Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text

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Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text IMJ 3/23/09 9:45 AM
Hi,

I am working on a website for a client, where the design dictates that the first paragraph of selected pages must appear in a specific non-web-safe font, to act as a "brand statement" for the page. Thus far we have simply been using images with alt text but this is not being indexed by Google, as would be expected.

One simple idea we have had is to include some inline JavaScript to output the image element and a <noscript> block to output HTML text, i.e.:

<script>
                //write the brand text image to the document
</script>
<noscript>
                //write out the brand text as HTML in an <H1> tag
</noscript>

This would allow Google and other search engines to index the brand statement text as well. However, our client is concerned about Google blacklisting the sites if we use this solution. Even though my research leads me to believe that it should be perfectly acceptable, the client has specifically requested that I ask for confirmation on this forum.

So, in short, would the above solution be accepted by Google? The text would always be identical in the image and HTML versions.

In case anyone is wondering, we've looked into sIFR, Cufon etc. but discounted them for various reasons.

Thanks,

Iain
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text luzie 3/23/09 10:14 AM
Hi IMG,


>>> So, in short, would the above solution be accepted by Google?

I think it will be accepted, yes ... but also think the content of the <noscript>-tag will just be ignored ... nothing lost, nothing gained.


>>> where the design dictates that the first paragraph of selected
>>> pages must appear in a specific non-web-safe font


Common claim, heard that before many times, I can't imagine this to be really-really necessary?

-luzie-
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/23/09 11:45 AM
You should look into more common/standard/accepted methods of   Image Replacement.

You should, by rights, be able to use a Header Tag or a Paragraph, insert an image nested within it, and apply Alt Text.
By rights, it should be taken as equal to (or close to) the equivalent in normal text.

You can go a step further, and use things like server side scripts to take text content and create images from it (like phpthumb etc.).
They can pickup the text you insert, and convert it into an image, changing the font etc.
That way you don't have to actually create the images - it is done automatically.

Another option is the use of Flash (Sfir?)... to do pretty much what I just outlined above, but using Flash instead.

You could even go the route of employing CSS and stacking the image... making it a background in a span and applying the image to that, so it is placed on top of the "exactly matching" text (notice my subtle hint to avoid spamming/stuffing and breaking the rules? ;)).

.

The key thing in all of this is that you actually supply "normal" content - the clever stuff is done with it after.
And that the text and image content should match - exactly.
There is no need for deviation/alteration.
Going the these routes, dynamically altering/using the "normal" content helps ensure that at no point can anyone "accidentally" break the rules :D

Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text IMJ 3/24/09 2:16 AM
While I appreciate the answers, I am not actually looking for any alternative solutions right now. All I want is a simple yes/no answer as to whether the idea I proposed would result in Google blacklisting the sites. The HTML text that crawlers will see will always be exactly the same as in the in the image.

Iain
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/24/09 3:06 AM
You know what - we seem to be getting a lot of this lately.

Tell you what.

Damn well try it out and find out.
Thats the only way to know for sure.
Just be warned that it may be done on a case by case basis depending on other things that are done on the page.
Further - it may also "change" over time - so no guarantees.

,

Best of luck with it though.
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text IMJ 3/24/09 3:16 AM
I apologise if I came across as as being offensive. I'm seeking the answer for our client's benefit, as they are not willing to let us do anything until they have some guarantee that blacklisting will not occur.

If there is no such guarantee to be had, then I have my answer. Thank you.

Iain
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text jeff hall 3/24/09 3:48 AM
a while ago we had some content fully indexed that was between noscript tags - i think so long as the content is an accurate snippet or description of whatever image or java content then its fine however i also had some content between noscript tags that was never been indexed - so from my experience there is no gaurantee that such content will be spidered properly and indexed. The problem is the Se's are understandbly nervous about noscript tags as it use to be a spammers favourite method of keyword stuffing. A autocrat says a lot depends on the other things on the page
my 2 cents worth is don't use it as its too risky.
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text luzie 3/24/09 4:44 AM
>>> until they have some guarantee that blacklisting will not occur.

If really need to do it, do it as Autocrat said:

  "You should, by rights, be able to use a Header Tag or a Paragraph, insert an image nested within it,
   and apply Alt Text. By rights, it should be taken as equal to (or close to) the equivalent in normal text"
.

It's safe, your method will have no advantages, may even be worthless.

-luzie-
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/24/09 5:14 AM
   "... I apologise if I came across as as being offensive. ..."
Thats okay - it wasn't offensive - it's just very frustrating when people ask something, we all bend over backwards to point out the related issues.... and it seems wasted.
I shouldn't fly off the handle as I do in response either - so please forgive me for the flippancy.


   "... I'm seeking the answer for our client's benefit, as they are not willing to let us do anything until they have some guarantee that blacklisting will not occur. ..."
Well, now you can go to your client armed with more information and multiple options (so aren't you gonna look clever ;)).
(Note - some of the options outlined above are used by the "big boys" ... and I even use them on the odd occasion (and as far as I know - every site I build works fine in the SERPs ;))


Remember, at the end of the day - it is the clients choice on what happens to their site.
At the end of the day, it's your choice whether you do as dumb/ignorant clients want, or not.

If it boils down to them insisting on something that you know to be dumb/silly/risky - get a letter in front of them and request them to date and sign it, and get a witness to do it too.

The letter only needs to say something akin to;
Through careful explanation from [NNN], I have been made aware that doing [XXX] may place my site, [YYY], at risk due to [ZZZ] in the Guidelines.  I am still commosioning that my requested action is taken, regardless of the risks outlined by [NNN].
I accept that [NNN] is in no way personally nor professionally, legally, morally, ethically, financially liable nor responsible for any fault, damage or negative occurrence, which may or may not occur through the carrying out my request.

That generally makes people sit back and understand the possible implications!
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/24/09 5:36 AM
Opps - sorry for the bold..... no idea how I managed that :s
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text IMJ 3/24/09 5:48 AM
Apology accepted :)

I probably should have made it clearer that we have already researched and proposed all the other suggested solutions to the client already but they were all deemed unsuitable for various reasons which I can't really go into. Suffice to say they are in fact a very large, important client (which means I have to be careful what information I divulge on this forum) who are very specific about what they do and don't want, hence why I was asking a very specific question.

If the script/noscript solution could in any way negatively affect the site's index ranking or open up potential for blacklisting, then we will not use it. We do have a contingency plan if this is the case.

Thanks again for the replies,

Iain
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/24/09 5:51 AM
Erm - I'm worried!

If that was the "A Plan" .... what the hell is the "B Plan" ?
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text IMJ 3/24/09 7:01 AM
Going back to sIFR, but compromising the design guidelines to do so... it's a long story!
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/24/09 9:26 AM
   "... Going back to sIFR, but compromising the design guidelines to do so... it's a long story! ..."

How would SIFR be a breach of the Guidelines?
There are 4 methods I listed above - and I've used ALL of them with no comeback - because I ensure the text matches.

If your client is going to be a pain over this sort of thing - get them to sign off a waiver, take the money, do the job and walk away.
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text IMJ 3/24/09 9:51 AM
By design guidelines I mean the visual design of our client's site, nothing to do with Google/SEO. The text in question is meant to be in 2 different colours according to the brand design guidelines, a feature that is only supported in sIFR 3 - but seeing as sIFR 3 is only in beta and has been for over 2 years, it doesn't look like there will be an official release anytime soon, and there is no way we could use beta software (a restriction of working with a big corporation). If we use siFR 2 we can only have use one colour for the text. That's an issue that's outwith the scope of this discussion though. Sorry for the confusion.
Re: Use of <noscript> to replace image containing text Autocrat 3/24/09 11:14 AM
Ah.... now that makes life a little more interesting.... :D
With that scenario - as far as i know- there is no simple method barring manually creating and inserting the images within header tags :(

That said, I think I could manage to do it in phpthumb.... but it would be a multipel step process, building the image up, then cropping it, and piecing the different bits together....
would be a nightmare to get it perfectly right every time.
But it should be doable.

As an alternative, you could use CSS and overlay a transparency/opacity filter over normal text....
if you did several of those, stacking with z-index.... using an offset height and possibly positioning using relative units....
it might work that way :D