Would you consider your website to be visually appealing to your visitors? Is it heavy in graphics, photos and colorful displays that catch the eyes of your customers and make them want to click through to other pages? For SEO, having a dazzling website that features all the bells and whistles can be a great tool to keep visitors interacting with your website and possibly returning. However, as customers are able to see the visually appealing aspects of your site, that is not always the case for search engines.
Search engines are practically blind when it comes to images and graphics - they can only see text. When a search bot crawls your site, it's indexing your pages based upon the readable text and not the hi-def photos that give it the visual appeal. This is why online marketing gurus say "content is king." A page that has little to no text, but stunning images that may be relevant to a search, is not going to be 100% visible to robots, which means it may not appear in the search results.
NOTE: This does NOT mean that you shouldn’t use images and informational graphics on your website!
Visuals that accompany your content have actually proven to assist in making it more noticed, effective and engaging for your audience. Search engines on the other hand, just need a bit of assistance and guidance in understanding the purpose of the image. A best practice according to Moz in order to enhance your site's search visibility with graphics is to add what is called “alt text.” The alt text is a detailed description to signal the search engines what an image is representing on that page. Alt text is not visible to the user unless the photo is hovered over, in which case it is the text that appears as a pop up.
Much the same for search engine robots, alt text identifies and describes images for the visually impaired through text-to-voice software. Don’t miss out on making conversions with qualified customers because your website is not reaching its full potential and missing key elements!
Top search engines, like Google and Bing, index and place high value on alt text and there are some tips on getting it right:
- Make your alt tags short & concise
- Create descriptive & relevant text
- Include keywords (but not too many!)
Alt text is a simple, quick step in improving your website and growing your search visibility further. Don’t ignore it! Be sure to incorporate these attributes as you are adding images or updating your website.