Image ALT and title attributes may appear to do the same thing at first glance, but they are actually quite different in how they work and how they are interpreted by users, search engines and browsers.
First, ALT (or Alternative Text) is meant to help describe the image which you are placing in your post or page. This is important if your image fails to load in a browser or email program, because the descriptive text is displayed in the same position as the failed image. In addition, ALT text is considered to be important for SEO, in that search engine crawlers try to gather data from this attribute in hopes to serve you better results when you are doing an image search. Be brief, but descriptive. And remember, you don’t need to use words like “picture” or “image” in your description; search engines already know it’s an image.
Other benefits to using ALT text is that some browsers may not display images at all, such as screen readers. Visually impaired persons depend on this extra information when “browsing” your site.
Much like the ALT text, the title attribute is used to help describe the image, but in a slightly different way. Image title attributes help by providing users with advisory information about the image in a brief pop up animation. This happens when a user hovers over an image that has the title attribute set. One tip to follow is that it is not always necessary to use a title attribute on an image. Try to reserve them for when the image links to other content or a larger version of itself.
This article from Business Insider talks about how Proctor & Gamble is struggling to meet its marketing goals after the CEO made an announcement that they were going ‘all-in’ on social media.
In a recent interview, P&G’s CEO is now saying they are instead going to increase their paid search budget and focus on traditional marketing efforts like sampling. While P&G is working with the biggest ad budget on the planet, what they learned can shed some light for the rest of us.
Facebook Changed the Rules
One thing that made the gamble on social media not work the way P&G planned was that Facebook changed the rules of the game. Facebook changed its algorithm for what people see in their news feed. Business pages went down in impressions significantly.
Is it unfair for Facebook to ‘change the rules’? Not really. Facebook is a free service. It isn’t like you paid for the features they promised you. That free service comes to you thanks to ads delivered to you by your ‘likes’ and activities. As Facebook matures, its job is to show users the content and ads they respond to best. That left many a brand page on the cutting room floor.
What can you do?
So what is a business supposed to do? If Facebook is your marketing channel of choice, you need to make darn sure you are delivering really, really good content that people like and respond to. The more people like and respond to your content, the more you will show up in people’s news feeds.
Second, you need to focus your marketing efforts on your own territory! Those rules won’t change at the drop of a hat.
Your owned marketing territory is your website, your blog, your email list and/or your contact list. Social media sites are great, they are popular, they are where people are, but they are also owned by stakeholders that are worried about their social media sites making money, not how you use them to market your business.
Social media is a great way to let people know about your company, build trust, create conversations and engage current and future customers. What we as businesses need to do is use those opportunities to get people to do something else with your business like participate on your owned marketing channels.
photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc
I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about kids in school in these modern times. We were reminiscing on how we had to collect information for school reports – libraries, old magazines, microfiche, interviews with experts and encyclopedias.
Neither of us have high school aged children, but now it seems kids just need to Google it and maybe purchase a reference on Amazon. Information surrounds us wherever we go.
We. Google. Everything.
We Google things we want to know more about. We Google people, news, questions, health facts, directions, businesses, videos, things to make us laugh, ex-boyfriends, the weather, answers to math questions, recipes and so much more.
The way we search is constantly evolving. In this Search Engine Journal article, the author speaks to Duane Forrester’s (Sr. Product Manager at Bing) breakdown of the new ‘search session’. We no longer type in a ‘one-and-done’ search. Instead, we make a series of searches, open multiple tabs and we rework our search terms until we feel we have found the perfect keywords to show us the best results.
Search is about the whole picture, now more than ever
So if that is how you and I search, why are we still optimizing for the one-and-done search? Each of those modified searches is part of the new search experience. The one-and-done search is now more about the entire experience. Meta descriptions, author markups, social media presence, page load time, multiple pieces of content marketing, user experience and design are a bigger factors than ever in the ‘search process’.
So what can you do to be prepared for new search behaviors?
- Take stock of the whole picture your company is showing the world.
- If there is a term you NEED to be found for, be found by multiple sources (your website, news, guest blogs, social media).
- Be aware of the search landscape, how people find your site and of what makes them buy from you. You can find a lot of information in your site’s analytics to help you get a clearer picture of how people find you and move through the funnel. You also can learn a lot from your customers and your sales team about what value customers saw in your company that made them choose you over your competition.
- Be clever. This title tag change from Infinum was brought to my attention from our designer. See below (or on their site) how the title tag changes when you click to a different tab in your browser. Clever.
Search engines have changed – they have become more personal and show varied results. Searchers behaviors have changed, we no longer do the one-and-done search. What we use search engines for has changed. We need to adapt to these changes or we may be left in the dust. It may be time to rethink your company’s search experience and think less about keywords and rankings.
photo credit: dicktay2000 via photopin cc
Screenshot of Facebook’s new Graph Search
This week Facebook announced their new search tool, Graph Search, with a lot of pomp and circumstance. The social media giant is launching a new way to search for things that you want to know more about and tying it to our connections.
Using the Facebook search bar, you can look for all kinds of information and it will use public Facebook user information to deliver your results. The new search functionality pulls something that Google is unable to – account holder information. Since people share so much on Facebook, there is loads of information to help searchers find what they are looking for. This could mean trouble for Google, LinkedIn and review sites like Yelp.
Instead of writing about a topic that has been so wildly covered on the news and in blogs, I made a list of good articles we found explaining Facebook’s Graph Search and what it means for users and businesses:
How this all plays out should be interesting! If you want to know even more about Graph Search, you can go right to the horse’s mouth and check out Facebook’s Guide to Graph Search.