The Importance of Alt Tags

By Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse (Zanymuse) on April 11, 2010

An alt tag is text that takes the place of an image to tell the reader what is missing if their browser cannot load images. This makes the document easier for those who have text only browsers or who are using readers such as those used by the visually impaired. Alt tags also make it possible for a web crawler to locate the image. Crawlers cannot see what an image is and must rely on alt tags and captions for information.

As we build our site it is good to keep in mind that almost every thing we do, or fail to do, has an impact upon our long term success in the competitive atmosphere of the Internet.

An opportunity often overlooked by beginners is to add Alt tags to their images. We place a lot of emphasis on the layout of our articles and pages. We worry over the size of the images and how they are viewed. We think about ways to attract search engines to place us high in the rankings so that others will find our site. But a search engine cannot "see" an image. It can however "read" text.

Many browsers display the alt tag when you rest your cursor over an image. This makes it important to keep the information descriptive but simple. For instance

"This is a picture of a Steller's Jay I took in my back yard. His bright blue feathers looked shimmery in the sunlight" Is Too much info for an Alt tag.

"bird" is too little info. "Steller's Jay" is just right. Now a reader will know what the image is even if they cannot view it. A web crawler can now "see" that an image of a Steller's Jay has been inserted into the page.

Accurate and concisely written Alt tags can help your search engine rankings by promoting and enhancing your keywords. Do not try to fool the search engines by using alt tags that are not related to the image as this can backfire if the search engine thinks you are trying to fake them out and will instead result in their removing you from their search results.

To add alt text is easy, simply use the alt attribute on your image:


Hover your mouse over the image to see the Alt Text

The alt code was added by the system when I included a title. You can insert a title by right clicking the image while in edit mode and selecting the tree icon for add/edit image. Simply type in the title.

Related articles:
Alt Tags, captions

About Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse
I have been playing on the www for many years and in the process have created several small web sites. I am curious by nature and the opportunity to be a small part of this new community as it evolves has been a real pleasure.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Alt tags Bubbles Jul 26, 2011 7:42 PM 3
I Keep Learning From You nap Jun 6, 2010 10:18 AM 15
Thumbs valleylynn Apr 12, 2010 11:20 AM 2
You've just proved again... Bubbles Apr 11, 2010 12:10 PM 4

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