Over the years, search engines have evolved and ultimately gained the ability to “see” and recognize what is being depicted by every image uploaded online with high accuracy. However, these search engines do not actually have eyes just like us humans do, well not yet as of now. They are just using complex image recognition algorithms, which if put into really simple terms, is simply your search engine doing some sort of matching type quiz.
Hence, even if they are really accurate, there will be cases where your search engine would fail miserably in finding an image you want or identifying what is being depicted by the image you are showing it based on your keywords. However, there is no need to worry about this since long before search engines became what it is now, people were already using something called “alt tags” to discreetly put descriptions on the images they put on their site. To get your website on page optimization fixed, call Phoenix SEO Geek today!
What are image alt tags?
Alt tags or alternative tags are used to describe an image, graph, or chart in a way that if it is read to you with your eyes closed, you could still picture out the actual image based on the alt tag as accurately as possible. Well, at least that should have been the case if people actually wrote alt tags correctly. In many cases, alt tags are actually abused by people in order to trick web crawlers and web indexing programs into bumping their sites into higher ranks in terms of search result hierarchy.
Why are image alt tags important?
In most cases, if you’ve never made a functional website like most people out there, you will most likely never come across alt tags or if you do, you won’t even know that they’re actually alt tags. However, if you are a site owner, you should make serious research about them as they actually play a pivotal role in increasing your chances of ranking on search engines based on your selected keywords. This is due to the fact that the aforementioned web crawlers and web indexers would rummage through the HTML code of your website to find the relevant keywords in order to match your site to a search query of a potential visitor. If these programs detect an image, they will look at its alt tag to know what it is about and if your alt tag is not worded properly, there is a high probability that your search ranking would be negatively affected.
Another reason why alt tags are important is that it allows visually-impaired people or individuals who have a hard time identifying images to get an idea of what your images are about to further know and enjoy the contents or products that your website offers. This is because those people use text-to-speech programs or screen readers when they browse the web and these programs will use alt tags to read out or output the said description as braille in order to describe a particular image found on your website. This adds another demographic to your customer base, which is extremely important on the internet where websites are fighting for clicks every moment.