Probably not...I have thought about this in the past and come to the conclusion that, if Google penalized for 1x1 graphics, their search results would disappear :)
A 1x1 image, whether invisible or not, is a valid design tool...a 1x1 invisible link can never be utilized by a real person and therefore is spam.
cant you preload with java script?
interesting. never heard of this, but it has some distinct advantages.
using 1x1 images would work in browsers with js disabled and also result in less code = smaller page size.
There's no reason to be penalized for those small gifs if you don't stuff them with keywords or links.
Many sites use small gifs for accurate positionning of elements on the page.
Many people use 1x1 for spacers, etc. As long as their is no keywords or links associated with them, you should be ok.
1 x 1 images and spacer bars are the only reliable and accurate way i have found to create tables that load the same across both ie and netscape...
I sincerely hope G does not penalise these as i've been using them for ages!
What would be some "safe" alt tags to use for the 1x1 image?
The reason I ask is that you need "ALT" tags to verify as WC3 HTML4.01
The preferred ALT tag for a spacer should be blank, eg.
<img src="spacer.gif" height="10" width="10" alt="">
This will validate as HTML 4.01.
If you *do* use 1x1 GIFs for formatting purposes, using alt="" is the right thing to do (make sure they are not linked, though, or you may get into trouble with the SE).
However, unless you have to support *really* old browsers, using CSS for layout may be a better (and faster) solution.
Thank you, I will make the changes today.