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Need advice on strategy for alt text for images

     
11:32 am on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I'm rethinking alt tags, particularly since issues of usability are now coming up. I've always kept them simple and short when I've used them, pretty descriptive of what the image or site is about, but have never placed much emphasis on them. I've always had the option of changing them myself, depending on which page they're on.

What's the general recommended maximum length, and just how descriptive do they need to be? I've seen some that had what I'd consider too much; mine have always been only a specific phrase.

Right now, it'll be for a very large site with multiple products and keywords, practically all dynamic, and the alt text will remain uniform thoughout all of the site pages, except for several HTML pages which I'll have the opportunity to change when I do the text modifications and optimization.

I know the ones used throughout should reflect the primary keyword phrase for the site; it's a question of deciding how many more, or whether that will be enough.

I can probably do more in this area than I have been. Any suggestions?

8:56 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Marcia,

You said that the site is practically all dynamic......is there any way that you can use different alt tags depending on the section or product?

9:36 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

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agerhart, I spoke with the developer this week and he said they'll all be the same, throughout. It's primarily the site decorative graphics and main navigation buttons. No different H tags for differeent sections, either it seems. It's all Cold Fusion templates on that one, except for the static HTML pages that will be added.

But I'm looking further than just that, I'd like to start making better use of the alt tags and give them more attention, even on more traditional type of sites.

12:16 am on Oct 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I see......in any case, I tend to use ALT tags that are anywhere from 3 words to 10 words. I think that the ALT tags should be descriptive, but also include the keywords that you are targeting.

I always try to keep in my mind the human reviewers that may or may not be looking through and seeing the ALT tags that I have put into place. Are they going to be mad that I have 15 words in 1 ALT tag?.....Probably. Are too many keywords in the ALT tags going to trigger an alarm....Probably.

This being said, I think that although ALT tags are not the most important thing on anyone's To Do list, they should be done with a certain level of care.

They can help, not only in SEO, but from a design and usability stand-point.

3:24 am on Oct 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Marcia,

In addition to the alt="", you can use either longdesc="" or a description link.
Both provide references to text alternate pages which would describe the image in detail, but the former isn't supported by all browsers. The latter places a "d" next to the image with a link to the description.

See
[w3.org...]