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Alt Attribute Importance In SEO

Google LogoA lot of discussion comes from the area of the importance of alt attributes on images and their effect on search engine optimization.
If you don't know what an alt attribute is, Is the attribute that makes text appear when you mouseover an image, It is not a tooltip and it is not a tag.

Alt attributes were created initially for text based browsers, Like lynx, Which can not display images. The alt (or alternate) text was to describe what it is an image of, and should still be used only for that.
Alt attributes are put into code like this:
<img src="http://www.domain.com/images/logo.gif" alt="Some Text Here">

Google does include the alt text as body text,So in theory people could find your page by searching for what you have in an alt attribute. But it is believed that not much weight is given to this text, So really it's a good idea to use it for what it is intended, Too describe the image, and keep your text in the body of the page in areas that are readable to your users.


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Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Sunday, 16 July, 2006

Hey Matt,

I'd just like to complete your posting:

Alt attributes are important. But they are far from being "the attribute that makes text appear when you mouseover an image". As a matter of fact, on some web pages they don't appear at all at "mouseovering" and image. They appear, however, if you right click the mouse button and select properties.

Aside of being useful for text-based browsers, alt attributes bring other benefits for a webpage as well:

- some of the web users cannot see images, be they blind (convert text to speech or braille output), color-blind, low-sighted etc. The alt attribute gives them an idea of what's on the page

- search engines do index alt attributes as well - relevancy? yes: check the google images results.

Hope my comment is useful.  

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