I-Search Discussion List
"Understanding Internet search technology."
List Moderator: Marshall D. Simmonds
DATE 7/10/98 Issue #043
Subject: Re: image maps
I am considering using an image map in place of a large list of categories. I need to know if I should also place regular links on all pages. Or if placing them on one main page would be sufficient for the search engines to crawl the other pages that are on the image map.
I have a number of web designers who are my clients. They are very good at creating slick, nice, professional, unique, original etc. work, that just looks good, and, you know, they are so exhausted from their creations, that they ask me to do the grunt work - the html structuring, the extra bits that help the search engines easily digest the beauty of their site. Well, since I am not artsy kinda' guy, I concede and at this point we enter into the design versus function debate... Many of the designers have asked me about image maps, telling me all the reasons they are better: * looks professional, looks good (use alt tags) * easy to update each navigational bar with a single gif And I comment back to them: * you lose a precious opportunity to give a big dose of keywords, from a navigational bar, to the search engines when you use an image map * looks professional, but not all search engines will index alt tags, and it is unknown what weight, if any, they assign to alt tags versus text in the body of a page * Front Page and other programs have an include bot that allows easy updating of navigational bars. So, as with most debates, we end up with a compromise -- use text for a navigational bar, put a nice logo above it (with alt tags) and use nice buttons (with alt tags) to give it that "designer look" while meeting the needs of the search engines.
At your service,
Rod Aries, How To Internet Your Business
Competent Internet Presence Consulting
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