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IMG alt text has been used for stuffing hidden text for as long as I can remember. Still, it's a shame to loose this key element of allowing robot accessibility for image heavy pages, just as business and even government bodies are starting to take Web accessibility seriously.
With any luck, Google will find that it wasn't a major spam problem and set things back (as they did after ignoring guestbook links for a while this time last year).
The tag is not supposed to contain paragraphs or even long sentences, doing this is a disservice to visually impaired users.
--The "ALT" statement should describe the image sufficiently for users who can not see the image--
I can't comment on pages indexed by the Freshbot, however. It's too soon after the dance for me to find a page that I'm sure was indexed afterwards.
img alt text should describe the images not the site content. I understand that from the se's view the spam issue weights more than the design issue.
BTW: are there any published % of visually impaired surfers?
<added>i use img alt text the same way as meta keywords and description. I don't put any words in these tags that are not also visible at the page in text content. Even for navigation buttons etc. ... there's always a way to also provide a text link. This way the visually impaired user and the robots can navigate and understand my pages.</added>
It's use today is for more stretching, and perhaps more revealing now for those websites that utilize images to accomplish, what hours of content development would have done. I consider these websites to be frivolous and unimportant. It's a cheap shot and always will be.
I for one am glad to see Google do this. It will add revelancy to searches instead of glitter.
[edited by: sparrow at 9:03 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2003]
Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate.
From Google Information for Webmasters - [google.com...]
One would hope that this admonition still holds and that it not only aids the page's usability, but somehow gets recognized in the Google algo, if heeded.
I have always use alt to give a very brief description of the image.
Example <alt="image of the building/"> and so on. But I couldn't image me going into a long litany explaining what the image was about. I don't think I would even go there.
So if it was used for other than the intended purpose I guess if it was abusive then Google did the right thing.
Just my 2cents.
I believe that these tags have been terribly abused and have for while now, lost there true meaning and intentions.
It's not the fact that I do not want these tags used, it's just that they are so terribly abused they shouldn't be used. (poet and don't know it, I'll keep my day job).
This won't affect my site much... It was all I could do to find a graphic that wasn't clickable except for spacers, where I don't ever use ALT text anyway (I'm pretty sure).
Let us not forget that there are other SE's besides Google who will continue to use the alt text in the algo. To what degree will probably diminish in time if it's not already to that point.
There are many different things you can do with image attributes. A little bit of research at the W3C will turn up some very interesting stuff.
Using the alt tag as it was intended is good design practice. Design first, SE's second. ;)
If you're writing paragraphs, and you're not spamming, you should put the description on a separate page and link to it.
If you're writing paragraphs, and you *are* spamming, please stop.
I try to keep my own alt text simple and descriptive ("Tower of London photo" or "Tower of London"), but sometimes I wonder if I should even go that far when my photos nearly always have captions. If I have a photo of the Tower of London with a caption that tells what it is, maybe the alt text should just read "photo."
I'm pretty sure the hierarchy is as follows :
1) Page title
1) Anchor text
2) Linked alt text (close behind)
3) Header tags
4) Bold body text
5) Normal body text
6) Title of link/image/etc tags (almost zippo)
6) Unlinked alt text (probably zippo)
PLUS - position in the document (not on the page), which isn't always consistent (some people say a header tag near the bottom has a benefit) - AND of course all those off-page factors.
I think it all makes sense - it makes me mad to see highly-ranked pages with spammy alt text - and IMHO the way to go will be with alt text that strikes a balance ...
1) Navigation button : 'Link to widgets page' not 'widgets'
2) Logo : 'Widgets from Acme' not 'widget widgets wiggets'
When that will happen is anyone's guess, but good practice now will save a lot of work later on ...
What I'd like to know, is what weight the SE's put on content in <noscript> tags - that's a real spam haven, not far behind manipulated <div> tags.
My question is, does google see an anchor link on the same page with the same reverance as a anchor link to another page?
as in does this:
on one page play as well as this:
which is linked on another page,
or is this even better?:
which has tivo appearing in the anchors text.
It raises a question to me about how the internal PR is distributed using this technique.
> alt text in link count as much as anchor text
It looks like it's at least roughly the same, but the relative weightings are harder to analyse (not impossible, just harder).
stevew, some of our results are similar but some are quite different.
Thus a handicapped person uses some web browser and can barely see but the ALT text is read out loud as he navigates the site.
If only image ALT's that have "links-to" such-and-such.html pages are used this would be quite bad for the handicapped... ad far as I know I do not think this would go over well with the Gov't bodies or institutions etc etc whatever or whoever they may be?
This is interesting but handicapped peoples should have a right to keep ALT text important to them.
I am sort of tired tonight so I think in their case (disabled) this would not affect them (disabled) as Google would not index this unique ALT text attribute in a way to work an algo for a search engine organization.
Jee this is hard to explain in typing... anyway if sites are not indexed by Google if they are just a non linkable image with this ALT text. I think this could be bad as the handicapped may end up loosing potential quality results from Google as this sort of text is important to them to navigate but as the algo will not include this then handicapped will have a worse time using the web as a whole?
Ok now slap me and tell me if that made ANY sense?