Alt Tag SEO: Just How Important is the Alt Attribute to SEO?

Are Alt Tags Important?

Alt Tag SEO is technically a misnomer.

Really, there is no such thing as an alt tag of an image. It is the alt ATTRIBUTE. But that is another discussion altogether.

The main reason for this post is to stress just how important proper use of the alt attribute is to your SEO efforts and to those who use the aid of screen readers to tell them what is on a page.

In the past, marketers have pretty much followed two (2) extremes when it came to SEO-ing an image:
1) Ignoring the alt attribute altogether, OR
2) Stuffing the alt attribute with a bunch of keywords.

Needless to say, neither method is effective.

The alt attribute is a great place to give back to the web and a great place to increase the SEO-value of your content. Give back by taking the time to tell the visually challenged what your image represents.

And the good news is… you can normally increase visitors to your website by doing this, too.

For example: If you sell blue widgets and have a page about blue widgets, then chances are… there is an image on the page of a blue widget. Use the alt attribute to tell the visually impaired that this what the image represents.

If it is a picture of an image on the shelf of your (say) Chicago store… then ‘tell’ your visitors that in the alt attribute. (Picture of a blue widget on a shelf in our Chicago, Illinois location.) That statement clearly explains to the visually impaired (AND to search engines) what your image was about.

Now in some cases, an image represents a call to action — and the alt attribute should properly reflect that.

For instance, if you have at the top of a page a huge, red stop sign indicating that they should read some important content before taking action, then the alt attribute should probably say something like “Stop!” versus “A picture of a big, red stop sign”.

A case can be made that an image of something (with a properly labeled alt attribute) has just as much or more SEO-value than actual text (with no image).

Watch the video below to find out more about the alt attribute and how it relates to SEO.