Search Engine Optimization Tip #8: Keywords in Alt Tags

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This is search engine optimization tip number eight in our continuing series of search engine optimization tips. Each search engine optimization tip is very specific, should not take a long time to fix (or to check to see if you are following the search engine optimization best practices), and will be rather “short and sweet” and directly to the point.

Alt Tags

If you have not been following along with all of our search engine optimization tips, you might want to take a look at the previous SEO tips that we have already talked about. Last time we talked about the anchor text of internal links. Then, before that, we talked about having keyword in your urls, linking to your home page, the meta keywords tag, the keywords on your web page, the meta description tag, and your web page’s title tag. All of these “search engine optimization tips” are things I look at when analyzing a site or optimizing it for the search engines. Keep in mind, though, that this is only the beginning. There are a lot more search engine optimization tips coming.

For this eighth search engine optimization tip, let’s review your image alt tags and putting keywords in your Alt Tags. What exactly is an Alt Tag? Wikipedia explains what an Alt Tag really is: “The alt attribute is used in HTML and XHTML documents to specify text that is to be rendered when the element to which it is applied cannot be rendered. In HTML 4.01, the attribute is required for the img and area element types.”

Alt Tag Misnomer

Wikipedia actually tells us that Alt Tags are really a Misnomer. They say that:

“The alt attribute is commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as an image’s “alt tag”. It is not intended to provide “pop up” text or tooltips when a user’s mouse hovers over the image, though alt text has historically been presented in this way in some web browsers; HTML’s title attribute is intended for supplementary information that can be used in this way. (To use alt correctly and suppress the tooltip that some web browsers generate, a web author can use an empty title attribute.)”.

Alt Tags are really technically called “alt attributes”. But, let’s just call them Alt Tags because that’s what I’m used to calling them.

How do you use an Alt Tag? It’s pretty simple, really. Alt Tags are added to images, in the html code when the image is called for in the html code of the web page. The easiest thing to do is to insert the image on the page and then add or edit the alt tag. Take a look at the alt tag example from NetMechanic. The keywords that describe that image is put into the alt tag for the image.

Image Alt Tag example

What is important here is that each image on your web site contains a unique Alt Tag or “alt attribute”. The keywords used should describe the image perfectly. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, when I added the screen capture of the NetMechanic example of the image alt tag usage, I used the keyword phrase “Image Alt Tag example”. I believe that it perfectly describes what you will find when you look at that image.

So, for this search engine optimization number eight, the Keywords in the Alt Tags are important. They should describe what you will see in the image perfectly. If the image is an image of a 35 year old female doctor holding a stethoscope, then I would use the keyword phrase “35 year old female doctor holding stethoscope” in the image’s Alt Tag. If you use multiple images on your web site, make sure that if the image is a different image then it will need a unique image Alt Tag.

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