As we know, people are visual thus it is important to include images on our websites. Images show consumers what the product is or gives a description of the products or services. Creating a user friendly website with spaces headings and images will likely keep the consumer on your website longer, which is the idea. Pictures help explain the full story.
Camera to computer
When was the last time you downloaded pictures from your camera to you computer? Typically when you download them, they are given dates or numbers as their name followed by the type of file – like 1234.jpg or 100114.jpg. By looking at those two files, you have no idea what the picture is unless you see it. Think about that when you upload a picture to your computer and you don’t rename your pictures. Search engines won’t have any idea about what that picture is about.
Alt tags, alternative tags” are part of coding on the back end that typically aren’t seen by the end user. They are meant to describe images to people who can’t see in which it is read for them or displays this alternative text, for when the image doesn’t load on a page and shows the alternative text and for search engines to read the picture. Are you seeing where I am going with this? Alt tags are another important tag for search engine optimization.
Side note: Depending on the browser you are using, sometimes an alt tag can show when hovering over the picture like a screen tip. This hover/screen tip is more commonly seen as a title tag within the image code, not to be confused with the title of the page, or the title tag within a link coding. See an example in the above link where ‘alt tags are another important tag for search engine optimization’.
Best practice for images and alt tags
When downloading pictures from your camera that you know you will be using elsewhere, spend the extra time to name and organize them. You may want to organize pictures by date and/or category or event. Once you determine how you want to organize them, it is suggested to rename them to what the picture includes. This is ideal in that it will make it easier to search your computer for them later than to try to remember the date or the picture number, right?
Then, once you upload the images, depending on what platform your website it is on, add the alt tag to your image as well. Within WordPress, once you upload the image and before inserting it into the post, you have several options. Those several images are the title of the image (which is what the image was named), caption (which would show under the image on your website), alt text (there it is!) and some display settings.
You can always add it to the html code on your site if you are geek enough. Lol Easiest thing to do in the code is to do a search for “img” or what you named the picture like 1234.jpg and find the one you wanted to add alt tags to.
What it looks like in code
This may be what it looks like if you just uploaded it after downloading it to your camera.
This is what it may look like after you have organized your photos and added an alternative “alt” tag.
<img src=”Kristen on her Honda VTX100.jpg” alt=”This is Kristen cruising down the freeway on her Honda VTX1300” />
How best to utilize the alt tag for SEO?
Quite simply, name your picture files and add alt tags to all pictures. You will want to name the picture appropriately and not stuff keywords in the alt tags however most likely you will add images that are relevant to the page and to your general keywords. If you have a website about dogs, surely you won’t be writing a blog about horses. Similarly, you will be writing blogs and content about dogs and when uploading pictures, your keywords will fit naturally into the alt tags. The key is to be natural and not stuff keywords but also relevant.
This was more of a short and sweet post but hopefully helped you to understand more aspects of one bit of code and search engine optimization. Should you have any questions about SEO and how it can improve your website rankings, feel free to check out some of my SEO blogs or contact me with any questions you may have.