Firefox Treats Alt Tags as They are Designed to be Treated

by Content Solutions on July 23, 2008

The browser of choice at our office is Mozilla Firefox (here’s why). When we updated to version 3 recently, we’ve been enjoying several updated functions and add-ons which make surfing the internet easier and more efficient.

As we were conducting some search engine optimization processes, we discovered that our alt tags would not pop up when we hovered over an image or link.

Why do we care? Why should you care, for that matter? Well, alt tags are short descriptions of a web graphic or link and are usually previewed by rolling the cursor of your mouse over the top of an image on a website. “Alternative text” appears as a small box containing a brief explanation of the photo you roll over. Web designers use alt tags to make their website more accessible. Alt tags allow adaptive users to be able to “read” rather than view the content of an image or link. In addition to providing an additional avenue for keyword integration, an accessible website ranks better in the search engines.

We quickly learned, however that Firefox that shows alt tags as they are meant to function rather than as a popup. The alt tag description of the picture is stored as an alternate text and is visible only when an image has a problem loading or the user has turned a site’s images off. They are, of course, always “visible” to screen readers.

Some of the Search Engine Optimization gurus are asking themselves, “How do the alt tags participate in the pages ranking if you can not see it?”

Well, Firefox still allows the alternate text on the photo to help raise the page rank in search engines. Even though you cannot necessarily see the alt tag when rolling over the picture, it is still being factored into your search engine optimization and ultimate page rank.

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