What Are Image Alt Tags & Why Are They Important?

by | Feb 14, 2019

Optimising your website’s content, meta tags, descriptions, headers, and sub-headers is an important part of ensuring its success with both search engines and users. But aside from making your content better, you should also optimise your images. One of the steps to do this is by adding good ALT tags. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, ALT tags, also known as ALT attributes, are a type of metadata that you apply to images. They are used to describe the image or what it represents. The text can take the place of a webpage’s image in case it fails to load. ALT tags are especially useful to people who are unable to see images and are using screen reading apps to tell them what the image is about. It allows them to be less confused about the contents of the webpage. Your SEO efforts also benefit greatly from image ALT tags, since they help search engine crawlers in reading and indexing your web pages properly. For those with e-commerce websites, adding ALT tags on your product photos will be a great help in increasing its visibility on the search engines and making more potential customers see it. When written well, ALT tags can help your webpages gain better visibility in the search results.  

Useful ALT Tag Writing Tips

Make Them Descriptive

The text needs to describe the image and be relevant. They should be detailed enough to let your users (especially those who are visually impaired) know what is going on in the image. It would be a good idea to reread your tags and check if you are able to understand your descriptions without being able to see the images.  

Keep Them Short

Although your ALT text should be descriptive, they must also be kept brief and straight to the point. Avoid writing sentences – instead, use phrases when writing the tags. Keep it at around 125 characters including the spaces. This limit is enough to provide the needed information for users and search engines without being too elaborate.  

Use Your Keywords

ALT tags offer you an excellent opportunity to put the keywords you use on your website. Aside from inputting the relevant descriptions on the tags, adding relevant search terms will improve your search engine optimisation. But as it is with written content, you should avoid keyword stuffing – don’t just cram all the related keywords that you can think of into a single tag. An example of keyword stuffing would be to have an image of a woman wearing a pink dress (“pink dress” being the term here) and the tag appearing like this: Alt = pink dress, pink casual dress, pink dress for ladies, womens pink dress, pink dress for women, pink dress for girls, pink dress for females, female casual pink dress, short light pink dress A good alt tag would look something like this: Alt = A tall blonde woman wearing a short pink dress If you have several images that are similar to each other, avoid using the same tags and keywords. Each tag should be unique to the images you have assigned them to.  

Don’t Focus On Writing Tags for SEO

A common mistake made by many is that they put all their focus on optimising for the search engine, not the user. Image tags end up looking too artificial, as if written by a robot. Instead, it’s a good idea to write your image ALT tags with your website users in mind. Create them so that they appear natural when you read them out loud. Don’t risk making your tags look like spam; search engines like Google won’t look favourably on your pages, and your users won’t like it either!  

All Images Should Have ALT Tags

Putting relevant ALT text on your images can go a long way in improving your web pages’ standings on search engine results, so make sure that all your site’s images have their own unique tags. Remember to create them so that your users can easily envision the images through text alone while keeping it clear and concise. The right phrases, no matter how brief, can make a positive impact on your SEO Need more help with your SEO campaign? Get in touch today and let’s have a chat about your online needs.