Support » Accessibility » Accessibility vs. SEO

  • Hello,

    I’m hoping someone can help me with an SEO/ADA compliance issue. When researching ADA compliance, I keep reading that images that are purely decorative (icons, etc), you should leave the alt tags blank or use alt=””. This prevents screen readers from wasting users’ time reading meaningless text.

    However, this seems at odds with Google and SEO tools, who all say that every single image should have an alt attribute specified or you’re committing some grave SEO error. So now we are stuck between creating a legitimately good user experience for people with accessibility issues and checking all the boxes to ensure good SEO and SERP placement.

    I’m thinking that maybe specifying alt=”” versus putting no alt tag at all might tell the search engines that it is done intentionally; however, in WordPress there doesn’t seem to be a way to do this.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • I would avoid Google. It seems their algorithm of visitors going to websites is not accurate its’ more like bots. I’m from Europe. All I can tell you that Google and Facebook is getting hammer by governments in different countries.

    Moderator Andrew Nevins

    (@anevins)

    WCLDN 2018 Contributor | Volunteer support

    However, this seems at odds with Google and SEO tools, who all say that every single image should have an alt attribute specified or you’re committing some grave SEO error.

    What are they saying exactly? The detail matters here because:

    * All images must have an ‘alt’ attribute. If an image is missing this attribute then screen readers can read other non-human-readable attributes like the SRC attribute
    * All decorative images should not have alternative text so that assistive technologies can ignore those images

    Those details can both be true without contradicting one another.

    Moderator Andrew Nevins

    (@anevins)

    WCLDN 2018 Contributor | Volunteer support

    For example,

    This is CORRECT markup of a decorative image:

    
    <img alt="" src="..." />
    

    And this is INCORRECT markup of a decorative image:

    
    <img src="..." />
    

    Hi Andrew, I thought that may be the case, but I’m not sure how to make this happen within WordPress since it doesn’t give direct access to the code. Do I enter simple quotation marks in the alt text box in the media library?

    Moderator Andrew Nevins

    (@anevins)

    WCLDN 2018 Contributor | Volunteer support

    Is the alt text box mandatory? If not then you can leave this field blank and it will be rendered as empty alt text:

    
    <img alt="" src="..." />
    

    No, the alt box isn’t mandatory (I’m just using the regular WordPress media library). But if I leave the alt box blank, it does not render like you say it should. Please see the attached screenshot. For the image of the Christmas lights, I’ve left the alt text box blank, and as you can see from the code, alt=”” does not appear at all.

    https://cougardigitalmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-05-29-08_36_00-Personalized-Digital-Christmas-Card-Video-Services-_-Customized-Video.png

    Moderator Andrew Nevins

    (@anevins)

    WCLDN 2018 Contributor | Volunteer support

    This may be a plugin or theme conflict. Please attempt to disable all plugins, and use one of the default (Twenty*) themes. If the problem goes away, enable them one by one to identify the source of your troubles.

    If you can install plugins, install “Health Check”: https://wordpress.org/plugins/health-check/ On the troubleshooting tab, you can click the button to disable all plugins and change the theme for you, while you’re still logged in, without affecting normal visitors to your site.

    This is to narrow down the problem. If it’s a theme or plugin problem, we’ll then be able to forward you to the right people.

    When I deactivate all plugins and change to a Twenty theme, it automatically fills in the alt tag with the file name when I do not specify alt text in WordPress.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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