The Importance of Alt Tags

Importance of Alt Tags

Say What???

Yes, Alt Tags the little secret to keeping the SEO gremlins of Google happy and when added to your website bonus points are allocated to you, hence the importance of alt tags. Today I want to share with you what I know about Alt Tags and what they do, how you can make killer ones and why they will rock your website.

What is an alt tag?

Alt text (alternative text), also known as “alt tags” which is not technically correct but it is what you will find when you look over to your HTML code. What an “alt tag” does is describe the appearance and function of an image on a page.

Alt text uses:

  1. Alt tags are great for SEO and search engine crawlers to help them index an image properly and the context of that image.
  2. When you hover over an image a small little window will show the “alt tag” you have added to your image.
  3. If your image file doesn’t load it will be replaced by your “alt tag”
  4. It aids visually impaired users using screen readers to be able to read and understand what is on a page.

Code sample:

Above is the image code for the main image of this post. The best format for alt text is sufficiently descriptive of the content around it. A great way to gauge the correct alt text is to close your eyes and someone to read the content that sits around it, while you think of the perfect alt text.

Let’s look at a few examples of alt text for this image of a delicious spring salad.

Crispy Kale Quinoa & Chickpea Salad

 

Okay: <img src=”springsalad.png” alt=”salad”>

This alt text is only “okay” because it’s not very descriptive. Yes, this is an image of a springtime salad. But, there is way more going on here and it can be improved.

Better: <img src=”springsalad.png” alt=”A bowl of crispy kale, quinoa, chickpea salad held out in two hands”>

This alt text is far better because it is descriptive and tells you what is actually in the image. The image is more than just a salad, it has multiple ingredients, it’s held out in someone’s hands, not on a table. Be descriptive to tell people what is in an image.

Not recommended: <img src=”springsalad.png” alt=””>

These alt tags are empty and serve no purpose to the reader in telling them what the image is.

Not recommended: <img src=”springsalad.png” alt=”salad salad in a bowl bowl of salad spring salad side salad chickpea salad quinoa salad kale salad”>

See what I did there?? I pumped it full of keywords (salad) this is called keyword stuffing it really is not recommended and guess what Google doesn’t like it either., Yes you can add your keywords in there once but not over and over again.

The Importance of Alt Tags

Alt tags (alt text) were originally and still now used to describe what is in an image to your page visitors who are unable to see them or understand them. This is great for browsers that block images. It ensures that every visitor to your website can see and understand your content.

Making your website user-friendly is an upside but it also benefits your SEO. Your images are easily crawled by search engines and bookmarked on what the image is. Just remember computers don’t have eyes, so we need to do that for them and correctly use alt tags to tell the crawlers what is in the image. When your images are correctly named it helps your ranking.

How to write good “alt tag”

Simply describe what is in the image or what the image may depict. It’s a clear interpretation of what that image is about for readers who may not understand or be able to see the image clearly – like the search engine crawlers.

Keep it short, precise and true. It’s a great opportunity to add your target keyword in and for search engines to pick it up. It’s good practice to add it into at least one of your images on your page.

And most importantly don’t jam as many keywords as you can in your alt tag, you won’t be totally dismissed by Google but it doesn’t always rank well.

If your images have text in them you must include what the image says in your alt tag. just remember those robot crawler eyes can’t see your image, they only know what it is if you tell them. See, explain it clearly.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the importance of alt tags and how to use it correctly and that you can benefit from doing it well via search engines. 

BONUS: Because I know you will love this – If you are using Pinterest, the alt tag is super important, you can create what you want Pinterest to pick up. So each time you pin your own image to your board, the alt tag is automatically updated to what you have supplied. If you give it a great description ready for Pinterest you will do really well there!!!

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