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Our site is giving out 'badges' to our authors. They can post these on their personal blogs and they will serve as incoming links to our site.

We want to give out the best possible code for SEO without doing anything that would get us flagged.

I would like to know what you're thoughts are on the following snippet of code and if anyone has any DEFINITE advice on dos and don'ts with it. Also, let me know if any of it is redundant or not worth it for SEO purposes.

I've kept the CSS inline since some of the writers would not have access to add link to external CSS.

I've changed the real values, but title, alt etc would be descriptive keywords similar to our page titles etc (no overloading keywords or any of that)

    <div id="writer" style="width:100px;height:50px;>
<h1><strong style="float:left;text-indent:-9999px;overflow:hidden;margin:0;padding:0;">articles on x,y,z</strong>
    <a href="http://www.site.com/link-to-author" title="site description">
        <img style="border:none" src="http://www.site.com/images/badge.png" alt="description of articles" title="View my published work on site.com"/>
    </a>
</h1></div>
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1 Answer 1

That looks incredibly spammy to me, and chances are it would to search engines. Your users may also be reluctant to use that code because of the h1 (you can only have one per page in HTML4). Plus they might think it (and the other elements) will affect how it looks on their site.

You can get great SEO value with a simple image link:

<a href="example/com"><img src="example.com/image.png" alt="link text" style="border:0" /></a>

I believe Google will give some weight to the alt text as if it was a text link. You could offer code for a regular text link as an alternative, if that fits your badge system.

Remember, you want to get as many links as possible, so make it as simple as possible for people to link to you! 10 links without keywords from good sites is much better than one spammy link with keywords.

A few additions re comments:

  • Your code looks spammy IMO because of the text hiding and artificial 'inflation' of importance you give the text.
  • You will get "as much SEO as possible" by getting more people to use the link, not by trying to cram in keywords and the like.
  • Headings and bold text emphasize keywords on the page, but I don't think they increase "link weight" in any way (I've seen SEO blogs mention this a couple of times).
  • I'm sure the complexity will be a problem for some users - I for one would avoid using that code because it looks a mess of tags for what should be a simple image link.
  • A bit of quick research backs up my suggestion that the image alt text is treated as if it was link text. So really, there's no reason to use anything more than a simple image link with good alt text.
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I wish people would use heading tags as intended. +1. –  Tim Post Jul 21 '10 at 1:12
    
if the site is HTML5, you can have as many h1 tags as you want, so long as they are included in a section/article/headergroup/etc –  Jason Jul 21 '10 at 2:31
    
Make a simple version, but also encourage them to create badges/links using their own words. Variety in code and terms appear less spammy and help the engines understand the meaning of those terms as they relate to your site. –  JasonBirch Jul 21 '10 at 2:42
    
thanks for the reply. i know i can use the 'simple' version - but the question was how can we expand on this to get as much SEO as possible. the complexity of the users putting in the code is not an issue. so, the question still is - why exactly is it 'spammy' if the h1 is an issue, we can change it to h2 or h6. we can also include text at the bottom to make it semantically correct. its perfectly acceptable to have a h2 on your site, use image replacement and have it link to another page (or a site logo as a h1), so why not for external links? –  DC01 Jul 21 '10 at 16:57
    
@DC01: I made some additions to my answer. In short, I don't think it's worth the effort trying to cram negligible SEO value into these links. –  DisgruntledGoat Jul 21 '10 at 22:46

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