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Images on web pages are a great way to entice readers. They also provide valuable real estate for SEO text, or alt tags, that can boost your ranking without the danger of being penalized in search engines.

What are Alt Tags?



Alt tags, or alt text, are the alternative text that text browsers or web agents will use to describe an image they are unable to read. For this reason, it’s always important that your alt tags contain information about the actual image.


Here’s an example:


apples-bananas-alt-tag-example


As you can see, this image contains two apples and a banana, so you would definitely want to include the types of fruit in your alt tag. That being said, it’s equally important that you include some SEO text, usually one of your keywords. In this example, we used the alt tag: apples-bananas-alt-tag-example, with “alt tag” being a main keyword.


By setting it up this way, our alt tag uses “alt tag” in a way that makes sense for this web page and the image. You can think of it as being similar to writing content for your page – you want it to flow naturally.

Follow the K.I.S.S. Rule for Alt Tags



Rather than keyword stuffing your alt tag (something that could actually hurt your SEO), just choose one keyword that best fits the image.


Length is also a key factor when creating alt tags, and it’s best to keep yours between 5 and 15 words. Any longer than that and text browsers could have trouble reading your text.


Finally, a major benefit of keeping it simple is that your page will load faster. When pages load slowly, it can hurt the ranking in search engines.


Alt tags are an easy way to enhance your SEO efforts behind the scenes, and help readers understand images along the way. Start working in alt tags with your images and measure the page ranking reports afterward to see if your additions are making an impact.

Rob Sanders launched RSO Consulting in 2006 and has over 20+ years of experience working in digital marketing including pay per click, SEO and web analytics. He teaches PPC, SEO and web analytics classes for marketing and business professionals in the San Francisco-Bay Area and throughout the U.S. and is the author of the book “42 Rules for Applying Google Analytics”.