Why you NEED to use Alt Tags

What is an Alt Tag
You're Reading: Why you NEED to use Alt Tags
Using Alt Tags or Alternative Text when naming photos is vital for SEO.

What is an Alt Tag? Why do they exist? And what does it have to do with a website’s Search Engine Ranking? All questions we will cover, and more, in this post!

Hannah Raeside

Office Manager, Pod Creative

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  • Make sure your content is relevant.
  • Make sure you have a good Featured Image.
  • Make sure your post has a strong, engaging title.
  • Make sure you have an Excerpt.
  • Categorize your post.
  • Check if you can link anything in the text.

What is an Alt Tag?

An alt tag, also known as “alt attribute” and “alt description,” is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines. Simply put, it is a text description area that allows Search Engine bots to “read” the image and categorize it accordingly. Search Engine bots (also known as algorithms) are unable to read images. Alt Tags allow this to happen! 

But why is this important?

Added within the image tag, a quality alt tag is a short description that explains what the image is and how it relates to the content on the post.

Alt tags serve multiple purposes. While you’re not required to use them, there are some major benefits to doing so. Since they are used by both search engine crawlers and screen-reading tools, they are a critical component of web accessibility and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Wordpress Alt Tag Alt Text

What do you mean by website accessibility?

Alt tags help ensure that visitors can access and enjoy your website’s content, even when using assistive technology or text-only browsers. When someone with a visual impairment visits your website, their screen reader will read them the text on the page. When it arrives at an image, it will use the alt tag to describe what that image is. Without an Alt Tag the screen reader will read the file name of the photo which can be confusing to the visitor. 

Accessible website, Narrator, Text reader

If the alt tag is missing, the screen reader may read the image file name instead. Not only is this usually ineffective at properly explaining the image, but it can also be confusing and disruptive, particularly if the file name wasn’t SEO-optimized.

Be a good human!

You need to use Alt Tags! Even if, for some odd reason, you don’t care about your search engine ranking, they allow users who require extra assistance to more easily experience your site!

how does it help a websites ranking and searchability?

An image is worth a thousand words! And on a post provides another way visitors can find your website. When optimized and used correctly, alt tags can help boost your SEO and generate hyperlinked, clickable images to appear in searches like these. In other terms, Alt Tags help populate the Image search! 

When you search for an image on Google you use keywords to find the picture you want. Since algorithms can’t read images, they turn to the Alt Tags instead to produce the best possible results. 

Image search of Rainbows

Search engine bots are intelligent, but they can’t interpret and understand the visual aspects of an image in the same way humans can. Using Alt Tags allows your image to be searchable! Along with assisting in your website’s Search Engine Ranking, utilizing Alt Tags also allow for another avenue of searching. If you created a post on your website and added photos of Rainbows, with the appropriate Alt tags, your photo, and then the post, may show up in an image search! 

wrapping this all up

If you aren’t already using Alt Tags, start now! They are straightforward to add and are critical for the usability and searchability of your site. If you don’t care about your searchability, add them to make your site accessible to all! Images add colour, design, and interest and therefore elevate a post from good to great.  Each photo should have its own distinct Alt Tag that is descriptive and to the point. Having a great Alt Tag is on the same level of importance as having an optimized photo!

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