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The internet is the largest and most varied medium of information in all of human history, housing literally billions of web pages ranging in topics from the mundane to the esoteric. Many companies struggle with determining how to make their websites visible and heavily trafficked on the Internet, and Google is helping out website owners, search marketing managers and webmasters with tools that include Content Analysis, Sitemaps, and more.

Google Webmaster Tools - understanding your website with WebShare

These tools are incredibly useful vehicles to develop and manage sites that a search engine can navigate and use, which any Search Engine Marketer will tell you is fundamentally important for the success and visibility of a site on the web. One aspect of this topic includes the importance of page elements and how to effectively leverage rich content like flash, AJAX, video, and more.

One thing to remember is the importance of using textual alternatives for content that is primarily audio/visual for the benefit of searching technologies. While humans have the ability to comprehend the “message” behind this rich content, search engines cannot.  While we as humans can look at a picture of a car and understand and interpret what we’re looking at conceptually and even specifically, a search engine spider is left with nothing more than an array of pixels.  One way to “tell” a search engine what’s behind this content is to use alt attributes for images and noscript/alternative content for browsers without JavaScript/Flash.

This has twofold importance. For one, this makes a site much more accessible to the visually impaired (who may use programs such as JAWS, a text/speech tool for visualization), and second, it helps search engine spiders index a site. Failure to use such options effectively leaves large portions of the internet essentially blind to your content, resulting in fewer page visits and less overall user engagement.  In order to be more than just another fish in the sea, webmasters should leverage these tools and techniques to free their information, bringing it into the light for all to see.

If you’re not using Google’s Webmaster Central, get an account today and get instant visibility into the pages of your site.

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