With the rise of visuals in social media, it’s becoming more and more important for brands to make sure their images are optimized for SEO. Unfortunately, one of the most commonly overlooked SEO tactics is the usage of the alt attribute. Ignoring this feature can result in a huge lost opportunity for better rankings – especially in today’s visual era.
For those unfamiliar with what an alt attribute is, it’s an attribute of an image tag that is meant to be an alternative for non-visual browsers when they encounter images. This means, that the text is meant to be used when the image is not visible on the page. Instead, what is displayed (or read) is the alternative text. One reason images may not be visible are because some people turn them off when searching the web to speed up downloading.
4 benefits of using Alt attributes are:
- If an image is broken, the alt text image tag will be displayed in place of the broken image symbol.
- Search engines gain a better understanding of what your website is about with the keywords in your alt attribute. Remember, search engines cannot “see” images.
- The images from your website are also more likely to show up if someone does an image search for your selected keywords. This will result in more traffic to your site.
- If a visually impaired person is using a special browser that reads text on websites, it will read these alternate image tags.
For those of you using WordPress, you can add the alt text when uploading or linking to any of your images using the “Add media” function. For example, check out the alt attribute I added to the blog article I posted last week titled, “Twitter Rolls Out WIth A Sleek New Cover Photo“.
One week later, I did a Google image search for, “Twitter Cover Photo”, and my image popped up on first page above the fold. It’s a beautiful thing when the fruit of your labor actually pays off. Hopefully this example proves that I’m not blowin’ smoke here — it actually works!
For those of you who don’t have WordPress, you’ll find that a lot of other blogging platforms also have the alt attribute built right into their interface — so don’t worry.
Don’t lose sight of this great SEO opportunity for your website. You’ll be surprised at how much extra traffic you can gain by simply optimizing your images. The best part, it’ so simple to do. You don’t need to be an SEO expert or web developer to perform alt tag implementation. Life is good.