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How Alt Attributes Can Boost Your Image SEO

Are you using alt attributes to optimize your website images optimized for search engines? Find out in this article how to check whether your alt attributes are implemented properly.

Image SEO should always be included in the tasks of a webmaster or SEO. Website images can contribute to a successful website in many ways, and are particularly important for usability. Images make your website look great, and they can help users understand your content better. An image of a product will go a long way in helping the user in their purchase decision, and for informational content, images such as a graph illustrating statistics can be useful for clarifying a point. Website images can also help improve rankings. One way to ensure that images help boost website rankings is to use alt attributes, also known as alt tags.

What are alt attributes?

An alt attribute is an HTML attribute in the image tag that describes the content of the image. This is how the alt attribute looks in the source code of a website:

Alt tags are useful for both users and search engines. Search engines are not able to crawl images, so labelling your images with alt attributes tells search engines the content of your images. Including keywords in your alt attributes will especially help your chances of ranking highly.

Images that are purely there for design reasons don’t need an alt tag as they do not describe meaningful content. If these images are in html (rather than css), you should include a blank alt tag.

Alt attributes are also useful for users. If, for technical reasons, your images are not available on your website, (for example if the link to your image is temporarily broken, or due to a server timeout), the alt attribute will be visible instead, so users will understand what should have been displayed. Secondly, images with alt attributes can be read by screen readers, improving the accessibility of your website.

For more information and advice about how to further optimize your alt tags for SEO, check out this article in the Ryte magazine.

How do I find which images on my website don’t contain an alt tag?

With Ryte Website Success, you can easily find your images that don’t contain an alt tag. Use the alt tag report to see an overview of your images and their alt tags.

You can find the alt tag report in the navigation under "Assets" - "Images".

Figure 1: Navigate to the alt tag report in Website Success

Figure 2: Alt tags report in Website Success

To find which URLs do not contain an alt attribute, add a filter for "alt tags" "is" and leave the field input empty.

Figure 3: Add a filter

The filter function can also help you narrow down your search for missing alt tags. For example, if you want to check on specific landing pages whether your images contain alt tags, you could add an additional filter.

Figure 4: Filter for specific landing pages

Alternatively, to find your images without alt tags, you can simply look at the "Issues", which you can find in the Dashboard in Website Success. All website issues are listed according to priority, and if you have any images without alt tags, they will also be included here. Click on the issue, and then click on "show URLs" to be taken to the report, with the relevant filters already set.

Figure 5: Navigate to Alt Tags report through Website Success issues

Now you can start adding your alt tags. Make sure they give a meaningful description of the image. Ideally, at least one alt tag per URL should contain the keyword that you want to optimize the page for.

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Published on Dec 20, 2018 by Olivia Willson