Considering how long the image ALT tag has been around, it always surprises me how often it is neglected by web designers. If you want a Jan rant, ask me about web designers who then go on to offer SEO services but can’t get the basic onpage SEO elements in place…
Needless to say, the topic of image ALT tags has come up several times this week, so I thought a blog post would be useful.
Basic OnPage SEO
As a brief overview, onpage SEO is telling the search engines what your website is about. It includes ensuring your website code contains your keyword focus in elements such as:
- Title tags
- Image ALT tags
- Heading tags
- Web copy
The aim is to be both people and search friendly.
What is an image ALT tag?
Image ALT tags have been around for a long time. Their purpose is to describe the image and they are used by screen readers to provide a text equivalent to the graphical element.
ALT descriptions are also shown when an image does not load in regular browsers.
It is standard good practice to include an image ALT description for graphical elements on a page. This has been the case for years, so no excuses!
Where does onpage SEO come into play?
Search engines cannot read images. They’re getting better at face recognition, but rely on you to tell them what your image is about in context with your web page.
Who better to explain more than Mr Google himself, Matt Cutts.
As you can see, image ALT tags and other onpage SEO elements are a part of building your website. You need to give your web designer a clear idea of what each page is about so that they can do their job.
If you are building the website yourself, rename images so the file name is relevant and include the ALT tag on every image.
It’s much easier to do onpage SEO as you build your site than to go back and start adjusting once your website is live.
Over to you, do you use the ALT image tag on your website or blog?Basic OnPage SEO Tips – The Image ALT Tag by Jan Kearney