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On the website I am working on I have a few hundred product pages. Some of the products look identical and I am positive we now have the same images with different alt tags and different source files. For example we have

<img src="/Images/Product1.jpg" alt="Product 1" /> 
<img src="/Images/Product2.jpg" alt="Product 2" /> 
<img src="/Images/Product1.jpg" alt="1 Product" />

In this example Product1.jpg and Product2.jpg would have the same image in them.

Is there any real issue with this as far as SEO goes, is it pretty minor, or is something I should be concerned with fixing?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

If the context of the images is different – one image is surrounded by a paragraph discussing x while the same image used a second time is surrounded by a paragraph discussing y – my understanding is that the image will be indexed twice, and returned in results for queries on either of the subjects in the context of x or y.

Also, you could always post this as a question for Google's Matt Cutts.

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I think it's pretty minor. I am guessing that Google aggregates the various alt and title attributes in some way.

If you want to provide real clarity to the search engines, check out my answer in "How do I get Images for my site to Return in Google Searches?"

In short, add an Image SiteMap.

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