Image alt tags are often over looked on many websites.
First let me explain what an image alternate (alt) tag is before going to its use and purpose.
Originally when the internet started everything on the web was text because connection speeds were limited; as technology improved so did web pages. At that point images started making an appearance on the web pages, but not everyone had the faster speeds. Well, faster speeds for that time which would have been 9.6 Kb/s (9,600 bits per second). Todays speeds average 1,200,000 bits per second or faster, actually my current connection at home is 10,000,000 bits per second, amazing the difference 20 years makes.
Since some web visitors early on had slower connections they would turn off the ability for images to load in their web browser. This is where the alternative tags (alt tags) come into play.
The website owner would add a tag to the web page code for the image to display discriptive text as an alternative to the image, so that if the images were turned off the web page still made sense.
Today some website owners still add alt text not so much for the same reason as an alternate to the image but to compliment the image.
With today’stechnology if you hover over (place your mouse over an object with out clicking) the alt text will be displayed as small text box floating over the image in most web browsers.
Most people just add an image descriptor which there isn’t anything wrong with doing this, but the marketing mistake I want to point out here is that they forget to add keywords to the tag.
Keywords are buzzwords that visitors use in search engines to find your site. What many website owners don’t realize is that search engines read your alt tags too. So in my opinion, the alt tag is forgotten real estate that many marketers forget about.
It doesn’t take an experienced web programmer to add an alt tag to your web page images.
Here is an example of HTML code for a normal image WITHOUT an alt tag.
Now for a sample of HTML code WITH an alt tag inserted.
<img src=http://www.that1domain.com/sampleimage.gif” alt=”This image shows web resources you need”>
Not a lot a difference between the two but by adding the alt tag I added another instance of web resources to my page.
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All the best and much success.
Frank Deardurff – That One Web Guy!