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I'd like to insert an image on a webpage with an alt property. But the text length I'd like to use for this alt property is pretty long: about 200 words (slightly less than 1000 characters). Moreover this text has some line breaks.

I have some doubts that such a long alt property won't be appreciated by search engines. So do I need to follow some guidelines regarding the length of an alt property?

I have the same question regarding the title property.

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"title attribute" or "title element"? They are two different things. –  w3d Feb 1 at 14:54
    
@w3d initially I asked about title 'property' (i.e. <img href="image.jpg" title="image title goes here">). But @dan twice edited 'property' to 'attribute and then to 'element'. And now I'm not sure which term is correct in this way. –  Roman Matveev Feb 1 at 15:05
    
The title attribute is what can appear inside the img element (or tag). The title element, on the other hand, is the main title of your page that goes in the head section. (You seem to have answered this in comments below.) –  w3d Feb 1 at 15:11
    
@RomanMatveev I updated my answer for both, since title property could refer to either. –  dan Feb 1 at 15:37
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@RomanMatveev: src, href, etc. (data within a tag) are HTML attributes. –  w3d Feb 3 at 9:12
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

So do I need to follow some guidelines regarding the length of an alt property?

There is no set maximum length for the value of alt tags, however, most advise for the benefit of sight impaired users to keep it under 125 characters - see this and this.

I have the same question regarding the title property.

In regards to title attributes, like with the alt text, there is no set maximum length. However, since this is used for tooltip text for an element, usability for the visually impaired should also be considered as the W3 covers here, suggesting that the 125 character size would similar apply. You may also find through browser compatibility testing, that the tooltip will get cutoff after a certain length, varying by browser.

Since title property might also refer to title element, search engines like Google will truncate your title element, or even compose their own based on your content, if it's too long. As suggested here by MOZ, the goal should be to keep it to under 70 characters or less:

Title Tag: Best Practices for Length

Aim for title tags containing fewer than 70 characters. This is the limit Google displays in search results. Title tags longer than 70 characters may be truncated in the results, or search engines may choose to display different text from the document in place of the title tag. Recent experiments have shown that the number of characters displayed in the search results may also vary based on—among other things—the width in pixels of each letter. 70 characters is still a good general guideline for length, though.

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Thanks, @dan! Even more information than I could expect! –  Roman Matveev Jan 31 at 18:47
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Does the OP really mean "title element/tag"? Or title attribute? Since the OP is discussing images and mentions "attribute" in the question title, I think "element" might be in error? –  w3d Feb 1 at 15:00
    
@w3d you're right! I'm talking about title attribute (nitailly I called one as 'property') –  Roman Matveev Feb 1 at 15:07
    
@w3d If you check the edits, the OP originally asked about the property for both the alt and title. I changed both to attribute since those are commonly interchanged and HTML elements can have attributes, and then changed it element to be more accurate. I'll expand the answer for title attribute as well since that was unclear. –  dan Feb 1 at 15:15
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"changed it element to be more accurate"? - But changing it to element would seem to have completely changed the question. –  w3d Feb 1 at 15:32
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The alt attribute's SEO value is minimal to begin with. You can also be sure that, like page titles, anchor text, etc, at some point search engines stop reading that content and/or devalue it.

Alt attributes are supposed to be short and descriptive so it sounds like you are misusing that attribute. You probably should be using the longdesc attribute instead which allows for more verbose content.

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Is that correct that alt attr is NOT very important for SEO purposes? I supposed otherwise before... Is longdesc taking into account by SE's? –  Roman Matveev Jan 31 at 17:36
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Alt is extremely important ;) great for accessibility and seo. –  bybe Jan 31 at 18:32
    
Would you say it is extremely important for SEO? I don' think that is the case. –  John Conde Jan 31 at 19:37
    
Note that the longdesc attribute takes a URL, rather than direct textual content, like the alt attribute. But do any browsers (or search engines) actually support the longdesc attribute? –  w3d Feb 1 at 16:30
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