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Alt tag: Boost Your Images' SEO Performance

It's likely that you are familiar with alternative text, which is also referred to as alt tag or alt text. Alt text is not actually a tag on its own, but rather an attribute of the image tag. However, the term "alt tag" has become prevalent due to misuse of language. Alt text is highly significant for natural referencing, also known as search engine optimization (SEO).

Alt text can have a greater impact on your image's SEO than you might realize. Failing to include alt attributes can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Many SEO professionals incorporate alt text into their practices as a means of optimizing their website's positioning on the web.

Alt tag Boost Your Images SEO Performance
Alt tag Boost Your Images SEO Performance

What does alt text represent?

Alternative text, also known as alt text, is a term used to describe the content and context of an image. Alt text is visible to internet users when the image cannot be displayed, and it is also visible to search engines. Alt text is important for search engines because it allows them to define the subject matter of the image, as they do not have the software to view the images. Additionally, alt text can be used to provide a description of the image for visually impaired individuals who use screen readers to browse the internet.

The importance of the alt attribute

Alt text is an essential element of a webpage and requires careful consideration and planning to ensure its content is meaningful. If images or their titles cannot be displayed on a screen for various reasons, the alternative text will communicate the information to search engines. While images may convey meaning to humans, search engines do not visualize images in the same way and require alt text to determine their subject matter. Therefore, it is crucial that the alt text accurately reflects what is visible in the image. Search engines also consider the consistency between images and content when ranking websites. Alt text provides search engines with the information they need to position the site. Despite technological advancements in artificial intelligence, alt text remains the simplest way to provide faster processing of information.

Good alt text provides semantic content to an image and helps search engines return search results. As a result, good alt text gives search engines more, and better information to rank a website higher. The more thoughtful and helpful the content is described to users, the easier it is for search engine crawlers to understand it.

Alt text is also important for making the internet accessible to people with disabilities. It enables visually impaired individuals to understand the content of images by describing them orally. Additionally, alt text is a feature on social networks, providing visually impaired individuals with the ability to understand image content by reading aloud the text description.

Difference between alt tag and image caption

It is a common mistake to confuse alt text and image title, as they have different purposes, but can complement each other. Alt text serves as a replacement for the image when it cannot be displayed, and is used by search engines for natural SEO referencing. On the other hand, the image title provides additional information to help users better understand the subject matter.

An alt tag for all image types

One can add alternative text to images in various formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Alt tags are compatible with all these formats.

Write effective alt text

Y When it comes to optimizing a web page for search engines, one often overlooked element is the image alt text. Alt text provides a brief description of an image and helps search engines understand the context of the image. When writing alt text for images on a web page, it's important to keep a few points in mind:

Use keywords sparingly in your alt tag

A useful tip for improving your website's SEO is to include one or two relevant keywords when describing an image. However, it's important to be honest and not overdo it, as search engines may penalize you for keyword stuffing. While search engines can't discern the quality of your alt text, your aim should be to accurately and briefly describe the image that requires alt text.

Include text that is part of the image

To ensure accessibility and user-friendliness, it is important to provide a description of any text that is included in an image. However, it is recommended to avoid duplicating information. For instance, if the title of a page already conveys information about a particular event, such as a show, it may not be necessary to include the same information in the image presenting the show poster. Overloading the content with repetitive information can detract from its effectiveness.

Don't add alt text to "decorative" images

Images that are considered "decorative" are those that are added to a webpage for visual appeal or to separate content but do not provide any relevant meaning or context. Therefore, including alt text for these images will not aid in improving a user's understanding of the webpage.

It is best practice to manage decorative images in the website's code rather than treating them as content. However, if it is necessary to upload decorative images as visual elements, there is no need to add alt text. This is because screen readers are designed to ignore them, which is the intended outcome in this case.

Don't forget the logo alt tag

To ensure effective recognition by search engine crawlers for referencing on search engines, it is important to provide relevant details about the logo of a company or association when using it on Internet media. Instead of using a generic description like "company logo," it is recommended to include the specific name of the structure in the description. This will provide more relevant information to the search engine crawlers and increase the chances of effective referencing.

Think about the alt text of your CTA buttons

It's crucial to complete the alt text of your "call to action" buttons, even if you find it uninteresting. You might assume that it's insignificant if the element is just a simple graphic with text indicating the desired action. However, that's not the case!

In situations like these, providing alt text will help people who cannot see the button to better understand the information. For instance, if you have a CTA button requesting information on a service offered by your company, you could use an alt tag like "request for information". Similarly, for a CTA button prompting users to contact the company, an appropriate alt tag could be "contact request".

Never start your alt tag with “Image of…” or “Photo of…”

If you're using a screen reader on a webpage that contains numerous images, it can be frustrating to have to listen to descriptions like "Cinema storefront image," "Box office image," "Door image of the room," and "Image of the armchairs." Alt text, which replaces images with descriptions that can be read aloud by assistive technology, can help prevent this frustration.

It's important to make sure that the alt text is descriptive enough to convey the meaning and context of the image, but also concise enough to avoid unnecessarily burdening the user with too much information. Additionally, it may be helpful to indicate the type of image (such as portrait, illustration, graphic, or screenshot) to provide additional context.

Some examples of relevant alt tags

The article discusses the importance of creating appropriate alternative text (alt text) for images, which is a brief description of the image that can be read by screen readers for people with visual impairments. The author provides examples of both good and incorrect alt text for various images.

In the first example, the image depicts a couple kissing under the Eiffel Tower on a winter morning. The author notes that a good alt text would be "couple kissing under the Eiffel Tower in winter," as it provides a more specific description of the image. However, "a couple" would not be a valid alternative, as it is too vague and does not provide any context.

The second example is an image of a pink flower in a garden illuminated by the sun. The author suggests that a good alt text would be "pink flower in a bucolic garden in the sun," as it provides more specific details about the image. However, simply stating "flower" would not be a valid alternative, as it does not provide enough context for people using screen readers.

The third example is an image of the Pont des Arts in Paris on a rainy day. The author suggests that a good alt text would be "Pont des arts in Paris in the rain," which provides more context about the image. However, "Pont des Arts" alone would not be a valid alternative, as it does not describe the image in enough detail.

The fourth example is an image of an elderly woman's face on a white background. The author notes that a good alt text would be "face of an elderly woman on a white background," as it provides a specific description of the image. However, simply stating "face of a woman" would not be a valid alternative, as it is not specific enough.

Our tips for working on your alt tags

Dispelling Misconceptions About Image SEO

There are some misconceptions about image SEO that need to be addressed. One of them is that leaving the alt attribute empty will not significantly harm your search engine ranking. While it is true that decorative images do not necessarily need to be indexed by search engines, an empty alt attribute is a missed opportunity to improve your image rankings. Moreover, it does not provide a good experience for visually impaired users who rely on alt text to understand the content of an image.

Another misconception is that images with text are better for SEO. In fact, search engines do not recognize the text included in the visual, so it is important to describe the image with 4 or 5 well-selected words that convey its essence. This will not only help your SEO ranking but also make your content more accessible and user-friendly.

Lastly, it is important to avoid keyword stuffing in alt text. Instead, focus on providing a concise and accurate description of the image. By following these guidelines, you can optimize your image SEO and improve the overall user experience of your website.

My name is Duc "JOSEF" Le and I work in Digital Marketing at Mageplaza and BlogAvada. Mageplaza offers a comprehensive collection of over 230 extensions that are designed to work seamlessly with the latest versions of Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce). Meanwhile, BlogAvada is a blog that serves as a platform for sharing information related to websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, digital marketing, and other related topics. I encourage you to visit our websites to learn more about what we have to offer.

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