Search engines typically rely on text and, as a result, often cannot determine the contents or purpose of an image by itself. One tool that can help search engines understand what an image represents is the addition of the alt attribute within your image tags. This addition to your tags is also often referred to as “alt text.”

If you’re not familiar with HTML, an image tag tells a web browser where to locate images included within the page. The image tag looks like this:

<img src="example.jpg">

The “img” tag tells the web browser to show an image, while the “src” attribute tells the browser where to find that image. You may add an optional “alt” attribute to provide additional details about the image. This attribute is displayed most commonly as a floating tip when you hover over the image with your cursor.

Adding alt text to an image tag is very simple. You simple add the following to your img tag: alt=“<insert keyword-rich image description here>”.

In practice, an image featuring a customer using a tablet computer would look something like this with alt text added:

<img src="example.jpg" alt="Tablet computer model 1234 being used by a customer">

One key advantage alt text provides is the ability to add keyword-rich content to improve your page’s keyword density without being seen as unnaturally “keyword stuffing” your content. For more on this topic, please see “What is Keyword Density?”

For each page, consider the keywords that your searchers will use when looking for that page. And for each image, think about how you can use those keywords to help describe what’s being shown within the image. Once you’ve come up with a list of the appropriate keywords to apply to your images, either update the image tags with alt text yourself, or work with the appropriate content or technical resources to have that done for you.

Alt text provides an excellent means to improve the frequency of keywords on your page in a user-friendly, unobtrusive manner, which should serve to improve your page’s ranking as well. Take advantage of this opportunity to boost that ranking and to boost your page’s business value too.

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