Do Alt Attributes Still Matter?


Alt Attributes and Descriptions are commonly overlooked when we upload images to websites. To make your listings standout it is important to make sure you get all the basis covered when it comes to Description and Alt Attributes.

We all love Google. Google has changed the way we shop, identify and research our hobbies online.

I was old enough to remember the good old days of Encarta95 and Encyclopedia Britannica but going further back I am not too sure how we would survive today if we didn’t have Google for company.

It’s our number one destination for when we want to find out about the next latest craze, research a particular topic or find out more about a destination for our holidays.

If you met Google in the street, how would you describe Google as a person? Intelligent, Smart, Relevant perhaps? Google is all those things but unfortunately they are not a person and instead a highly complex robot which reads descriptions and creates algorithms to depict where it puts websites, images and data into its listings.

More importantly Google can’t see, by this; I mean things such as pictures and images.

Now why is this important?

How many photos are uploaded on your website? 10, 15, 30, 40. Perhaps 1000’s if you are an online ecommerce store or marketplace trying to gain higher rankings in the listings. How much thought has gone into naming your images, giving alt attributes, descriptions and appropriate file names to?

I did tell you that Google was blind didn’t I? It can’t see images, so instead prefers to read the descriptions that your photos have to describe where to rank them in their search algorithms. If there are no descriptions then it can’t see them, if there are no alt attributes then it won’t read them.

Take this as an example

This is an image of Apple. It’s not just any Apple (The Famous words of Marks and Spencer.

You see if we gave the Alt Attribute of the Apple, ‘Apple’ we would be just like any other Apple, plain and boring there would be nothing to separate us from anyone else.

If, instead, we chose to add a descriptive alt attribute, describe the colour, the shape Google is likely to position your search ranking above everyone else that just said Apple.

An apple is a very broad example but consider this. How many images have you seen online, maybe on your own website with the filename IMG00023.JPG, IMG00024, IMG00025.png

How would Google see the difference between image 1 and image 3. Google extracts this information to form an understanding of the subject matter, so it is important to make sure they are properly earmarked.

We often overlook the importance of image file names to get our website launched or quickly produce a web page for our marketing campaign that we forget, almost every alt attribute and description for an image.

  • How are you managing Alt Attributes on your website?

  • Do you know where you would go to update your Alt Attributes?

For a FREE 30 minute consultation to discover how you can maximise your marketing for your business across Web, Email and Social Media contact today.

Ali Dolphin is a UK-based marketing expert specialising in digital marketing. His expertise includes content writing, website design, and technology. Ali regularly provides insights and blogs on various aspects of digital marketing.

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