Importance of ALT Text for images

Is ALT Text Still Important in Search Engine Optimization?

ALT text for images have been considered as an important element in search engine optimization for years. But this has changed as major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN don’t consider ALT text for images in determining relevancy any more.

According to some experts in SEO, web sites that use keyword dense ALT text for images might get lower rank in search result pages because those ALT texts are considered as SEO tricks by search engines. That is, using ALT text for search engine optimization can affect the rankings in the search engine result pages negatively.

Then what should search engine optimizers do about ALT text for images?

Use ALT text for its original purpose designed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium): give a good relevant description about an image. Though the major search engines don’t regard ALT text important in determining relevancy of the content at the present time, their algorithm can always change to the opposite way. It’s always best to keep the basic rules.

Here are three main tips about how to use ALT text.

1. Use ALT text to describe the image. It is highly recommended by the W3C that ALT text should be used to describe images on web sites.

2. You can include keyword phrases in one or two instances of ALT text within one content page. Be careful not to put more than twice because major search engines might punish them by lowering the rankings in result pages.

3. Description of ALT text should be relevant to the image. This way, it is helpful for the people who read web pages for the visually impaired. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) has strict guidelines regarding what a web site needs to contain in order to be ADA compliant.

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