ALT tag (ALT attribute) and SEO: explanations!

Balise alt : un chaton et un lapereau au pelage identique


Indeed, search engines do not yet interpret the content of an image on a web page. They are content to read the texts and now the videos. Thus an image without text description means nothing to search engines. It is in this respect that the Alt tag (ALT attribute) intervenes to indicate to Googlebots. The robots, then, transmit this information to Internet users.

What is the Alt tag and how to use it properly? Follow us to learn all about image alt text.

What is the Alt tag?

Also known as ” Alt attribute », the Alt tag corresponds to the alt text(under WordPress) description of a visual on a web page.

It is an element present in the HTML code of a page just like the Title tag, the Meta-description tag or the URLs.

Its role is to provide a brief description of an image. It is found in the tag Image .

However, you don’t need to know how to code to use it. All CMS(WordPress, PrestaShop, Wiz, etc.) reserve fields that simply need to be filled in to indicate the alternative text of an image.

Why is this important?

The primary purpose of the Alt attribute is to meet the rules of ergonomics and accessibility.

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It helps the visually impaired understand content they cannot see on their screen. To do this, their browser orally reads the content of the Alt tag in the same way as the text on the page.

example of an ALT tag with the content media an seo agency
Concrete example of an ALT tag (alternative text): “AntheDesign crossing the finish line of the marathon hand in hand with its client. »

In addition to its invaluable help for the visually impaired, the Alt attribute is also useful for other Internet users.

Indeed, it happens that the image does not manage to be displayed correctly on the screen of your visitors (server problems, unsuitable image size, etc.).

In these cases, the alt text is displayed in order to give a description of the image to your visitors. It thus ensures smooth navigation and contributes to improve the user experience on your site .

Its usefulness for SEO

The Alt tag has advantages for the natural reference of an image in Google.

This is because search engines cannot read the content of images. They therefore analyze the keywords contained in the alternative text to position them in the search results.

This has the effect of offering more visibilityimages on your website. This is how you can find an image by simply doing a image search . The Alt attribute also serves as a reference for Google to precisely interpret the content of the page.

Example of the ALT tag with google image and the SEO Agency queryExample of the ALT tag with google image and the SEO Agency query
Query entered on Google Images “SEO agency”: the visuals that stand out are those with SEO agency in the ALT tag.

Moreover, by favoring the positioning of the image on Google Images, the Alt tag also contributes to generating traffic on your site. So do not hesitate to optimize Alt attributesof your images to improve the natural referencing of your page.

Best practices for optimizing the ALT tag

For alt text to work for you, you need to use it well. Our agency sends you its little guide!

1. Precisely describe the image or visual

The Alt tag represents an alternative for understanding an image that the Internet user cannot see.

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Its content must therefore be as precise as possible. Use descriptive words to accurately present the image that should be displayed.

It is not uncommon to see the logo of a company or association with an Alt attribute “company logo”. This certainly describes the image, but for the Internet user, it would be even better to specify the name of the company with an alternative text “logo + name of the company”.

Beneficial note: Do not fill in the ALT tag if the image is purely decorative.

2. Be concise in the description

The recommended length to fill the Alt tag is 5 to 6 words . In other words, your alt text shouldn’t be too long.

On this point, it is useless to start with words like “photo of…” or “image of…”. These words add no value to your description.

3. Include your keyword in the Alt tag

The Alt attribute plays an important role in the SEO of an image, but not only.

Indeed, it is also of interest for the referencing of the page on which the image is located. Therefore, the main keyword of your content must be there. This guarantees you a good interpretation of the image by Google.

4. Optimize Alt Tag of CTA Buttons

Alt tag optimization rules are also valid for call to action buttons (CTA).

Remember that this HTML tag has the role of presenting the image if it ever fails to display. Tell the Google robots (googlebots) that it is indeed a button; they will transmit the information to Internet users.

For example, for a newsletter subscription button with an image, the alt text could be “newsletter subscription confirmation”.

Traps to avoid

Some practices penalize the effectiveness of your images. Among them we have:

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1. Stuffing the Alt tag with keywords

The presence of keywords is essential in the Alt tag, but it is counterproductive to abuse it. In reality, keyword stuffing is very frowned upon by google bots today. A keyword is enough.

2. Image headers

theheaderis one of the most important parts of your site where keywords should be.

However, Google does not interpret the images. It is therefore preferable to opt for text content to integrate your keywords in order to optimize your SEO.

How do I provide a description of an image to Google?

To notify Google of the content of an image, it is your responsibility to write your Alt tag .

This must contain a short and precise description from what you see in the picture. Finally, it should be include your keyword to help Google better reference the image and the web page it belongs to.

What is the ALT attribute used for?

TheAlt tag describes the image to Google robots.

Browsers read its content orally for the visually impaired. It is displayed on the screen of Internet users when the image is not displayed so that they understand what should be displayed.

Finally, theAlt attributeprovides semantic content to an image to be referenced in search results.

Is it mandatory to write Alt tags?

No, it is not an obligation. And it is also useless to inform it when it is a purely decorative visual.

For other cases, keep in mind that this is an SEO criterion; it is therefore a pity to deprive oneself of it.

You now have all the keys to optimize the Alt tag of your images. Make the most of it !

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