How a Properly “Alt” Tagged Website can Impact SEO

Would you like for your photo to hit the search engines with a higher rank? One way to help your search engine optimization (SEO) is by properly tagging each photo with an “alt” tag, which stands for alternative tag. When Google, Yahoo, Bing, or your personal favorite search engine craws the web for photos, it is unable to fully depict the theme of the photo without an “alt” tag. By including the “alt” tag, the search engine is able to clearly depict what the image is.

Adding a simple “alt” description is a simple task to do. First, take your original image code, <img src=”filename.jpg”/>. Next, add alt following your file name inside the <>, giving you <img src=”filename.jpg” alt=”description”/>. By completing this easy task, you should begin to see your photos rank high on search engines image search.

Google describes the importance of the “alt” attribute as:

It provides Google with useful information about the subject matter of the image. We use this information to help determine the best image to return for a user’s query.

Many people-for example, users with visual impairments, or people using screen readers or who have low-bandwidth connections—may not be able to see images on web pages. Descriptive alt text provides these users with important information.

Not so good:

<img src="https://corephp-corephp.netdna-ssl.com/puppy.jpg" alt=""/>

Better:

<img src="https://corephp-corephp.netdna-ssl.com/puppy.jpg" alt="puppy"/>

Best:

<img src="https://corephp-corephp.netdna-ssl.com/puppy.jpg" alt="Dalmatian puppy playing fetch">

To be avoided:

<img src="https://corephp-corephp.netdna-ssl.com/puppy.jpg" alt="puppy dog baby
dog pup pups puppies doggies pups litter puppies dog retriever
labrador wolfhound setter pointer puppy jack russell terrier
puppies dog food cheap dogfood puppy food"/>

Filling alt attributes with keywords (“keyword stuffing”) results in a negative user experience, and may cause your site to be perceived as spam. Instead, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context. We recommend testing your content by using a text-only browser such as Lynx.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, created a video in 2007, regarding adding “alt” tags, and his explanation for why one should complete the task is still relevant.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NbuDpB_BTc[/youtube]

Best,
Vince Baker
‘corePHP’ Contributing Writer

The Core Team
Editorial Staff Members at 'corePHP'
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7 thoughts on “How a Properly “Alt” Tagged Website can Impact SEO

  1. Yolanda Feliciano (J&Y Solutions-Small Business SEO Services)

    Hi Vince,

    Glad I came across your post. It’s funny how many people I come across that feel that using ALT tags do not do anything to boost their SEO. With recent Google algorithm changes, some clients of mine seem to think that only Social Media, and only backlinks are the most important. It may be true, but on-page SEO is still as important as off-page. I’ll definitely share this post with non-believers. Thanks Vince!

  2. Gopalram

    Alt tags are the best kept secret in SEO! It is too bad that so many people don’t know about this simple but effective way to bolster their rankings.

  3. Δημιουργία ιστοσελίδας

    Hi

    You are right when you write “Filling alt attributes with keywords (“keyword stuffing”) results in a negative user experience, and may cause your site to be perceived as spam. Instead, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.” but many seo tools suggest to use keywords at images on my site.
    For example you can find this advice here
    http://www.vizioninteractive.com/blog/search-engine-optimization-tip-8-keywords-in-alt-tags/

    Can you clarify this point?

    Pls forgive my terrible english

  4. Charles

    I’m often asked what the difference is between alt and title tags, which I think would be a worthwhile addition to this post. I normally explain it thusly…

    alt is only valid for images — it’s alternate text that serves for screen readers and people with images turned off to understand what an image represents.

    title applies to most (if not all) elements, and can be used to provide tooltips for more information about parts of your pages.

    That said I normally advise clients to focus on alt tags with title elements way down the list of priorities.

    Cheers

    Charles

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