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What’s the best way to use ALT Tags on a web site?

I usually use a dozen or more photos for EACH neighborhood, and want to include neighborhood name in each Alt Tag:

For Instance: Berkeley 4th St “what it is”

Berkeley 4th St Spenger’s

Berkeley 4th St Peets Coffee

Berkeley 4th St Amtrak Station

Will the repetition of “Berkeley 4th St.. ” in the beginning (or end) of the Alt Tag be considered keyword spamming if EACH of the 12 photos on that web page has an Alt Tag starting (or ending) with the same expression?


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    12 Comments so far

    1. Benjamin Ficker May 20th, 2009 1:13 pm

      Good question. Also, does it make a difference if you said Peets Coffee Berkeley 4th st?

    2. dave g May 20th, 2009 1:19 pm
    3. Eric Bramlett May 20th, 2009 1:49 pm

      It looks a little spammy, but you won’t get a penalty. The alt tag is for the visually impaired. Just be accurately descriptive.

    4. Eric Blackwell May 20th, 2009 1:54 pm

      Hi Ira;

      What Bramlett said…with emphasis on his last sentence. ;-) Seriously.

      My personal policy is if you have to ask if it looks spammy…it most often is. No need to do that.



    5. Joe Loomer May 20th, 2009 2:02 pm

      This is where my 45 years catch up with – just found out what the heck an alt tag is and now I learn I may be spamming with it!

      Just kidding – great post and gave me some quick ideas to change things up!

      Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    6. Ira Serkes May 20th, 2009 2:18 pm

      It’s actually the Alt Attribute of the IMG tag (I sit corrected)


      Benjamin Wrote:
      “Good question. Also, does it make a difference if you said Peets Coffee Berkeley 4th st?”

      Ira Sez:
      A most excellent question, and I’ve both asked, and answered it myself”

      I googled “berkeley 4th street” and “berkeley fourth street”

      Half of the “berkeley 4th street” results had it spelled as fourth street

      Most, if not all, of the “berkeley fourth street” results had it spelled as fourth street.

      Got the book “Always Be Testing” after a Bloodhound recommended it, so starting to internalize the information

      If my google results eyeball test shows that about 75% of the results are described as “fourth street” I will be labelling/attributing photos the same way instead of 4th Street.


      Eric Wrote:
      “My personal policy is if you have to ask if it looks spammy…it most often is. No need to do that.”

      Ira Sez:
      Sort of – I want the photo to be identified with the neighborhood it’s in. And I take 12-24 photos of each neighborhood… so the intent is for people to be able to find out what’s in the ‘hood.

      Yes.. the inspiration was SEO, but I also don’t want to screw up my very good google site placement.

    7. Eric Bramlett May 20th, 2009 3:47 pm

      If the goal is to rank the page the photos sit on, the alt tag isn’t going to do a whole lot for you. The page will rank if it has at least one instance of the phrase on page, and enough links pointing to it.

      If the goal is to rank highly in Google’s image results, then tag each photo with whichever phrase you’d like to rank. My only question is…what will high rankings in the image results do for you? Make your photos easier for competitors to find and steal?

    8. Kevin Sandridge May 20th, 2009 4:57 pm

      I follow EB’s ALT Tag advice. Though, he makes a good point about the Google image ranking. I guess I always thought the spiders picked up on the ALT tag text and helped with SERPS rank.

    9. Ira Serkes May 20th, 2009 5:12 pm

      Considering that I resize and watermark all the photos I put on my web site, not so sure I’d mind having other people “taking” my photos.

      Sample photo – note the naming convention I’m playing with.. straight out of Bloodhound Unleashed Phoenix 2009


    10. Eric Bramlett May 21st, 2009 3:58 pm

      Considering that I resize and watermark all the photos I put on my web site,

      Definitely a best practice.

    11. James Boyer May 22nd, 2009 5:28 am

      Interesting conversation. Though I do tag my photos, as of yet I had not been watermarking them. Going to have to start that as well, since I have seen a few of my pictures on other sites.

    12. Joe May 22nd, 2009 6:58 am

      I think your alt tags are a little spammy Ira. Emphasis on ‘little.’ Also, I wouldn’t put too much stock in worrying about images being stolen. Image searches are an excellent example in the practice of serendipitous marketing.

      We are active in many communities and Squidoo is one of them. Squidoo is an excellent learning place for discovering news ways to drive traffic to a web page on the internet. Affiliate marketers have the corner on traffic tips. We have a Squidoo lens on the non profit organization Save The Children. If you do an image search for "Save The Children" or "Save The Children Logo" our image on our Squidoo lens usually comes up #1 (or close) and has driven thousands of visitors to our Squidoo lens on Save The Children. As a result, the lens is one of our most profitable lenses. Btw, the "Save The Children" image search returns over 34 millions results!

      If your image is properly tagged for image searches, you’ll certainly have a few thefts along the way, but certainly worth it if someone looking for an image just so happens to need a home! Serendipitous marketing at it’s best!