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Old 12th January 2005, 02:45 PM   #1
Rug Rats
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Default Text descriptions on Images

Does it help in search engine rankings to add text descriptions on web site images? I know this is for people with disabilities, but I was wondering if this helps with keyword denisity?
Thanks for any help.

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Old 12th January 2005, 03:16 PM   #2
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Alt attributes for images that are not hyperlinked to another page should describe the image itself and search engines do not factor in these in relation to where your page ranks.

Now alt attributes for images that are hyperlinked should describe the page they are linking to and are factored into how a page ranks.

All that being said, yes you can make sure keywords are represented but you will want to make sure not to simply stuff a bunch of keywords into an alt attribute just for the sake of trying to rank well.

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Old 13th January 2005, 09:59 AM   #3
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Actually some search engines will include the contents of alt attributes that are not the part of a hyperlink. You do need to make sure you do not simply stuff the img tag with an alt attribute that is full of nothing but keywords though, will get you quickly blacklisted from google for a period of several months...

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Old 13th January 2005, 01:02 PM   #4
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will get you quickly blacklisted from google for a period of several months...
Uhhh... no you won't. But as David said, it won't do you a lot of good. ALT tags are sort of like the META keyword tag. It *used* to be something helpful but it's been so badly abused that most engines simply ignore the text within them now.

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Old 14th January 2005, 06:30 PM   #5
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As with most SEO advice, the goal is user-friendliness.
What's good for the user is good for the spider.

Do keep the accessibility issues in mind, and not just for people with "reader" browsers. The ALT text is what pops up in some browsers when the mouse is hovered over the image, adding extra information the user may need to make their decisions. (Some browsers respond better to a TITLE attribute.) It is also the text that is displayed while the image is loading, or if the image is not being displayed at all (i.e. text-only browsers, many PDA/cellphone browsers, browsers with images turned off).

I agree with the advice against stuffing keywords into the ALT attribute. You should use text that is either descriptive of the image (alt="Small Business Ideas Logo") or adds to its informative subtext (alt="Small Business Ideas Forum - Small Business Ideas, Issues, Resources, News and Help").

Lastly, your web page will not be "valid" unless you use an ALT attribute in every single image, so it's got that going for it.

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Old 15th January 2005, 09:04 AM   #6
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I agree with most of the advice for the ALT attributes.

Google does pick up the text in ALT attributes and will index a page based upon it. I recently found a page in one of my sites where I accidentally grossly misspelled the name of the site in the logo's ALT attribute. Just for the heck of it, I searched Google for that word and sure enough--that page showed up as the only page in the SERP. I then corrected the spelling and a week later it was gone in the SERPs when I searched for the word.

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Old 15th January 2005, 10:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechEvangelist
Google does pick up the text in ALT attributes and will index a page based upon it. I recently found a page in one of my sites where I accidentally grossly misspelled the name of the site in the logo's ALT attribute. Just for the heck of it, I searched Google for that word and sure enough--that page showed up as the only page in the SERP.
Was that image hyperlinked to another page or URL of not linked to anything?

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Old 15th January 2005, 04:33 PM   #8
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Default text on images

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Wallace
Was that image hyperlinked to another page or URL of not linked to anything?
David, Thanks for all your input. The images are not linked to anything. I have many pages on my website and I am just learning how to change text, and various things for SEO. For instance if you would look at this page:
http://www.rugratsva.com/border-rugs.html I took each picture and added text to it. I want to place high in the search engines for Border Rugs. I don't feel that I stuffed keywords into this page??
Now I probably need to figure out how to link these images to another page
that pertains to information about Border rugs?? That would place this page higher in the search engine?

David, I looked over your great web site and am looking forward to your newletter!

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Old 29th January 2005, 09:13 AM   #9
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You should use alt text for 2 reasons-it is a factor in having W3C compliant pages, and it lets vision impaired people know what it is. The SEO effect it will have is pretty minimal on anything with any competition.

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Old 31st January 2005, 10:05 AM   #10
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In response to David's question, the text in the ALT attribute was applied to a logo image that hyperlinked to the home page. I think this supports your view of how text in ALT attributes is used.

I might try a test on a stand-alone (non-hyperlinked image) to see if the text gets picked up. The best test might be to apply the mispelled word to a hyperlinked image on one page and a non-hyperlinked image on another to see which shows up in the SERPs.

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