View Full Version : alt attrs vs CSS sprites (SEO vs speed)

03-17-2012, 10:40 PM
i'm reworking our site to reduce HTTP requests and blocking requests by concatenating JS, css, gzipping, loading all JS via LABjs and using CSS sprites for images that were loaded individually via tags before.

progress has been great so far - 5x page load performance improvement. however, we're in the top 5 organic search ranking in google for many targeted keywords and phrases. i'm afraid eliminating so many img tags with alt attributes can hurt our SEO.

does anyone have any experience with alt tag manip/removal and effects on SEO positions? is previous rank "sticky"?


i asked this on StackOverflow as well (no answers yet though)


03-17-2012, 10:47 PM
1. There's no such thing as an alt tag.

2. alt attributes contain alternate text for where people can't see the image so unless the image now serves a different purpose you shouldn't be changing the alt text - assuming that the alt text has been used correctly to provide the equivalent to the image.

3. Previous SEO rank is the least sticky thing in the world.

03-17-2012, 11:19 PM
i realize there is no alt tag - i mis-spoke. though i do call it an attribute in the paragraph later.

i understand what alt attributes are for. as such, they only exist for <img> tags. CSS sprites cannot be implemented with <img> tags (to my knowledge). which leaves me with img+alt (slow and possibly SEO-indexed) or div+css-sprite (fast and non-indexable). css sprites, therefore, remove alt attributes and even if they were to remain and i could somehow implement sprites using img tags, they would lose semantic meaning since a sprite can be (and in my case often is) several images of unrelated things.

we have made significant code and content changes to our site in the past and have never moved past #13 rank in organic google search for 90% of our keywords. is there some authoritative reference you can provide that states prior rank has zero influence on followup indexes?