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I recently received a web mockup that included a sidebar with a short paragraph of narrow text; a quote from a person. At the end of the quote, the mockup had a circular portrait of the person floated to the right, hanging off the edge of the block, with the text flowing around the edge of it.

It looked like this, where "TEXT" is the text, and "o" is the portrait

TEXTTEXTTEXTTEXTTEX
TEXTTEXTTEXTTE 
TEXTTEXTTEXT   ooooo
TEXTTEXTTEXT  ooooooo
TEXTTEXTTEXT  ooooooo
               ooooo

The easiest way to do this would be to put the tag for the portrait somewhere in the markup of the text, and float it right. But the HTML will look like, in that case: TEXTTEXTTE<img src="..." style="float: right;">XTTEXTTEXT and I fear this would be bad for SEO.

Does anyone know? The other option is putting the at the end, absolutely positioning it, and using manual line breaks -- which sucks for my responsive design.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It should be no problem for search engines. Most probably wouldn’t even recognize that the image actually isn’t part of the surrounding sentence.

But it’s bad for semantics (which you may or may not be interested in). As you have a quote in your sidebar, you should use the blockquote element. But the person’s photograph is of course not part of the quote, so it shouldn’t be included in the blockquote element.

And it’s bad for accessibility (which you should be interested in). Think of a screen reader user. Example markup:

<blockquote>
  <p>I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; <img src="bilbo-portrait.png" alt="Bilbo Baggins" /> and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.</p>
</blockquote>

The screen reader might read something like:

Quote: […] as well as I should like Image Bilbo Baggins and I like less than […]

Confusing, huh?

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This is exactly what I was wondering. Maybe I shouldn't have phrased it about SEO.. I was thinking that bad semantics and accessibility are also sorta bad for SEO. For instance, if this appeared as a snippet in Google, mightn't it say as well as I should like **Image Bilbo Baggins** and I like less than just like this? –  Offlein Oct 17 '13 at 17:35
    
@Offlein: The alt value ("Bilbo Baggins") could possibly appear in snippets, yes (but probably without "Image" or similar). (But I don’t know if any, or which, search engines actually show the alt value, currently.) –  unor Oct 17 '13 at 18:06
    
Yeah, that's what I figured. So it's not great SEO either. Or at least it's just plain bad form. –  Offlein Oct 17 '13 at 22:03
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This will not affect your SEO. And even if it did, how much do you really think it would affect it? Not to mention a better user experience usually makes for better SEO anyways as that increases your chances of acquiring natural links which we all know does have a positive impact on your rankings.

Basically, don't even give SEO another thought when it comes to this or anything like it.

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