ALT tags

David Kusserow

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ALT tags are information that is stored in image files to describe them. Search engines read these to identify the content of the image.

Definition

The so-called alternative attributes (ALT tag) are short texts that describe the content of the image. Search engines cannot see images and therefore use this alternative text. The crawler of the search engine needs information in the form of letters to capture the image content. The search engine can read this short text and include it in its weighting of the website. In this way, ALT attributes are part of search engine optimization. The more accurate you choose the ALT attributes, the higher Google will rank the authority of your page and position it in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Relevance for SEO

In order to know what is in an image file – this includes graphs or charts – search engines need as precise a description as possible, which makes ALT attributes a part of OnPage optimization. The ALT attributes are always a part of the web page. Not only the search algorithm can’t see the images and therefore needs more information, also the accessibility of the page is improved by the ALT attributes. For a semantic optimization of your page you can specify your subject area in the ALT attributes. The user may not be able to view the images for various reasons. The browser could be outdated, the URL defective, the image display could be deactivated by the user to save mobile data credit. By using appropriate ALT attributes, all information of the page is still fully accessible. In addition, readout programs can recognize the ALT attributes and read them out to visually impaired users, for example.Often the ALT attribute is still confused with the tooltip. Older browsers displayed it as a tooltip on mouse-over – but this is what the title tag is for.

Alt tags

In addition, in the case of incorrectly displayed or not displayed images, the content of the image can be obtained via the ALT description.

How do you write an ALT attribute?

Every image file on the web page gets an ALT attribute. These should describe as precisely as possible what is to be seen on this file. The main task is to provide useful information to the Google crawler, because usually ALT attributes are not displayed to the user. Only the source code of the page or special tools would display the ALT attributes.

The image content should therefore be described precisely with a few terms – in addition to the content of the image, you should also use the main keyword of your page and other appropriate terms for the website for the SEO of your page. This is the only way a search engine can evaluate the images in the right context. The right choice of keywords is also important for ranking in image search. You must not do any keyword stuffing, so that the image is not rated as spam. For graphics with text, you use the text directly as the ALT attribute.

This way, search engines can interpret and evaluate the images correctly and your users will get the information of the image this way.

Conclusion

The ALT attributes are read by search engines, as this is the only way they can capture the content of the image files. Using the information contained here, Google evaluates the Domain Authority of your website and calculates the ranking of the file in Google Image Search.

Your users use the ALT attributes when for various reasons the image cannot be displayed to get all the information of your page in this alternative way and your page gains accessibility.

In order to both allow the search engines to evaluate the file and provide your users with all the information they need, you should describe the file briefly and precisely in the ALT attributes and embed it in the context of your page with the correct keywords.

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