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Importance of Screen Tips
Anyone with a scientific formula or fresh experience?
adfree




msg:606741
 8:05 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Didn't find anything with the site search, so I thought to start this discussion in order to come to a mutual understanding as of how screen tips impact your SERP's. Anyone with an educated view?
Many thanks, Jens

 

tedster




msg:606742
 11:15 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

As far as I know, the phrase "screen tips" is used for those yellow pop-ups in MS Word. So I'm going to assume that you are speaking about browser "tool tips". If you're not talking about tool-tips, well, nevermind...and please, let me know what screen tips are :)

In older browers, tool tips usually displayed the content of an image element's alt attribute. In moden browsers, they usually display the content of the title attribute for the element where the mouse is hovering, but support for elements other than <img> and <a> is still very spotty.

The old style tool-tip (taken from the alt attribute) has content that spiders read and search engine algorithms give some weight to the words there, but less weight than they would give to the words in your regular text.

From my recent experiments this past spring, search engines in general (and Google in particular) do not use the content of title attributes in their algorithms at this time.

Still, I feel that you should use both alt and title attributes as a usability and accessibilty enhancement for your visitors. Just don't expect a whole lot of extra clout on the SERPs.

adfree




msg:606743
 7:18 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many thanks for your reply.
Several WYSIWYG editors use the term "screen tips" to describe a built-in function for what you describe as the yellow MS Word-like tool tips.
Not only used for pics as an alt attribute but on top of hyperlink text for usability and accessibilty support.
If it (as you explain) does not hurt (considered spamming?) I would consider using them for exactly this reason, repeating the original link text without any keyword stuffing of course.
Switzerland for example is about to launch a new regulation where governmental web sites have to satisfy certain usability and accessibilty criteria, industries follow suit.
If this practice gets established it might be a solid habit to default on it.
Thanks, Jens

mattur




msg:606744
 10:55 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Please don't repeat link text in link titles, Jens! Its completely superfluous and no use to anyone...

It's actually a bad thing to do for folks who use screen readers as they may hear the link text repeated twice for no apparent reason ;)

It can be worthwhile (for all users) to add link titles that give *extra* information about where the link goes to, if the link is not self evidently clear on its own.

Google "using link titles" for Jakob Nielsen's take on this.

adfree




msg:606745
 11:04 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Point taken, many thanks!
Jens

trismegisto




msg:606746
 11:18 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

From my recent experiments this past spring, search engines in general (and Google in particular) do not use the content of title attributes in their algorithms at this time.

Thanks for this information tedster, i didn’t expect this. In the past, the search engines used this information somehow, but now… will we ever see this attribute to be used again by SE? Or it will become like the meta keyword tag, almost irrelevant?

takagi




msg:606747
 11:28 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

This text can also appear on the snippet of pages without any text and only links through images. So if your home page is pure graphics, for sure it will still help to put some relevant keywords there.

trismegisto




msg:606748
 11:56 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks takagi, although i don’t use pure graphics pages, is good to know that it could be useful under some circumstances.

tedster




msg:606749
 6:49 pm on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

...if your home page is pure graphics, for sure it will still help to put some relevant keywords there.

If you mean in an alt attribute, then I agree. What I tested was the title attribute, placing some unique phrases. The pages were already indexed and were spidered again after the unique text was inserted, and the Google cache was updated. But a search on those phrases returned zero results.

will we ever see this attribute to be used again by SE?

Because the title attribute was rarely used by web page authors, and not rendered by older browsers, it was most likely seen as only a place to spam, and therefore the SEs just tuned it out.

Now with a trend toward accessibility, and with modern browsers beginning to implement the rendering of that information, it "might" become a small factor in the algorithm at some future point. But it sure doesn't look that way now, and for understandable reasons.

g1smd




msg:606750
 12:39 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> Thanks for this information tedster, i didn’t expect this. In the past, the search engines used this information somehow, but now… will we ever see this attribute to be used again by SE? <<

I hope that you haven't confused the title tag with the title attribute here.

The Tag: <head><title>Blue Widget Sales</title></head> making a title element.

Attribute: <a href="buyone.html" title="Order here for next day delivery">Buy Blue Widgets</a>

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