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Use of title in HTML body elements
A waste or not?
cyril kearney




msg:3855376
 8:31 pm on Feb 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am a web developer rather than an SEO guru but I try to include SEO things in my code to help the sites that I work on.

I am just wondering if I am wasting my time or helping my sites, so here is what I'm doing and hopefully some of you SEO mavens can tell me yea or nay.

Besides the usual stuff, I also do:
<a href="http://www.mysite.com/webpage.html" title="keyword in description">Keyword in Anchor</a>

<p title="keyword in description">. . . paragraph

<table title="keyword in description">. . . rest of table

 

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3855646
 8:51 am on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

A year or two ago I started using the title attribute and while I have no evidence to support this I believe that it may be taken into consideration in the same way that the alt attribute is. I would recommend that you continue to use it. It certainly won't do you any harm.

sdotuzi8612




msg:3855688
 10:08 am on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

may be ,or my be not.

a high density of keywords in your page,this may does harm

cyril kearney




msg:3855763
 1:43 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

sdotuzi8612
What I try for is about 3 of my primary keyword on a page and perhaps 2 variations of the keyword. <p> tags usually get longtails.

g1smd




msg:3855765
 1:49 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I use the title attribute on images, image links, and text links when they help the visitor use the site better.

pageoneresults




msg:3855766
 1:51 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

<a href="http://www.mysite.com/webpage.html" title="keyword in description">Keyword in Anchor</a>, <p title="keyword in description">, <table title="keyword in description">

Ummm, that appears to be keyword stuffing and improper use of that title attribute. If I were a search engineer and detected that, your pages would fall to the bottom of the index somewhere never to be seen again. They would be part of that "show omitted results" portion. And even then, I'd make sure they were at the back of the omitted results. ;)

Who taught you that?

I would recommend that you continue to use it. It certainly won't do you any harm.

Oh my. Today's date: 5:51 am on Feb 23, 1999

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3855770
 2:01 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just did a little test. I searched for a unique string of text (in quotes) from one of my menu title attributes and while Google reported no results my page was number one for this search. I repeated this on another site and got the same result.

Significantly(?) Google's cached version shows...
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: My unique string of text

Would this not indicate that G indexes the title attribute and that it can help you get found?

Oh my. Today's date: 5:51 am on Feb 23, 1999

A bit sarky today are we? ;)

[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 2:09 pm (utc) on Feb. 23, 2009]

pageoneresults




msg:3855783
 2:32 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just did a little test. I searched for a unique string of text (in quotes) from one of my menu title attributes and while Google reported no results my page was number one for this search. I repeated this on another site and got the same result.

How unique is the string of text? And, does it appear anywhere else on the page?

Would this not indicate that G indexes the title attribute and that it can help you get found?

Hmmm, you might think so huh? Google indexes the alt attribute too and that helps you get found, so what. Does that mean you recommend to newcomers that they go out and start stuffing keywords in those attributes as the OP's examples show?

A bit snarky today are we?

Nope. Got me Simon Cowell hat on today and am taking no prisoners in the process. What you are suggesting to the OP goes against the protocol for the use of that attribute and would inflict a usability nightmare on any assistive technology that relied on the title attribute for additional advisory information.

cyril kearney




msg:3855797
 2:49 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults
The reason I am asking is to know if I am wasting my time or worse consigning these pages to 'google hell'.

The use of title on the HTML elements causes them to display when they are focused on. The title has a legitimate function on links and on tables and paragraphies they can summarize it's content. They are valid in XHTML.

I began using them for their mneumonic value but quickly saw that they could readily contain keywords.

I guess the real question is would the use of title on HTML elements be considered by Google as "search spam"?

pageoneresults




msg:3855821
 3:07 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

The reason I am asking is to know if I am wasting my time or worse consigning these pages to 'google hell'.

I believe a manual review would purge any documents that made use of title attributes this way. I'm not sure the algo can detect this type of abuse automagically, but I think it can. Those guys/gals are pretty smart over there in the search engineering departments. ;)

The use of title on the HTML elements causes them to display when they are focused on.

Ya, the intended effect but it is a timed event which means you have limited space. How fast can the person read that has just positioned their cursor over the element? How do they know there is advisory information (a title attribute) associated with that element?

The title has a legitimate function on links and on tables and paragraphs they can summarize it's content. They are valid in XHTML.

The title attribute can be used on almost every single HTML element we have available. That doesn't mean it should be used. There are a plethora of attributes that can be assigned to HTML elements, that doesn't mean you use them all.

I began using them for their mneumonic value but quickly saw that they could readily contain keywords.

That's where the problem comes in. They are not meant to stuff keywords. Sure, you can provide advisory information that contains those keywords but there better be good reason to do so.

1. Limited space
2. Tooltip
3. Link associated with image and no anchor text

Those are about the only instances I can think of for using them. And, #2 is really not an option for public consumption.

I guess the real question is would the use of title on HTML elements be considered by Google as "search spam"?

If I were a Search Engineer, yes, I'd classify that as keyword stuffing. And, I think it would require a manual review in many instances.

I'm going to add this one to the SEO Myths topic when time permits. :)

buckworks




msg:3855874
 3:58 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

include SEO things in my code

Make this decision based on usability, not SEO wishful thinking.

If you really want to know whether you're using title attributes well, listen to your page with an audible browser reader. If what you're doing makes the page come across better in that context, keep doing it. If not, it's time for some ruthless editing.

The example you gave...

<a href="http://www.mysite.com/webpage.html" title="keyword in description">Keyword in Anchor</a>

... would create pointless repetition for someone hearing the page read by a browser reader. Either rewrite the title attribute so it adds value for the USER, or eliminate it.

Put the user experience first, including for non-sighted users, and SEO will tend to look after itself. Never forget that Googlebot is blind.

pageoneresults




msg:3855894
 4:34 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Those are about the only instances I can think of for using them.

I should point out that there are default uses for the title attribute. For instance when using the ABBR or ACRONYM elements.

You used an example of placing a title attribute on the TABLE element. In that scenario, you would use the Summary attribute and not the Title.

Now when it comes to administrative interfaces, I use them judiciously as a Tooltip feature. We have a ton of data being displayed and I cannot use full words in columns, we abbreviate. To help the admin users with a visual, we provide title attributes for all abbreviations and a visual clue that a title attribute is present. Usually a dashed underline in a contrasting color which covers all users.

There is another current topic where we are discussing the abuse of this attribute from the CMS side of things. We're talking about the bad practice of auto-inserting all anchor text into a title attribute. It's called "stuttering". Does your website stutter?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3855965
 5:42 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

W3C says that the title attribute "offers advisory information about the element for which it is set". I did not take Cyril literally when he mentioned "keyword in description", etc. I assumed that he meant that he used the keyword as part of the text in the attribute not all of it. Keywords can still be used in context and in the spirit of the W3C guidelines.

For example in some of my menus I use title attributes like "link to purple information about green widgets". This adds value to the user and may have some SEO value too, however small.

How unique is the string of text? And, does it appear anywhere else on the page?

The string of text is totally unique. Each of the words within it may appear somewhere on the page but I searched in quotes and I felt that it was significant that Google's cache reported,

These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: My unique string of text

In other words Google displays the same result as if there had been a hyperlink to the page with the unique string. I am not saying that it is anywhere near as valuable as a hyperlink but clearly Google does index it so I shall be continuing to use the title attribute when I think it is appropriate.

rockman




msg:3856456
 9:07 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

<table title="keywords"><tr title="keywords"> 
<td title="keywords">
<p title="keywords"><a href="#*$!" title="keywords"><img src="#*$!" alt="keywords" title="keywords" /></p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>

do you mean this.it is funning,isnt it?

how many people use the title attribute in this quit way?and how was the effect for your ranking?

if this does work,it proves that google's engineers are humourous at least:).

[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 9:29 am (utc) on Mar. 11, 2009]
[edit reason] Fix sidescroll [/edit]

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3856514
 11:31 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

"in this quit way"?

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