Images add visual interest to a site, back up your message and encourage people to read. They can also strengthen your SEO ranking provided that you have well- written alt and title tags.
So What Are Alt Tags?
The alt tag really isn’t a tag but the alt attribute for the image tag in HTML and describes what is in the image. Since everyone calls them “alt tags”, I will refer to them here. Just remember that they are technically alt attributes.
It is required for SEO and accessibility for the visually impaired. You have seen this before if an image doesn’t display when the site fails to load images. The image failed to be loaded by the browser. Notice, how the browser displays a placeholder of where the image is suppose to be? The alt text is below providing a relevant description of what the image should be.
Now, in the image below, the browser rendered the image.
Alt tags are typically used by screen readers for the visually impaired. Notice how the alt tag in the image above didn’t just provide a description of the image, but a relevant description. There was enough information so that a previous could understand the image if a description was being read to them. When writing an alt tag, try to use a keyword if it makes sense and still is relevant to the reader. Don’t go overboard with keywords. Stick to 1 that is relevant and flows well with the rest of the text.
Here are examples of how to use alt tags for a portrait. Let’s say we are trying to use “digital marketer” as a keyword.
Excellent: Portrait of Michelle Schweitzer, Digital Marketer
Good: Digital Marketer, Michelle Schweitzer
Okay: Michelle Schweitzer
Just no: nothing at all! (use an opportunity for good SEO when you see it!)
If the image isn’t used to tell a visual story but rather than as a place holder, you don’t have to include an alt tag. Simple using code like <Img src=”placeholder.jpg” alt=””> will tell a screen reader that the image doesn’t have visual importance and to skip over it.
What about title tags?
Title tags aren’t required for images, and in fact, are rarely used. You will see them if you hover over an image and see a tooltip. Typically they display a call to action.
While title tags aren’t required for images, they are required for accessibility in iframe tags.
These alt and title tags are really easy.
Most CMSs have some sort of feature to include alt and title tags in the components. There is no excuse not to use them as they help your SEO rankings which is pretty cool and make your site more accessible to the visually impaired…which is even cooler.