Google Blogoscoped

Forum

Google Searching Alt-text  (View post)

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, May 5, 2005
15 years ago

I've tried it with a few other pages and this certainly seems to be the case. (I stuggled to find a site with an image that didn't link and still had alt text though!)

Google's cache of the page, however, still says at the top: "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: google 2020" (I'm pretty sure that they just do this when they simply can't highlight the text in the page though – I've seen it done when the phrases are in the title or in a drop down list too.)

Having said all that, I'm not so sure your reasoning (that "if the keyword would have been merely “attached” to the page by someone using this text in a link pointing to it, this wouldn’t have happened") is correct though.

Google doesn't actually search meta descriptions of pages, but it still highlights the text found in the meta descriptions if it contains any keywords or phrases searched on.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

You're right there's no definite proof Google does search alt-text, but as they integrate the alt-text into the text-flow in the snippet, I almost couldn't imagine they're not also searching it. Of course, there's the off chance someone only pointed to the page using the text in question, and that alt-text is ignored but still shown in the snippet – with Google being the black box it is, we never have final proof.

Michel [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Philipp, the post with the "google 2020" image has backlinks including that text as anchor.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Thanks Michel. I still think it won't show up in the snippet just because of backlinks...

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

When I said I tried it with a few other pages, here's an example:

google.co.uk/search?q=%22Prove ...

(Note: the site has no relation to me whatsoever... I've just come across it many times whilst doing ego searches.)

Their home page is (rather poorly) made up entirely of images. The "proven.gif" at the bottom of the page has the alt text "Proven Professionally – Everyday". That text doesn't appear anywhere else on that page either (view the source and see).

So I'm pretty sure they're indexing and searching alt text on non-linking images, which they didn't used to do.

Michel [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

In the same way if you search for "330-253-8148" in google image, you obtain another example.
There is a page that is "hotlinking" with a frame ruscoe's page. I dont know is that could be the reason, or in fact google is searching for alt-text as it seems.

Eugene Alvin [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

You might want to look at Tim Bray's post about this. (tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/20 ...)

He blogged about the fact that none of the image search engines were able to search using the alt and title texts. That is until recently with Google.

Michel [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Now I understand what you were talking about. I was confusing the image search with standar search.

There are a lot of examples that confirms that google now is searching alt text.

Usman [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

is it not possible that Google has used OCR technology to generate meta tags for images?

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

It's possible, but highly unlikely. In Phillip's example, I'm sure any OCR software would struggle to read "Google 2020" from that image!

Taking another example:

google.com/search?q=%22colorfu ...

The phrase "colorful shapes in algorithmic motion" doesn't appear in the image at all, yet it's still indexed by Google.

It's much more likely they're just indexing alt-text...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Or try searching for "Tony Ruscoe" – the second result shows something from this forum:

"Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 9]"

(PersonRank are those little green bars I put next to the name to indicate how often the person posted... and "PersonRank 9" is just appearing in the alt-text.)

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

Forum home

Advertisement

 
Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About
Advertisement

 

This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!