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Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5


From: Stephanie Sullivan
Date: Aug 30, 2007 8:10AM

On Aug 30, 2007, at 5:06 AM, Christian Heilmann wrote:

> The easier question is what is the impact on SEO, as this is where a
> money loss would be felt which sadly enough makes people listen more
> eagerly.

I've come to believe that the alt attribute doesn't give a very large
SEO bump these days. I believe this is due to the blatant abuse and
stuffing of these attributes with large amounts of keywords. I can
definitely confirm by a site I was hired to correct that Google seems
to ignore very verbose alts (they had used images instead of text for
much of the site. Then, realizing their error, they tried to put
whole sentences, and sometimes paragraphs of text, into the alt
attribute to make up for it). The words that were in their alts were
not in Google's database.

That said, I can not confirm or deny whether small, descriptive alts
are still considered in any significant way in the algorithm to
target a specific page or for their image search capabilities. (Good
thinking though Christian and likely something that should be looked
at since sadly, money talks louder than accessibility.)

(Thanks for the AT information, Steve. :) I noticed to that Flickr
uses the repetitive alt in the pages with multiple pictures, but on
single picture pages uses an empty alt.)

Stephanie Sullivan
Dreamweaver Task Force for WaSP