Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complicated process through which websites attempt to raise their ranking in a list of results for a variety of keywords and phrases related to their business.
One significant part of any excellent SEO strategy is having accurate “alternative attributes of an image tag” or alt tags. Alt tags, more accurately referred to as “alt attributes” or “alt descriptions,” are descriptions included in an image’s HTML code to describe its function and appearance on the page.
Many business owners may scratch their heads, but any high-quality SEO company knows that setting up alt descriptions is still important in 2020. Still, “alt tag” is a fanciful word used gratuitously in some tech circles, and there are still some lingering myths about what they are and their purpose. Below explains five common misconceptions about alt descriptions.
1- Alt Descriptions Replace Textual Content
It is easy to think that the text descriptions for images could replace actual text content on the page, but that is not the case. While alt descriptions are an important part of an SEO strategy, using them instead of relevant, readable text-based content will significantly lower the page’s search ranking. Pages must include optimized alt descriptions and high-quality descriptive text.
2- Alt Descriptions are Strictly for SEO
Alt descriptions were designed to improve accessibility by assisting those with visual impairments in accessing the internet. While they are now used to boost page rankings, they can only do so while treating their original purpose as the most important reason for including them.
Alt descriptions should be succinct, assisting both search engine crawlers and those with visual disabilities to understand the information on the page. Additionally, including optimized alt descriptions helps make the page ADA compliant.
3- Every Image Needs Alt Descriptions
Despite what a lot of website builders may think, not every image needs an alt description. Images meant only for navigational purposes or design elements like bullets, lines, or spaces, should not use alt descriptions.
Including alt descriptions for these images will make a page less accessible, as it clogs the feed of useful information provided by relevant alt descriptions.
4- Alt Descriptions Must be Fixed Immediately
Alt descriptions are important, but they are only one part of an entire SEO strategy. There are many other SEO elements that should be addressed first, such as meta descriptions and cleaning duplicate content. Alt descriptions have a relatively low impact on page ranking compared to these things.
Alt Descriptions are Labor-Intensive to Write
Truthfully, tackling alt descriptions alone can be a hefty task. While they are not particularly complicated, applying alt descriptions to every image can be tedious. However, there are some excellent ways to expedite the process.
Developers have tools, shortcuts, and scripts that cut down on the time to write alt descriptions. Additionally, having photographers and graphic designers label images as descriptively as possible will help ease some of the burden. With the right support and tools, writing alt descriptions should not be too time consuming.
The Bottom Line
The term “alt tag” may be shrouded in a bit of mystery, but alt tags are not as complicated as a person might think. Including optimized alt tags helps websites boost their ranking and makes them more accessible to those with visual impairments. Website owners should be sure to include this valuable text in their overall SEO strategy.