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So you guys tell people all the time to add alt tags to their images, and that it provides text for when the user holds the cursor over that image (only in some browsers though).

It's also useful for text-only browsers like lynx, and I think the Google image bot probably uses the alt tags.

Is that the reason you recommend alt tags, or is there any other reason?

Because I have about 1500 photographic images on my site (without alt tags) and don't care much about them being in Google image search, so I don't think I'm going to bother with alt tags.

But I just wanted to check with the board to see if there is any other reason to use them.




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Hi John,

The alt tags are not for the little popup messages as Borfast describes in his post that he linked to. They are, however, used for filling in the blanks if someone is browsing with images turned off, if there's something wrong with your image or if it is a text-only browser which includes voice readers for the blind.


Usually when we suggest using alt tags in relation to search engines it is to improve page relevance. For instance, a page about widgets will only be able to mention widgets so much in text without overdoing it. A good thing to do is to make your alt tags say your key words, for instance, "Our top of the line Blue Widget". Then the search engines see that and say, "Wow, this page is really about widgets. I should put them higher than other widget sites for someone looking for widgets." If your images are things that aren't related to a topic you want people searching for then don't worry about the alt tags. I would put a statement at the top or bottom of the page that says what it is in case someone stumbles on it and can't see the images, but beyond that it's no biggie.


If, however, you have a topic your pictures are related to that you want someone to find on a web search, the alts can help someone find you.

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