How Do Search Engines Read My Page Content?

Search engines do not see Web pages like you do. They cannot process images, and translate them into content. Search engines crawl your website by reading the code created with HTML, ASP, PHP and other code languages. A page made up mostly of images displays mostly blank to a search engine.

Sometimes, what you see as text on a page isn't really text. Some people create Web page designs in an image editor program and instead of recreating the design as code, they simply post their image to look like HTML.

This is what your Web page might look like to you:

The problem is, a picture of text isn't actual text, it is just a picture. And it isn't visible to the search engine. All a search engine can see is a blank spot where the image is. Here's how a search engine might see your site:


A similar problem exists for audio and video, as well as Flash® animations. (Flash is a plugin that runs animated content in a website that users can often interact with.) Some highly interactive pages that are completely created in Flash can be practically invisible to search engines.

Having a page on your site with lots of images, or with a lot of flash animations, can be fine depending on your target customer. Image gallery sites obviously want to showcase their images, for example. However, it is not search-engine friendly. So if your business model depends on being found by the search engines, you should think about including a few pages with descriptive text (such as "about" pages or even adding a business weblog to your site). This makes it much easier for the search engines to find and rank your site. Adding text descriptions to images (using alt text attribute) for such sites helps as well.

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