What Are Alt Tags?

Table of Contents

The ALT tag, also known as “alt description” and “alt attribute,” contains the alternative text for a visual or image on a web page. It is one of the fields that can be filled out in HTML code enabling designers to add a description of the picture or video if it is not properly displayed on the screen. It carries weight in terms of organic search engine rankings.

Its importance in search engine rankings is that it enables them to identify the content that should be displayed. By optimizing the ALT tags of the images on your site, search engines will understand that they are relevant and logical regarding the keywords used. Applying images to alt tags, such as product photos, can positively impact an ecommerce store’s search engine rankings.

Why use an Alt tag?

Search engines and other robots cannot interpret images, yet images can play a vital part in how viewers interpret a specific web page. Alt tags solve this by delivering text which is read by search engines. When search engine crawlers, like Googlebot, inspect a page, images with properly formatted alt text contribute to how the page is indexed and where it ranks.

Best Practices for Using Alt Tags

When using Alt tags, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Optimize product images for site speed and use the same keyword as the product page itself.
  • Keep the text short to maximize its impact. Google and other major online search engines are more likely to index shorter alt texts more efficiently. Also, don’t forget to mention the topic in the alt text.
  • Google and other popular search engines disfavor antics like keyword stuffing (a bad tactic where brands fill or “stuff” a webpage with the same keyword to try to rank higher in search engine visibility for that term.) 
  • Don’t prioritize alt tags over SEO deliverables such as meta descriptions, inter-linking,  and titles. Alt tags should only be prioritized for image-heavy pages that are very light on text.

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