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Can text-only websites rank well?

 4:11 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

In my niche, I mainly see sites that have images/videos. Before Panda/Penguin...text based sites used to rank well.

If your competitor is using lot of images/videos, can you still outrank him?



 5:56 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I work on many sites that are primarily text and they do just fine against others that have images/videos etc.

about the only image on many of the sites is a logo at the top of the pages.


 9:02 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Think Wikipedia. :)


 9:07 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia is full of unique images


 9:13 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

So you disagree that Wikipedia is essentially a text based website?


 9:23 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

But you don't generally go to wikipedia to look at the pictures. Most of the time they're simply Added Value. ("Oh, thank you very much, I had almost succeeded in forgetting what a potato bug looks like.")


 10:57 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

>>Wikipedia is full of unique images

really, it seems to me it is full of images stolen from others or that are in the 'public domain' there's nothing unique about them at all.

Robert Charlton

 11:03 am on Dec 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Depends entirely on what the niche is, or what the topic in Wikipedia is.

If you're in ecommerce and sell fashion, chances are that if you don't have any jquery image sliders, your more successful competitors do.

But you don't generally go to wikipedia to look at the pictures.

It depends on whether the pictures are appropriate. On Wikipedia, artists out of copyright often have a wide range of paintings on the pages devoted to them. I do sometimes go to Wikipedia specifically to look at these. Wikipedia also offers some iconic classic paintings (some, eg, by Botticelli) in a variety of file sizes, often quite large. Check out also the pages for Cezanne and Gaugin, eg,... maybe not the best selections, but respectable.

Many SEO blogs are offering some good graphics to illustrate their stories... and while some are merely offering what I think is cutesy junk, I think the illustrative graphics on sites where the graphics are used appropriately are already a ranking factor, perhaps so implicit in the story telling that we don't even notice it.

Video also is becoming a major component of some web reporting. You can't look at a news site without encountering video. Shopping sites are offering video product demonstrations, and competition will force these videos to get better over time. Don't forget audio files in the media mix.

If your competitor is using lot of images/videos, can you still outrank him?

Depends on how engaging and compelling your text content is, vs how compelling your competitor's content is, along with his video and images if they help move the written story along. What the audience wants can be a big factor.

Sadly, many companies just do video because it's on a check-list, and I think that's a big mistake. Make sure there's a point to it, and that it's done well... or well enough.


 12:36 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

From experience, I believe that sites with fewer images do better in mobile searches. Perhaps G believes more images don't provide as good of an experience for those with smaller screens and possibly slower connection.


 12:49 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld ranks OK..


 3:34 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

It depends on the niche and internet connection available, text only websites are better when the internet connections are slow.


 11:52 pm on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld ranks OK..

We're not weighted down with people who believe the best way to explain something is to have them watch a video.* "How do I make a script to do such-and-such?" "I've got a video that explains it." So that's why I couldn't get it to work! I was holding the mouse in the wrong hand, and looking in the wrong place for the Edit menu.

Save the videos for showing me what choux pastry is supposed to look like when you stir it, or what the paint is not supposed to look like when you open the undated can.

* Or look at pictures. I've downloaded that ### google SEO pdf at least six times because I keep forgetting I've already read it.


 2:30 am on Jan 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Many of my websites are text only and they all rank great.


 5:51 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

You have to split this issue in two...image in the template and images in the 'editorial area'. The latter is a good thing and does absolutely help with SEO to some degree and in some circumstances.

It's the new machine learning algo's of why this works now IMO... Machine algo's tell google that spam sites tend not to invest in rich media (images/videos/pdfs) because they are lazy and like to mass product their work. The more effort and work you put into your website the more likely you are to escape hidden tendencies/profiles the machine learning algo's associate with spam sites and the better you'll do.


 8:40 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am not sure that I agree with you but the unconditional answer to the original question is yes!


 9:56 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Both extremes seem to rank fine.....text.....wikipedia


 5:53 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think you have to differentiate apples and oranges. There are sites with no images and very minimal designs that do not have obvious images. The latter like wikipedia or webmasterworld. I mean look at webmasterworld...at first glance you don't recognize images, but indeed there are oodles of them.

A paramount question might be can a website with NO images rank well (not few images).


 10:08 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

but indeed there are oodles of them

No ###. Quick detour to page source and text editor turns up 76 <img tags, at a rate of 4 per post plus all those tweetbuttons at the bottom and assorted logos and ads along the top. Would anyone notice if they all disappeared? Maybe not consciously, but I think there's a little bit of a subliminal effect.

There are also 142 "color" tags and 78 ::cough-cough:: "bgcolor". I think this is just as significant, because there's a further huge difference between a page that has no images and a page that looks as if it came out of a typewriter.


 9:39 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think it is safe to say that the images on WW play very little (if any) part in its ranking position. :)

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