slscart logo

What is the Alt Attribute?

The alt attribute, or alternative attribute or alt text or alt tag, was designed to provide a text description of an image if the image cannot be rendered. In fact, it is part of the HTML coding standard. Its uses are many:

Note that the alt text is a replacement for the image, the title gives a brief description (caption) of the image, and the longdesc file gives a long description of the image. The alt text is not supposed to be a description of the image, it is supposed to be an alternative representation of the meaning of the image.

The search engines gather information about the image through several sources:

ALT attributes can use to add some flavor to navigation images such as "About Us" can have alt text like "learn more about xyz company".

Alternate attributes are for images only. Title attributes in anchor tags can be used in links, however if you are performing SEO best practices, using title attributes in anchor tags is a first signal that you are probably spamming the search engines if not used with extreme caution.

Why? Because the anchor text (the text you wrap the anchor tag around) should suffice to communicate what you're linking to. Title text in anchors is best left to only be used when you're using them as a place anchor on a page, not as a link.

Check your web page with images turned off. See if the descriptions and navigation makes sense.

If you have a better business bureau image you can spruce up the alt attribute like:

alt="We are a Better Business Bureau accredited business. Click here to verify our BBB rating."

Alt Attribute Coding

Alt attribute coding differs between HTML and XHTML

<img src="img.jpg" width="90" height="80" alt="open casement window">

Put no text in the alt attribute for images that have no meaning such as spacers, decorative images, or any page formatting.

<img src="spacer.gif" width="1" height="5" alt="">

Alt Attribute Text

Tips on Writing an alt Attribute

Negative Uses of the Alt Attribute

The alt attribute can be abused and in some cases have a detrimental effect on SEO efforts.


If your image is of a specific product, include both the full product name and the product ID in the alt tag so that it can be more easily found. In general: if a keyphrase could be useful for finding something that is on the image, include it in the alt tag if you can. Also, don’t forget to change the image file name to be something actually describing what’s on it.

slscart and the alt attribute

slscart provides entering alt text for an image in many places

Products - Each large image

Blog gallery image

Embedded pictures, such as on a page. An Image Description prompt is provided which sets the alt attribute.