DIY Canadian SEO: Chapter 5
Okay, time today to delve back into the SEO tactics of using the <alt img> tags for your various website images, and whether or not such time and effort are rewarding…and for us the decision is still a mixed one, eh!
First the Wikipedia definition of the <alt img> tag is this —
“The alt attribute is used in HTML and XHTML documents to specify alternative text (alt text) that is to be rendered when the element to which it is applied cannot be rendered. In HTML 4.01, the attribute is required for the
areatags. It is optional for the
inputtag and the deprecated
And the usage of same IMHO, is governed by the fact that it is used to give a contexual description of the image if it cannot be displayed — of course in the past decade or so, with the wide ubiquitous rollouts of broadband ISP accounts, that need to be totally honest, is non-existant today. Everyone has the bandwidth to see images and I think that as a regular web user, we all like same. I’m not convinced, then…that the acutal “use” of the <alt img> tag is a needed, user chosen position….hence the use of same has changed over the past few years. Or you
That said, the tag itself, of course is used as follows — when you have an image on your website it is coded in HTML as follows —
<a href=http://www.examplesite.com target=”_blank”><img src=”http://www.examplesite.com/images/image-1.jpg” alt=”Computer recycling | E-waste” /></a>
As you can see, the image on this page at examplesite.com, is called image-1.jpg — and just behind the naming string, lies the alt tag that tells the browser doing the reading of this page that this image should also be named “Computer recycling | E-waste” in case the website visitor has their images turned “off” something that just doesn’t happen anymore. So such an image would have that keyword phrase only on the page instead of the image itself. So why bother then to use same?
Simple, IMHO…to get some — admittedly a teensy/small-only amount in our experience — value from the SEO search engine bot that comes by, reads the HTML code on your page and then indexes same with their mother ship.
Yes, I know…the next question is “yeah, but does it work?” And all I can offer here, as any other SEO practitioner can offer, is that it does appear to add “some” linkjuice to the onpage SEO rankings. Of course, your next question is “yeah, but what about Google and how they view same,” eh…and for that here’s a link to an older vid posting by Matt on this exact issue….you can view same here….
Rand over at seomoz, a year ago or so, said this about <img alt> tag usage –
“Alt Attribute – Surprisingly, the alt attribute, long thought to carry little SEO weight, was shown to have quite a robust correlation with high rankings in our studies. Thus, we strongly advise the use of a graphic image/photo/illustration on important keyword-targeted pages with the term/phrase employed in the alt attribute of the img tag…”
And what do our own analytics show? In a test on our own owned testing sites, over a period of 6 months (long enough to allow indexing bots to visit and record and then populate through their server farms), it appears that the uuse of keywords in <img alt> tag’s DOES help. We see serp rankings that approached a value of 9% better/higher returns with all other items (least in our control) being equal. That’s 9% — not a lot by any means, but I’d rather see it working FOR us than NOT working at all, eh! Check out your own site and look at your own <img alt> tags….do you have them working for you too?Google