SEO Definitions And Terms – ALT Tag

Webmasters have been told for years that search engines place a lot of weight on the ALT text of images. The result has been that these tags have been crammed full of keywords, providing virtually no useful information. The main aim of the ALT tag is twofold.

First is an issue of display. Some browsers do not display images and in these instances, the ALT text will show instead. It also shows while the graphic is loading. Modern Internet and browser technology as well as the increasing use of broadband means this has become less of an issue. However, not everyone uses high spec computers or the most advanced broadband connections. You should create a website that is accessible, useful, and legible to as many people as possible.

Secondly, and where the real money lies, is in compliance. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as well as governmental acts like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) set out clear guidelines for websites to follow. These guidelines enable sites to give easy access to all Internet users. In this case, ALT text is generally used for the visually impaired surfers that have page text read out loud to them by browser software. Keyword crammed ALT tags can sometimes consist of a list of keywords that take over a minute to be read out. Not appealing by any stretch of the imagination.

As the search engines have evolved their algorithms they have attempted to cut out black hat SEO strategies including ALT spamming. This means that very little, or absolutely no weight is now given to the inclusion of keywords in the ALT tag. Provide text that is genuinely useful to all your visitors, making it short, concise, and to the point. If this gives opportunity to include one of your keywords then do so by all means. The search engines do change their algorithms regularly, after all.