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how important is the ALT in the images on your website?

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Although you may already know the importance of paying attention to SEO when it comes to positioning and making your website visible in search engines, did you know that the ALT attribute in your images can also contribute to improving it? Beyond the value they add to your content, images can also benefit your positioning. To do this, you must use ALT tags, fragments of alternative text through which the search engine classifies them in its search results. We explain more about it in this post!

what is the ALT tag in images and what is it for?

The ALT tag is an HTML attribute applied to the tag that inserts the images on your website, the HTML img. It allows you to add a brief description of the content of any published image.

It is important to differentiate ALT tags from TITLE attributes. TITLE attributes are text tags that are displayed over the image when you hover over it and add value to its content. In your case, it is not so much a descriptive exercise of the image, but a title .

One of the tasks of this tag is to provide an alternative text description in case, due to any problem or error, the image could not be displayed. Some of the reasons why this might happen are:

  • the use of older browsers, unable to interpret certain image files.

  • a faulty URL of the image source.

  • the deactivation of the image display offered by some browsers to their users.

  • the tracking protection included in several browsers which, when activated, prevents certain images from being displayed.

However, ALT tags are not visible during the conventional use of your website, only by accessing the source code. From the SEO point of view, including alternative texts in the images has great benefits for your positioning, which we will explain in detail below.

In addition to the SEO advantages, another of the utilities of the ALT attribute is to ensure accessibility. Using ALT tags in your images ensures that the content of these images is also accessible to people with visual disabilities. The screen readers that these users usually use when browsing the web tell them the content of the pages they visit. Therefore, by linking a text to the published images, you allow these tools to detect it and also narrate the content of these images.

why is SEO important and how can ALT tags help you?

The first thing is to clarify what SEO is and how it contributes to the positioning of your page. SEO consists of optimising your website to make it more visible among the organic results that appear in search engines such as Google. By improving it through different strategies, you will achieve that your site appears among the first links when a user performs a search related to the content, products or services that you offer on it.

The first options are the ones that most users tend to go for, and they tend to stay onthe first page of search results. So, the higher up your site appears, the more likely they are to click on it and discover your brand. No matter how well you match what you offer to users' needs, if you don't make sure your website has visibility in search engines, they won't know about you. That's why SEO should be a key part of your inbound marketing strategy.

If you manage to increase the traffic that reaches your page, you will also increase your company' s results. This is where SEO comes in, and images are one of the many tools that you have at your disposal to carry out your web optimisation. They are a fundamental part of your site, both in this sense and in terms of the value they add to your content.

Browsers do not view images in the same way that users do, so they use ALT tags to identify your content. Search engines need these attributes to know what is displayed in the image, so by adding alt text to your image, you allow search engines to make use of your description to rank it in their search results.

Another factor that makes the use of these attributes vital is your ranking in visual searches as well. In visual searches, search engines rely on image descriptions to match the user's search. For example, if your business is selling products, people may come to them through image searches.

how to use the ALT tag on your web images?

The proper steps to use ALT tags on your images are as follows:

  1. identify all the elements that appear in the image.

  2. choose an attribute for each of the relevant elements.

  3. be sure to include in the text any words that appear in the image and are crucial to understanding the content.

  4. try to keep the text concise and simple.

  5. keep the length of the description between 4 and 8 words .

Some tips for optimising your images:

  • make sure that your image is not blocked for search engines. For Google, for example, you can make sure by checking the robots.txt file, which tells their crawlers which of your URLs they have access to.

  • give your image a name related to your content.

  • optimise the size of the image- the lighter it is, the better it will adapt to mobile devices .

  • place it well in context. To do this, try to make the description contained in the ALT tag match what is being discussed in the text of the page content. In other words, think about how it integrates into the text .

  • make the ALT attribute related to the subject matter. You can include some keywords from your content .

However, regarding the last recommendation, an important tip when writing the alt text for the image you want to publish is to avoid it being a mere enumeration of keywords. Although keywords are useful for SEO positioning, search engines detect if they are not properly integrated into your content or if their use is abusive, also in the ALT tags. In fact, they can even penalise you for this, considering it a spamming practice.

Also, while including your page's keywords in the description of your images may help you appear in a higher number of searches, inconsistent use of keywords will render the tags useless. The text should be truly descriptive and not an incongruous listing of keywords.

Now that you know the benefits of using ALT tags in the images you post, implement these tools on your website and watch your SEO rankings improve.

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