If you take SEO seriously and do everything to make sure you are optimizing your site’s content, meta descriptions, headers, and sub-headers, are you missing out on another source of organic traffic?
If you aren’t using alt image tags, then yes you are. Do a quick Google search for “newsletter design”. You will see the following image:
Notice all the images that are brought up for that search. If they did not include alt image tags, they would not appear in search results.
This is proof positive that if you want to boost your rankings, you must tag your images so that search engines can read them.
An SEO audit can reveal which images on a site do not have alt image tags.
What Is an Alt Image Tag?
When search engines like Google or Bing crawl your website, they cannot see images as they are presented to human users. Adding an alt image tag provides text that the search engines can read.
This text gets indexed and can enable your images to be found for additional searches. This can increase the traffic to your website.
Some users may have images turned off to preserve bandwidth. Others may have accessibility issues and may be using a screen reader. It is for this reason that all image tags are legally required for some sites.
Additionally, there are times when image files don’t load, such as when an Internet connection is weak. If the image doesn’t load, the alt tag will be visible to the user.
Using alternative tags with your images allows your pictures to be examined by optimization tools, and one of its significant advantages is that you can create the description of your choice.
However, it is important to remember that alt tags tend to work better when the information they contain is specific and concise.
Who Can Benefit From Alt Image Tags?
Everyone who has a website needs to use alt image tags. Websites that are image heavy, such as e-commerce sites, stand to benefit the most from descriptive alt image tags.
For example, if your site sells sneakers, rather than using a tag “sneakers”, use “slip-on red and white checkerboard sneakers”.
Web platforms such as WordPress make adding alt tags extremely easy. These platforms have a field for you to add descriptive text for an alt tag and then creates the HTML code on the back-end, making optimizing your pages a simple task.
For example, if you want to optimize a blog post about a current product and need to add photos, you can use alt tags to describe what is in the photo.
Adding these text tags can boost your page rankings and draw additional viewers to your site.
Which Images Need Alt Tags?
Any photo you add to your site needs an alt image tag. Not only does it help the search engines to find your content, but it helps those who are visually impaired to understand what is being shown in the images.
They often use screen readers that can “see” an alt attribute to get a better understanding of on-page images.
Using alt images can also be helpful for users who might have limited access to Wi-Fi when they are on mobile and are experiencing bandwidth restrictions.
Even if they cannot see the image or it loads slowly, your visitors will at least have a description of the missing image.
What Are the Best Practices for Using Alt Image Tags?
While using alt tags to optimize your website’s photos can help boost your rankings, it is essential to follow a few best practices for using them.
- Be as specific as possible
- Use your keywords where appropriate
- Don’t forget about your call-to-action buttons such as “sign up” and “apply now”
- Make sure to place images near relevant text and on pages that are relevant to the image subject matter
- Avoid keyword stuffing within your tags as it might cause your site to be seen as spam
- Don’t use more than 125 characters
- Make use of long description tags for more complex images
This can help to improve overall optimization and prevent search engines from missing vital information that might affect rankings.
Whether you maintain your website for business or pleasure, on-page search engine optimization can have a great deal of impact on its search engine rankings.
Using alt image tags that allow crawler software to read and recognize them may bring increased traffic to your site and give you increased exposure.