Alt-Tags: For Spiders and the Visually Impaired

Lots of people underestimate the importance of Alt-Tags. Even though SEO experts time and again stress the importance of Alt-Tags many still do not bother with it at all, or if they use it, do not consistently do so. To be honest, I belong to the inconsistent group.

Alt-tags ARE very important. SEO-wise the absence of alt-tags will ensure that your images and other embedded media will NOT be indexed by spiders since they will be unable to determine the actual content of each embedded element.

Being a parent of a child with special needs though, I am very sensitive about discrimination towards people with disabilities. To my shame I have have to admit that I have always been focused on the SEO perks of Alt-Tags and neglected to give importance to what it meant for those that are visually impaired until I read about the class-action suit against Target. To be fair to Target though more than a third of websites are inaccessible to blind users. Not that it makes it right but only that I do pity Target in a way since they have to bear the brunt of the negative consequences due to the neglect of webmasters all over the world. If I were them though I would fire my web designers/SEO consultants. They should have followed W3C Guidelines!

“Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via “alt”, “longdesc”, or in element content). This includes: images, graphical representations of text (including symbols), image map regions, animations (e.g., animated GIFs), applets and programmatic objects, ascii art, frames, scripts, images used as list bullets, spacers, graphical buttons, sounds (played with or without user interaction), stand-alone audio files, audio tracks of video, and video.”

This is a reminder to ALL OF US especially here at Blog-Tutorials. Let’s make sure our beloved blog is optimized and discriminates against no one.

Originally posted on October 5, 2007 @ 12:17 pm