Do Alt and Title Attributes Help With SEO?

A highly talked about topic is the SEO world is, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” Well to help shed a little light on this topic, I did some research and came up with a few good conclusions. I’m not suggesting these are 100% accurate but from my initial research they seem to be right on target. I welcome all other SEO experts to share their opinions on this topic by posting their comments – because as we all know, every little bit of information can help us all.

Well to start, I want to provide a brief introduction of each attribute to help you understand their “intended” purpose.

The alt attribute is, popularly and incorrectly referred to as an alt tag and is commonly misunderstood to provide a tool-tip for an image. Both of these are incorrect. First of all, the alt attribute is an attribute and not a tag. The alt attribute was always intended to provide alternative information about an element and is generally required for image and image maps and is not meant to be used to display a tool-tip. The alt attribute, can be used for the img, area, and input elements to help provide alternative information to users who cannot display that element in their browser. As an example, here is how you would define an alt attribute for an image: <img src=”imagepath.gif” alt=”this is our company logo”>. If the image is not displayed the text, “this is our company logo” will be displayed in the place of the image.

The title attribute, on the other hand, is meant to provide additional information about an element, which is displayed as a tool-tip by most graphical browsers. The title attribute can be used to describe any HTML element except for base, basefont, head, html, meta, param, script, and title.

An excellent use for the title attribute is to provide descriptive text within an anchor tag to let the users know where the link will direct them if they click on it. When the user places their mouse over the link, it will display a small tool-tip displaying the title text that you’ve provided. An example would be

So as you can see the alt and title attributes have different purposes but how do they affect SEO? This is the true question we all want to know and understand. Do they help with SEO or are they simply ignored by the search engines? I tested several different scenarios, all in Google, and after my research I’ve come to the following conclusions.

Alt attributes seem to be picked up by Google, whether or not there was a link within that element. Some SEO experts have mentioned that if there is no link, then the alt attribute would not be indexed… from my research I’ve found this to be false.

Going further, I noticed in one testing scenario, if there was an image with an alt attribute and a link to a completely other site, that other site was also indexed by Google when searching for the text within the alt attribute. It was difficult for me to verify this multiple times but I definitely verified it in one testing scenario.

I also took this one step further and analyzed my results with what Google Images was displaying. I immediately noticed that Google sometimes takes the alt attribute text and provides this text as the description for the image in Google Images, something that is very valuable to know and understand when doing SEO for your website.

In all of my testing scenarios, the title attribute do not seem to be picked up by Google and adding a link to that element did not seem to affect this result at all. If you really think about it, this makes complete sense. Since you can place title attributes in almost every element of a website, it would be very easy for a user to affect the search engines by keyword stuffing throughout their web pages, something that Google and the other major players do not want, hence why title attributes do not help with SEO.

In my opinion, you should use the title attribute to help with your user’s experience and not with SEO. Since tool-tips provide more useful information to the user about images, links, fields and much more, you will help your users to understand what is happening around the web page.

So from my testing I’ve determined that a title attribute is meant to provide tool-tips to the user for user experience, whereas the alt attribute is helpful in terms of providing alternative information to the user when their browser cannot display an image or input element and helping to increase the SEO of a website. My recommendation is to pay close attention to when, where and how you are using your alt attributes. If they help with SEO, then you should pay close attention to what you are adding.

When adding images always be sure to add an alt attribute to the code of each image. If you do not have one, then just specify a blank one, such as alt=”". Also, be sure to add alternative text that is relevant to that image, the content on that page and be sure not to specify an alt attribute greater than 100 characters in length, as this may be perceived as spamming.

I hope you find my brief overview on the topic of, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” to be beneficial for you and your business. I’m sure one could dive deep into this topic, spending weeks determining the differences between how Google, Yahoo! and the other major search engines handle title and alt attributes with regards to SEO for a website.

I welcome all comments and/or feedback.

Health Begins With Water

Health begins with water. Since the body is made mostly of water (about 70%), all body functions are dependent on water. I guess you could call water a universal solvent. Most nutrients with the exception of fats are dissolved in water, transported in the water-based blood system and used by water-filled cells. And, because the cells are filled with water, the water lubricates, them, like cartilage and muscle cells. It also keeps cell walls pliable and receptive to nutrient inflow and waste outflow.

These facts point to the crucial nature of proper hydration for a healthy body. It is even more important as we get older as will be explained soon. Every organ in the body depends on water to function properly and efficiently. When we are not hydrated properly, or we are dehydrated, even a little bit, our bodily functions become labored. Over time, our health can become challenging. It is very subtle at first, then symptoms begin to appear.

The US National Research Council has guidelines that suggest that we require one milliliter of water for every calorie we consume. That translates to approximately one half of your body weight in ounces of water consumed daily. Some scientists and medical community advisers claim that amount is too conservative, that we should drink more. For someone who is obese, very overweight or suffering from a chronic disease, they should be drinking 1 quart (32 ounces)of water for every 30 pounds of body weight.

If we look at body functions, there are four obvious ways that the body loses water; defecation, perspiration, respiration and urination. In addition, the body’s digestive process uses a huge amount of water which can further dehydrate the body if there are not sufficient water reserves. Efficient digestion is also aided by drinking sufficient water between meals to flush the digestive tract and provide enough water for bodily functions.

Obviously, the quality of the water that we use to remain healthy or regain our health is very important. For most people it means the water should be clean and safe to drink. What most people don’t know is that in order to be healthy throughout life the body needs to be as near to a neutral pH as possible and the blood absolutely needs to be between 7.35pH and 7.45pH or we die. That means the fluids in our body need to be reinforced with alkaline, ionized water.

Most of the foods that people eat form acidic ash and waste in the body, so to neutralize it we need to drink alkaline ionized water.

Another component of health that is crucial to us is negative ions. Alkaline, ionized water is full of negatively charged particles which our bodies crave. Without negative ions our bodies decline and age. Eventually our health is eroded and our organs slowly lose their efficient function.

It seems that the “struggle” for health is our attempt to rid our bodies of the positive ions we acquire from our “unnatural” diet and to get enough negative ions into our bodies. Traditionally our Paleolithic ancestors used to eat a predominantly raw food diet supplemented with river and creek water that babbled over the rocks and down waterfalls, thus becoming negatively charged and highly oxygenated.

Sadly our diets have reduced to pulling up to the local drive-through and drinking out of cans and bottles. These habits have created a society of overweight acidic bodies full of positive ions and ill health.

Fortunately the process is simple to reverse. Even if your health is OK now, you should be motivated to remain healthy throughout your life. A few changes to your lifestyle will give you valuable “life insurance.”

In the early 20th Century, the Russians discovered that negative ions were very good for human health. They postulated that if they could create negative ions in water that it would create an easier avenue to health. Through experimentation, the first water ionizers were created. The challenge even today is the bonds that water molecules form are weak. Water ionizers break up the large clusters of water into smaller clusters but they do not hold the ionic microcluster structure permanently once they are formed. So the best way to drink alkaline, ionized water is fresh from a machine that creates it. At best, it can be put into a glass bottle and it will hold its charge and microclustering for two days provided the water is filled right to the rim of the bottle. After that, the weak bonds separate and reform into larger cluster molecules and they lose their negative charge.

Even today, Dr. Emoto has shown that water has memory and can be “programmed.” The concept of alkaline, ionized water, is more and more becoming a household word as people realize the benefits of drinking this special water.

It is estimated that 75% or more of North Americans are dehydrated enough that it affects their health in a negative way. And, with that dehydration there is an acidic inflamed body. It may be “silent” inflammation now, but it will eventually rise up into the radar range and become pain or symptoms. It doesn’t seem to matter that people drink lots of water, it matters more what kind of water they drink.

In a University of Washington study, it was found that many people interpret their thirst as hunger. By giving those in the study a glass of water when they felt hungry, it stopped the hunger pangs in 98% of the people surveyed.

For the average North American, there are one or more toxic chemicals stored in their fatty tissue from drinking treated tap water. That is not even including toxins from the foods we eat, what we put on our skin and hair, what we clean our houses with or environmental pollutants. In the US, 53 million people drink water from municipal water supplies containing potentially dangerous levels of chlorine and fluoride derivatives and by-products, lead, fecal bacteria, fertilizers, pesticides, jet fuels, pharmaceuticals and other impurities associated with cancers and various sorts of metabolic dysfunction and diseases.

I remember a study a few years back where they took hair, blood and urine samples from a famous artist who ate organic, used “natural” products, drank the best water he could find, uses as few chemicals as possible in his art and he wore natural fibers. There were 48 toxic chemicals found in his body. He was really conscious about being a “back to earth” guy and quite shocked at the toxic levels in his body. Alarming, don’t you think?

Because most of us are dehydrated by various degrees, our daytime level of fatigue could be directly related to dehydration and our diets. The typical slump seems to be between 3 and 4 pm, where we reach for that sugary snack or the coffee. If we only knew that by drinking two glasses of alkaline, ionized water after lunch, we could feel much better. Water is so important that only a 2% drop in your body’s natural water level can bring on mental confusion, short term memory loss, inability to focus and sluggishness in doing simple math calculations, sequenced procedures and interpretive skills.

Also, with regards to your health, recent research shows that 8-10 glasses of alkaline, ionized water per day may significantly reduce pain levels, even in backs and joints for up to 80% of sufferers. Research is also showing that if the average person drank at least 5-16 oz glasses of alkaline, ionized water daily, that is plain alkaline, ionized water, not mixed with anything, their risk of getting breast cancer can be decreased by 79%, colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%.

How does it work? The properties of alkaline, ionized water are unique. Drinking this water provides a quick supply of available oxygen – making the water an “antioxidant.” In other word, the water has an extra electron attached making hydroxyl ions which are negatively charged. These hydroxyl ions in the ionized water seek out and neutralize free radicals. This is very important, since free radicals are what damage our cells and bring about disease and premature aging. When the hydroxyl ions, as an antioxidant have neutralized the free radicals, the result is a body that is energized, vitalized and oxygen rich. Alkaline, ionized water helps balance the body’s pH by reducing excess cellular and body acidity, helping the body to dissolve and excrete acidic waster products more easily.

The electrolysis process that produces the alkaline, ionized water, not only produces an excess of electrons, it also reduces the cluster size of the molecules from 13 to 14 (which is regular tap water) to 5 to 7. This can happen because of the weak bonds that the water has with molecules around itself. These smaller clusters have a lower molecular weight, making the alkaline, ionized water more easily absorbed by the body. The smaller cluster size is also better able to deliver nutrient to all the cells, tissues and organs and accelerates metabolism as more and more acidic waste is eliminated from the body. So, take your vitamin and mineral supplements with alkaline, ionized water for greater absorption. Conversely, take your medications with neutral water. Normally only about 30% of your medication is absorbed by the body because of our acidic and plugged up condition. Alkaline, ionized water will increase the absorption of your medication and you may get too much.

A normal average North American diet will produce high levels of acidic waste in the body from 97% of what is eaten. We simply don’t eat enough alkaline foods, fruits and vegetables. These acids, if they are not neutralized, can cause inflammation and free radicals. They can kill healthy cells by stealing oxygen and damage them by stealing electrons. Alkaline water and food will not only dissolve these harmful acids, but they will help remove them from the body by allowing them to pass safely through the kidneys and bowels and not be stored in our joints, organs, blood vessels and fat cells.

The qualities of high alkalinity, more oxygen and lower molecular weight act as a powerful cellular detoxifier, helping the body maintain or restore its health and should be part of everyone’s daily regimen. Research in Japan since the 1950′s indicate that most chronic conditions are a result of increased waste, acidity and the resulting impaired body function and immune system.

If you are looking to feel younger, more flexible, vital and alive, or even stay that way, then the answer is clear. Try alkaline, ionized water!

Think Credit Scores Do Not Apply To Young Adults? Think Again

By the time you turn 28, you will probably have a career and possibly a family. When you want to make big purchases like buying the car of your dreams or buying a house to raise a family, your credit score becomes more important than ever. Your credit score is also referred to as a FICO score and is typically a number between 300 and 850. Bank lenders who will loan you money for a house or a car will look at this score very carefully before lending you the money and deciding your interest rate. According to the article Starting Out by Kelly K. Spors in The Wall Street Journal, FICO scores above 760 qualify you for the best loan terms, while scores below 600 can mean unappealing terms and higher interest rates – or bar you from getting a loan all together. The breakdown of the FICO score includes a 35% weighting for payment history; 30% for the amount owed, especially as compared to your credit limits; and 15% for the length of your credit history. Also, having too many credit inquiries and loan applications by you or too many accounts opened in a short time can hurt your score.

So I made a mistake, how do I improve my credit score?

1. The first thing to do is to start paying your bills on time. If you have Internet access, it may be a good idea to set up an automatic bill pay (either through your bank's website or the actual credit card or loan company's website). This way, the bill will be deducted out of your checking account at the same time every month and will reduce your chances of your payment being lost in the mail. Paying your bills on time every month for about a year will dramatically improve your score.

2. The second thing to do is to check your credit report from all three major credit bureaus once a year. If you check it more than once a year, this may hurt your score. You can access your report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com . Be careful, many sites say they provide free credit reports but there is often a catch. Identify inaccurate information in your credit report and write a letter to the addresses listed below explaining your situation.

Equifax PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022

3. The third thing to do is to be smart with your credit. This means avoiding mall shopping sprees or playing online poker. Use your credit cards wisely. It is also smart to keep your credit card balances at 30% or less of your limit. This keeps your score up and leaves room on your credit card for emergencies like auto repairs and house repairs.

Copyright 2006 Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp.

SEO Strategies – The Truth About Search Engine Optimization

The Importance of Being Online

Did You Know? Right now, over 81% of people first search online before making a purchase vs using yellow pages, newspapers, traditional "offline" methods.

Did You Also Know? – 60% of traffic that comes to the websites is from searches-From people typing in what they are looking for in Google, Yahoo & MSN / Bing. Now, if your website is not on the first page of the search engine results, then unfortunately you are now. So knowing that, I am sure you would like to know how to achieve first page search results … and it begins with proper SEO strategies.

Let's get started!

First things first!

"A little bit of information is a dangerous thing"

Well the same holds true for too much information when it comes to SEO or Search Engine Optimization. When you are taught how to drive, was it necessary for you to have an understanding of the combustion engine, correct valve timing or be able to rebuild a transmission?

Of course not!

You simply needed the facts of getting your car going safely and smoothly down the road to your destination. Otherwise you will never get out of the driveway or be too overwhelmed and never learn to drive … never achieving your desired results.

Marketing Lesson # 1 "You can not steer a parked car!"

Unfortunately there is a lot of miss information that seems to be right in line with what people are trying to sell you online today. Imagine that?
The three reasons for this are simple:

1. SEO Companies, Gurus and Consultants want you to believe that only their big brains, experience and magic wands can make your site optimized and that little old you has NO chance, so do not bother and pay us lots of money.

2. Pretend Gurus and Consultants learn a few tricks and sell their wares unscrupulously all over the web for cheap leaving you with a crappy e-book and no results.

3. Lastly, there are the true webmasters out there who take on-Page optimization well beyond where it needs to go. (in my humble & profitable opinion) If you do not believe me, go ahead and buy one of those 200 page e-books that expect you to have degree from MIT and a full working knowledge of website coding. I would rather eat glass … I know this because I have read one of these, but dozens before seeing the light.

In other words, they tend to try and paint the Mona Lisa within every site but forget to invite anyone to the museum. IE All tech and no marketing. Remember, we did talk about the importance of getting the car moving did not we?

Dispelling the Myths of Search Engine Optimization

  • PPC or paid advertising is much cheaper and faster. WRONG. Paid advertising is only as good as long as you are paying for it, where On-Page optimization is a onetime set up. Natural Search Traffic is still 60% of all traffic & you will pay more per click in advertising if your site is NOT optimized.
  • SEO results take months, if not years, to achieve. WRONG. In fact, you can expect immediate results within a few days. Nobody has the time or patience to wait these days …
  • Optimal SEO results can only be achieved by an SEO expert. WRONG. No technical knowledge or SEO expertise is needed to achieve major success when you use the right SEO Strategies.
  • Hundreds of links are needed before I can start to see significant results. WRONG. Have you ever heard the saying, "Work smarter, not harder"? You can maximize your results with very little linking.
  • The Google algorithm is complicated and takes over 100 factors into consideration. It's impossible to achieve maximum SEO results without targeting them all. WRONG. There are key areas that have the greatest bearing and weighting over search engine results. In fact, these key areas make up the majority of the search algorithm.
  • SEO software yields the best results. WRONG. Simply put, if you know the key areas to target, you'll outperform any SEO program EVERY time. It's not a complicated process if you know what you're doing. (famous last words)

What is SEO All About Then?

All right, you've been patient. Here are the essentials of what you need to know about WHAT Search Engine Optimization is all about and then I'll get to the "HOW TO's" in just a minute. Let's walk before sprinting into uncharted territory.

OK so here's you first curve ball … there are two kinds of Search Engine Optimization! What? Who knew? Well I did and now so do you.

There is "ON PAGE" SEO and "OFF PAGE" SEO.

On-Page SEO is the method of configuring your website's size, layout, text, photos and videos so that they are easy to find by the search engines when someone is searching for them online.

Off-Page SEO happens outside of the website. It is the method of distributing valuable and relevant content about your products and services onto the internet in the form of blog posts, videos, articles, forums, podcasts, etc. that all point back to your website to help raise its rank in the search engines as well as drive traffic.

Now there is a middle man (more like a Judge) in the process and that is the search engines themselves like Google, Yahoo & Bing / MSN. They go around creeping and crawling around the internet and index or rank your website based on their own formulas known as algorithms.

No one knows the exact formulas (except those web geeks at Google, but they're not talking) but we have established some definite Do's & Don'ts when it comes to optimizing your website. The other thing to understand is that the Google's & Yahoo's use both On-Page & Off-Page optimization when ranking your website. For now, we'll concentrate on the on-site SEO which is the foundation for all other web marketing anyway.

Even paid web traffic from ads will cost you less with an optimized website because the search engines will reward you for playing by their rules … And simply the one theme that governs the rules of the search engines is to protect the consumer.

The Search Engines primary job is to bring the most RELEVANT results (websites, videos, articles, etc.) to the consumer or person doing the search based on the search term they type in. For example: If you were to search for "Snake Poison Antidote" on Google, you would be less than pleased and understandably angry if it folded up websites on snakeskin handbags and boots. You get the idea.

Getting Started with SEO Strategies

1. KEYWORDS : Prior to the SEO (or the process of correctly placing the right search engine friendly elements on your site) Optimization really begins with understanding the search terms people are using to look for products and services in the first place. These search terms are commonly known as "Keywords". Proper Keyword research is where most people (even seasoned marketers) fail before they even get started. Fortunately there are plenty of free and paid tools you can be using in no time to pick out the best terms to optimize your site with.

2. PLACEMENT : After you have thoroughly done your keyword research, it is time to strategically place them in all the elements * of your site (Header, Title, Description, Meta Tags, Navigation Links, Images, H1, H2, H3 tags, Alt Tags, Body etc.) to effectively have Google and the others to index or take account of all of them to be able to rank your site's relevancy for those keywords.

* Note: All of these "elements" are simply fields easily accessible to fill in on most commonly used website platforms.

Ok, that's it!

It can not be.

Yes it can! Sort of …

Like I said there are many geekier aspects of on-page optimization which includes things like which type of site structures to use, frames, types of scripts, etc. However, with the advancement of template driven and WYSIWYG * sites, many of these aspects are already pre-coded for optimization or ease of readability for those Search Engines out there doing their creeping and crawling thing … also known as indexing.

* WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) – An interface that provides the user with the ability to point and click to insert objects, images & text into most sites today.

So with Keyword Research and proper Placement in your site are the broad strokes of On-Page Search Engine Optimization. However, "How" to do the right and profitable Keyword Research for your niche and "How" to place them properly in all the elements of your sites is where you earn your stripes.

Your SEO Strategies Next Step

Fortunately I have put together a step by step guide that will not only walk you through on-page optimization but also how to drive FREE traffic through off page optimization as well.

Remember that Search Engine Optimization is an Investment, not an Expense. Unlike paid ads, the efforts you put in to really optimize your site today will continue to pay off well into the future.

With a proper search engine optimization guide, you can easily dominate search-engines like Yahoo, Google and MSN. Ranking high on search-engines is easy and can be very profitable for your website.