My photoblogger albums do not seem to contain alt tags. Does photoblogger create these tags automatically from other fields? If so how do I add them to folder and or image thumbnails? Ideally I'd like to read them from the photos metadata.
It seems no alt tags generated in Photoblogger. I will add that in the next release.
It's there actually, but in case there's no comment, the skin can't figure out something to fill in the alt tag. If it provided the file name as replacement it would beat the purpose, that is giving some textual hint about the image for the visually impaired.
But reading them from the metadata would be unusual, and would involve an awful lot of excessive UI options. Most skins use either the file title or the file name, if there's no title. There might be some that preferentially grab the comment, though that often contains far too much text to be of practical use.
Remember, the alt tag exists to provide something on the page in the event the image can't be accessed. It's not intended to be used for things like SEO, and it's not used for tooltips.
...the purpose, that is giving some textual hint about the image for the visually impaired.
Originally, the purpose was solely to deal with missing images or slow connections. Screen readers for the visually impaired came along much later.
But these albums aren't a narration, illustrated with a few images. They're generally just images. I can't imagine a blind person spending much time on them. If the caption reads, "Here's Mary standing in front of the Grand Canyon," having an alt tag that says, "Here's Mary standing in front of the Grand Canyon" doesn't add anything. That information is already on the page, with or without an alt tag.
The alt tags may be used by search engines, but that was never the intent. The HTML standards make no reference to that at all.
IMHO, this seemingly endless obsession with trying to game the search engines is misguided. Pages show up in search results when they have content that a lot of other people like, and to which a lot of other people link. All the code-tinkering in the world won't help a page that no one wants to visit.
But if you want to make sure that information gets picked up, put meaningful file titles on everything. Most skins will use the fileTitle for the alt attribute and the title attribute.
And while it's laborious, changing file names to something meaningful is probably the most effective approach - a search engine will understand My Dog Sparky.jpg much better than DSC_0497.jpg. Just steer clear of punctuation and special characters, which can cause havoc.
I used to advise people to use the meta "description" tag, which was trotted out when search results were displayed. It provided a way to cough up a simple one-line description of what the site is all about. But Google, at least, seems to have stopped using it. Bing is still showing it, at least sometimes (but not always - don't know why).
It was probably being abused by SEO gamers, by loading it up with stuff - that's usually what happens. The SEO-chasers start trying to "play" the system, and the system fights back. That's why keywords became useless.
Even though validators complain about alt tags, the code is perfectly valid without them. It would be harder to make them smart enough to decide when they are needed and when not.
No alt tags are needed for graphics with no textual content, like decorations, icons and such. Empty alt tag supposed to be provided when the image is important, but impossible to provide a text alternative. Also the "generator-unable-to-provide-required-alt" can be used in this case. When the caption is provided through <figcaption> it's also not necessary to use the alt tag.
They say you must provide the alt tag because of the screen readers, but it's not really an important point for web albums.
Regarding SEO I don't think the Alt tags make any difference. The more intelligent the bots are the better they understand the page and the harder to trick them.
Your edit below "Its actually there" suggests that the alt tags are being added by Photoblogger for the thumbnails but I couldn't find ant evidence of this. Here's some sample code from index.html
<ul class="thumbnails clearfix">
<li class="hascaption"><a class="thumb" href="slides/Collet_Top_Arch_and_Collet_Top_Granary_Arch.jpg"><img src="thumbs/Collet_Top_Arch_and_Collet_Top_Granary_Arch.jpg"></a>
<div class="caption"><h4>Collet Top Arch and Collet Top Granary Arch</h4></div>
If you could modify the img tag so that in addition to src it also includes an ALT tag this would help with both SEO and would provide information for the visually impaired. I would suggest the Alt field be taken from the caption.
Thanks for anything you can do.
Edited by: jGromit on 14-Feb-2019 12:23, to use proper code tags
The filename is usually something "IMG_0001.JPG" and visually impaired will not be happy if their screen readers read them all aloud.
The title or comment is most of the time empty. An empty ALT tag is just like there's no ALT tag at all.
The caption which is made up from the title and comment is also empty, but this is also HTML formatted which isn't good for screen readers either.
I used the stripped down caption in Tiger skin (HTML tags removed), and will be the same in the upcoming Photoblogger 2. I think this way I pushed the responsibility on the album creator to provide textual content for each image.