Search engine optimization uses many techniques and actions on a website to get Google to place its URLs in better positions on its results pages. SEO for images is an important part of web positioning as many users search to find images from Google.
The ALT attribute is often ignored when adding images to a web page, online store, or blog because it requires spending time and effort to enter your descriptive text over the image. This error should be avoided since Google bots use the text of the ALT attribute as key information to rank images.
What is the ALT attribute?
The tag or attribute ALT is an attribute of the image tag of the HTML markup language. With this attribute, a descriptive text is added about the subject or content that the image shows.
The name Alt stands for alternative, referring to the “alternative” text that is displayed when the image cannot be loaded for some reason.
At the beginning of the internet, when connections were slow, images usually took a long time to load, even not being shown to the user on many occasions. With the ALT attribute, the text it contained was displayed so that users would know that there is an image in that place, and they could know its content.
Currently, the speed of internet access to display images is not a problem, so the main use of the ALT attribute is focused on informing Google bots and other search engines about the subject of each image.
The ALT attribute is also used as an element that helps improve the accessibility of a website.
Why is it important for SEO?
Using the ALT attribute to optimize a website is very important, mainly for these three reasons:
Tell Google the content of the image
In order to understand the content displayed by an image, Google bots consult the content of the ALT attribute. This information helps them understand the subject of the image and thus be able to correctly classify it in their ranking .
Using an SEO text in the alternative text of the images will achieve better positions in the Google image results pages, reaching many more users.
Let’s look at an example of a search engine optimized ALT tag. If we show the image of an animal running, it is better to use a descriptive alternative text of the image such as alt = “a dog running with a path in the forest” , than to use a simple text such as alt = “dog running” .
Show image information if not load
If for any reason, an image fails to load and is displayed to the user, the ALT text provides the necessary information displayed to separate its content. Although it is best to display the image, the ALT information avoids ruining the user experience, offering descriptive text that allows the user to get an idea of the content of the image.
Facilitates web accessibility
The ALT text is very important metadata for web accessibility as it offers information about the images when the loading of images is disabled in the web browser.
For the visually impaired , alt text is essential for screen readers to interpret image content and convey it to them.
How to see if an image has the ALT attribute?
To know if an image has the ALT attribute, it is necessary to check its HTML code . This code follows the following format:
By checking this code you can see if an image has the ALT attribute. Many times the code appears without the ALT attribute, or with the alternative attribute, but without content (alt = “”).
To be able to see the HTML code of an image, the easiest way is to right click on it and select the Inspect element option in the pop-up window. A window with the HTML code of the page will open in the browser itself, where the image code will be highlighted.
How to add the ALT tag to an image in WordPress
If the WordPress CMS is used to create and manage a web page, it is very easy to add the ALT tag to the images that are used, since it is not necessary to enter HTML code for this.
When an image is added from WordPress, a series of fields such as the image title, the legend, the description, and the ALT attribute itself are accessed. Completing this field when uploading an image WordPress automatically generates the HTML code necessary to add it.
It is a good practice to get used to fill in the ALT field in WordPress with a unique and optimized description for each image, since this will achieve better positioning in Google, helping to increase the visibility of the website.
Differences between ALT attribute and TITLE attribute in images
It is common for many people to confuse or think that these two attributes are the same or have the same function. While the ALT attribute is used to describe the image and without seeing it you can understand what it shows, the TITLE attribute shows a pop-up text when you hover the mouse over the image .
As we saw in a previous example, both attributes can be added simultaneously within the HTML tag.
We have seen how the ALT attribute is very important to get Google to position images in a better position in its ranking. Users regularly search for images on Google, so SEO for images must be included in a good digital marketing strategy to take advantage of this circumstance and thus achieve greater visibility.
Although it may be tempting to repeat the same ALT text for several images on a website (especially in the case of similar images as occurs in eCommerce products), it is advisable to create your description and optimized for the alternative text of each of the images used.