexibility in the software development cycle to respond to customer input compared to alternative development frameworks such as the Wordpress framework or the PHP frameworks.

I use SASS and Compass to support CSS3. I use both SUSY and NEAT for grids in the view's layout and user interface. I use Modular Scale for vertical rhythm and Bourbon for cross browser mixins.

I have a growing repertoire of successful marketing campaigns. I attribute my success as a copywriter and search engine optimizer (SEO) to my patience. I purpose to clearly understand your web analytics and seek to align your content with your web analytics. Always align the content you publish with your customer's interests to naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert.