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I am currently working on an ecommerce website; the website is built in Magento. The website has tons of configurable products with associated simple products. For each simple product, we have different images. We are using canonical URLs on the simple product to refer to the main product (configurable product) so that Google doesn't have to index the simple products individually.

My question is this: do we need the ALT tag for every single image for simple products, or since we are using canonical URLs, do we not need ALT tags for simple product.

Thanks.

  • Do you really only care about SEO in this aspect? – unor Feb 6 '15 at 17:51
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From my perspective (the way I interpret your question, rather), your ALT tag and your canonical may or may not matter.

If you are having your associated simple products indexed by google, that suggests their visibility is set to catalog or catalog/search. I would vote the alt tag being unimportant since you are already telling google "don't pay attention to this page" with your canonical.

If your simple products are not visible, then they will not be indexable by google, in which case the canonical and alt tag are pointless.

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If I understood you correctly, you have configurable products and also simple products listed (because you add canonical url's on simple products). In first place alt tag is used for accessibility - invisible descriptions of images which are read aloud to blind users, so from this point of view use alt tag on all images. For SEO it is also better, but not critical - canoncal url serves more like your preference for google, it is not some rule followed blindly.

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Alt tags are only needed on the configurable products, along with images, they are also only needed at the configurable level. Google looks for ALT tags as an explanation of what that image is about. TIP: Google also reads the file name of the image and not just the ALT. So make sure they match in keyword phrase used.

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