Why Are Image Alt Tags Important?

You need to tell a crawl bot exactly what an image is, and that’s why we have alt tags. This article will break it down in detail.

So lets break it down a little bit more. Maybe you’re because you don’t know what an alt tag is in the first place.

What is an alt tag?

An alt tag is a HTML img attribute. If you want to add an image to your HTML markup, usually you would do so by adding an img tag with the src attribute to locate the address of the image. Like so:

<html>
 <body>
  <img src="https://example.com/image-address.jpg"/>
 </body>
</html>

The alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image, if the image cannot be displayed. The alt attribute provides alternative information for an image if a user for some reason cannot view it (because of slow connection, an error in the src attribute, or if the user uses a screen reader). It is written like so:

<html>
 <body>
  <img src="https://example.com/image-address.jpg" alt="Example Image"/>
 </body>
</html>

Why do you need alt tags for SEO?

So the main reason you need attach an alt tag to your images (for SEO purposes) is for crawl bots. Although Googlebot and others internet crawlers are becoming more sophisticated with AI and image recognition, they’re still primarily text based. Crawl bots were originally built to crawl the markup of a site (so that they knew what was on that site), and they did that by analyzing the markup, which is all written in text.

How should you write your alt tags?

The thing about image alt tags is that they serve a couple of purposes now, so they should be written a very specific way. It can also help pass some link juice if you name the image a specific way on upload so that the URL created reflects the image too.

What we mean by this is that you should write your alt tags in such a way that serves the original purpose of showing to a user what the image is if it doesn’t load; but all the while you should be writing your alt tags so that they reflect the key phrases you want to rank for. You should then also name the image along those lines on upload so that the address of the image read contains that information.

Example: How to upload your images and write your alt tags for SEO

Say you have an image of a t shirt, and that image is on a page that you want to rank for the query “discount fashion t-shirt”. Lastly, lets say your website name is “SEO Clothing”. You might want to have the markup written something like this.

<html>
 <body
  <img src="https://seoclothing.com/images/discount-fashion-t-shirt.jpg" alt="Discount Fashion T Shirt - SEO Clothing"/>
 </body>
</html>

If your site is built on WordPress, all you would need to do to follow this example is name the image Discount Fashion T-Shirt.jpg and write Discount Fashion T-Shirt – SEO Clothing in the alt text field.

If you have any more questions about image alt tags or SEO feel free to contact us.