W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > October to December 2003

Re: Search engine and alt text: [techs] Latest HTML Techniques Draft

From: Doyle Burnett <dburnett@sesa.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 16:12:26 -0900
To: Wendy Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>, Lee Roberts <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>, W3C Web Content <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BBFCF66A.1753%dburnett@sesa.org>

It looks like once you are actually in Google's Image search, alt text is
used in the search.  However, if in Google's default search, alt tags are
not used for search purposes (at least this is what I found).


Doyle Burnett
Education and Training Specialist
Multiple Disabilities Program
Special Education Service Agency

On 12/10/03 11:59 AM, "Wendy A Chisholm" <wendy@w3.org> wrote:

> images.google.com uses the alt-text of the image.
> search for "photo of"
> there are lots of images in the result, but pick one result:
> short uri (of one of the resulting images): http://tinyurl.com/ynm3
> and long uri: 
> http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=www.prairienet.org/upd/artwork/photo%25
> 20of%2520phillips.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.prairienet.org/upd/phillipsrecreati
> oncenter.html&h=245&w=425&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dphoto%2Bof%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den
> %26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26sa%3DG
> The only place that "photo of" appears on this page [1] is in the alt-text
> of the image.
> [1] http://www.prairienet.org/upd/phillipsrecreationcenter.html
> --wendy
> At 10:59 AM 12/3/2003, Lee Roberts wrote:
>> Ok, it's been awhile since I wrote mainly because I'm working with the
>> State of Oklahoma on their accessibility issues and the meetings happen
>> to coincide with our teleconference.  So, please accept my apologies for
>> not making it to the WCAG WG meetings.  I will return as soon as I can.
>> Now, onto this particular issue.
>> ALL search engines that use spiders/robots index using the ALT text.
>> Just because your test fails does not mean that you are correct.  No
>> slighting here intended, but it is obvious to those that work in the
>> field of search engine optimization that you may not be aware that
>> Google has major problems right now.  Any tests you perform on Google
>> currently my not work as it may have a few weeks ago nor as it may a few
>> weeks from now.  Google has lost 100's of thousands of pages from their
>> index as a result of some major issues they are having.
>> Now, let's simply put the issue to bed.  In the webmaster help sections
>> for each search engine they state that you should use ALT text to
>> include additional keywords.  The problem with this broad statement is
>> that many of the unethical and rookie SEO companies spam the search
>> engines through the medium of ALT and TITLE attributes.
>> Of ALL the search engines I optimize for I have yet to find one that
>> uses the TITLE attribute, but all use the ALT attribute.
>> Now, let's go one step further.  Just because a _jaded_ test fails
>> doesn't mean that your test is a good test.  If it is not a word or
>> phrase that is normally searched upon, that word or phrase may not be
>> indexed as of yet.  So, perhaps you can answer this question.  With all
>> the pages in the world available to me to index, why would I waste space
>> with something so minor that the only place you put it is in your ALT
>> attribute?  If I were a search engine, I wouldn't.  If you think the
>> search engines are rolling through billions of pages upon every search
>> entered you're mistaken.  Those searches are cached searches that their
>> system performs every few days.
>> I hope this helps.
>> Sincerely,
>> Lee Roberts
>> On 3 Dec 2003, at 11:35, Tom Croucher wrote:
>>>>>> Question:  Do search engines really  scan alt text given for
>>> images  ?
>>> Search engines and indexing is something I spent some time studying
>>> and as far as I am aware search engines do not use alt text in
>>> indexing in practice any longer.
>> Lets try a simple test
>> <http://www.google.com/search?
>> q=%22%5BFig%5D+Centred+elements+and+text%22>
>> One hit (my site as it was the first one to come to mind with
>> reasonable alt text). The search text doesn't appear anywhere in the
>> document except in the alt text of the image.
>> (and no Google, I didn't - I'm English :D )
>> --
>> David Dorward
>> http://dorward.me.uk/
Received on Wednesday, 10 December 2003 20:13:43 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:46 UTC