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Seo Alt Tags For E-Commerce Websites.


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Nabeel

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 07:09 PM

I am new to SEO and still in the learning process, this question might be very easy to answer to some of it. 

I am currently working on an eCommerce website; the website is built in Magneto. The website has tons of products and the variation of each product. For each variation, we have different images. I am using canonical URLs on the variation product to refer to the main product so Google doesn't have to index the variation of products.

My question is this: do we need the ALT tag for every single image for variation of products or since we are using canonical URLs, I don’t need ALT tags for variation of product.  

AND

What is the guide-line for using the ALT tags on products for e-commerce web sites? I mean e-commerce websites have tons of products and variation of products, how do they go about using ALT tags. 

 

I am looking forward to hear people's opinion. 

 

Thanks. 



#2 chrishirst

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 08:46 AM

There is NO such thing as alt 'tags' They are alt attributes and they are NOT intended for the purpose of stuffing 'key' words in.

 

The alt attribute text should describe the image it is an attribute of, no more ... no less.



#3 torka

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 10:53 AM

Sorry, you happen to have hit on one of Chris's pet peeves with that "alt tag" versus "alt attribute" thing. :)

 

I also manage a couple of ecommerce sites. The way I use the alt attributes is as Chris says: to describe the image, when a description would prove useful to those browsing without the ability to see the image itself. I use a blank alt attribute (alt="") when the image is merely a placeholder or decorative item that doesn't carry any meaning within the context of the page.

 

Naturally, if I'm describing an image of a particular product, the alt attribute will contain words related to that product. But the purpose of an alt attribute is to provide that alternative to the image for those who can't (or who choose not to) view the actual image. Fortunately, when you write an alt attribute with that in mind, you will naturally also likely be including exactly the sort of stuff that Google is looking for.

 

And even if you don't get it "right" (whatever that means), fortunately the alt attributes are at best a minor indicator, so it likely won't make a perceptible difference anyway. :)

 

--Torka :oldfogey:



#4 Nabeel

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 12:43 PM

Thanks for your great input. Next time, Ill remember its not 'ALT Tag' rather 'ALT ATTRIBUTES'. Upon my research, I did find out that alt attributes are not for keywords stuffing. Here is an example of why I am so confused for alt attributes. 

Lets say on e-commerce site, I am selling furniture. I have three red chair images, same images but different angles. I cant be naming it 'Red Chair Facing Front' OR 'Red Chair Facing Side Ways' vice-versa. What should I do in this situation and I don't want it to be repetitive?

Also, I use canonical URLs for bunch of products. Since Google isn't really "considering" those pages, do I need to have ALT attributes for the images associated with those pages.

 

Thanks,  



#5 chrishirst

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 06:32 PM

 

 

I cant be naming it 'Red Chair Facing Front' OR 'Red Chair Facing Side Ways' vice-versa. 

 

Of course you can, it simply takes a little thought, "Facing Sideways" is somewhat nonsensical so take the terminology from draughting and use "side elevation" instead, or "Side on view" or "view of red chair from the side"

 

You just write it as you would say it, after all, you ARE simply describing the picture for people who cannot actually see what it is. Forget totally about SEO, you are talking to people, real people who have to use a device that reads the page and talks to them, so YOU are directly talking to them, in an artificial voice maybe, .... ... But they ARE your words.


Edited by chrishirst, 07 February 2015 - 08:04 AM.


#6 Mikl

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 04:13 AM

I wonder if it would be sufficient to use the phrase "Picture of the product described on this page" in every case? After all, the person who does not see the picture still has access to all the text on the page, and therefore will know what the product is. It's not as if the Alt attribute is going to give you any more information than you already have.

 

Just a thought.

 

Mike



#7 Jill

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:18 AM

 I cant be naming it 'Red Chair Facing Front' OR 'Red Chair Facing Side Ways' vice-versa.

 

 

Why can't you? 



#8 torka

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 10:12 AM

Mikl, if the image isn't imparting any additional information, that's when I would use a blank alt attribute (alt=""). Since text-to-speech browsers will read aloud the contents of the alt attribute, hearing "picture of the product on this page" would be potentially annoying and (as you say) wouldn't impart any additional useful information. But if you leave out the alt attribute entirely, some browsers will read aloud the filename of the image, which could be equally irritating. So if you don't think a description of the image would add anything useful when read aloud, your best bet is a blank alt attribute, IMO.

 

My :02:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:



#9 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 03:19 PM

I actually tried using "picture of [blah blah]" on every image of a Website with a lot of images a few years back.  The results were less than fortuitous with respect to search referrals.  Haven't tried it lately.  Treat that as an anecdote shared for thought, not as a guideline or rule to follow.



#10 Mikl

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 07:12 AM

So if you don't think a description of the image would add anything useful when read aloud, your best bet is a blank alt attribute

 

I take your point, Torka. Thanks.

 

Like yourself, I use a blank attribute if the image is just for decoration.

 

Mike



#11 cre8pc

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:51 AM

To apply alt attributes correctly, here is how to do it http://www.w3.org/TR...-TECHS/H37.html

 

As mentioned above, alt attributes are for non-sighted users, which includes search engines.  Search engines are not expected to activate a task or understand the reasons why an image is being used.  People using assistive technology depend on information in ways sighted users do not.

 

Another acceptable alt attribute is one that describes a mood, environment or use of a product.  For example, rather than a product shown to the left, right and backwards, the product can be described as "close up of boot's sole showing the depth of the tread", "dress worn on size 18 model", etc.  

 

Alt attributes are not used for icons, arrows, and supportive elements in image formats.  That's when the empty example mentioned is applied.


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#12 chrishirst

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 05:44 PM

 

 

Alt attributes are not used for icons, arrows, and supportive elements in image formats.  

Actually, if those "supportive element" perform a function such as navigation,  alt text SHOULD be included. Only image elements that are purely decorative should have 'empty' alt attributes.






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