When doing SEO optimization website administrators usually forget to add alt tags to images. Even if they do add them, they usually copy photo’s caption or title into the ‘alt tag’ field. But what are alt tags and in which way they can improve website’s optimization?
Importance of alt tags
Alternative attributes of image tags give descriptive information about an image and insert it into HTML text. That also means that alt tags are easily readable by search engine crawlers, who use them for finding images for their image search feature. Google officially confirmed that its crawlers mainly use alt tags to rank webpages and tie images to certain search terms. Since Google Images is one of the most used Google features, you can easily realize how important alt tags are.
How to write great alt tags
Now when we know the importance of alt tags, we should find ways to make them more descriptive and accurate. Tagging process should have three individual stages. In the first stage you should focus on the image itself and object we can see on it. Man, woman, tree, glass, chair, dog, all of these could be good photo tags. In the second stage you should focus on what is happening on the photo. Here you should use words like: party, game, lunch, dinner, etc. In the third phase you should be a little bit more specific and try to add a feeling that photo emits. You can add tags like: fun, sadness, quiet, love, etc.
After completing this process you will have more than a dozen separate tags for each photo, then you need to focus on picking the right tags and combining them. When doing this you should also think about the keywords you want to target. To find the right keywords you should use services like Google Trends or Google AdWords Keyword Planner. These websites can provide right set of keywords you should use in website optimization. You can add some of these to alt tags, or combine them with tags you already added. Of course you should stay away from any kind of keyword stuffing, because it will just lower you Page Rank, in the same way as if you put it in article title or headings. Rule of the thumb is that all alt tags should be relevant to the photo they are describing.
Can I do this faster?
There are many different SEO tools that can be used for checking website’s alt tags and for fast creation of these attributes for photos you are about to add to your website. Of course these automated tags will never be as good as the ones you write, but alt creator tools can be very useful for popular photo blogs and websites that add few dozens of images per day.
What are other important tags for SEO?
Photos come with plenty great and useful tags on both websites and search engines. Img, src, width, height are all tags that tell our browser the position, size and file type of the image in question.
Some of the most popular type of meta data labels are hashtags. These tags are used on social networks and microblogging websites and can describe both photos as well as other types of content like blog posts and tweets. Widespread use of hashtags mainly originated from photo sharing apps. Hashtags doesn’t need to be too specific, like alt tags. For example if you recently typed #monkeyyear in Twitter, you probably saw long list of New Year’s wishes and resolutions paired with monkey images and illustrations. These are all designed to celebrate the Lunar New Year’s Eve and the arrival of year of the monkey.
Since large number of people use and create hashtags every day, choosing them can be a huge drag. One of the major parameters of hashtag popularity is its uniqueness. Good thing is that you basically don’t need to stick to any kind of grammar or semantic rules and the only thing that will make you create hashtag that will be loved and followed by many is your own creativity.
Tagging is definitely a great way to boost your photo’s popularity and emphasize its right meaning. It is also very important for search engine optimization, and it can make your website camp on first pages of Google Images’ lazy loading.