How To Create And Use The Alt Attribute So Your Pictures Can Be Indexed By Search Engines

by Anil Polat · 21 comments

in SEO

Text is the way that computers and search engines currently see the world. When you write a travel blog post you’ve got the advantage of speaking the language of SEO, at least in the sense that your words will be indexed in some form or another by Google, Yahoo, and the other search engines. The same isn’t true however for pictures unless you describe them using the alt attribute and give them a written description the search engines can understand.

girl taking Polaroid pictures

Manipulating the “alt” attribute field (also commonly called “alt tag”) is a very simple process in WordPress, other blogging platforms, or in HTML for those of you who like to get down with code. It may add a moment or two before your posts are ready for publishing, but will significantly expand your site’s reach and readability.

black and white picture germanyWhat Is Alt?

Basically, the “alt attribute” or specifically the “img alt attribute” is, in HTML, used to describe pictures in text. Technically the “alt” attribute is to be used to describe anything that cannot be rendered as text and there are several more varieties outside of this post’s scope.

  • In HTML, the image alt attribute looks like this: <img src=”” alt=”stumbleupon logo” />

Without the added description, search engines have no idea what that JPEG image on your travel blog post is showing…and is therefore ignored.

people in textWhen To Add Image Descriptions

You should always add descriptions to any pictures in your posts. Your descriptions should be detailed and describe what is actually in the image rather than being vague or generic. For this picture, instead of writing “woman”, “woman at airport check in” is more detailed. Or, don’t just write “statue” for a picture like this but describe it by using something like “Ataturk statue Tasucu, Turkey”.

  • Making the file name of the image descriptive will also help the search engines index your photos.
  • Your competition for image keywords is about 10% of text keywords.

Don’t neglect adding descriptions to your photos when you’re rushing to get a post published. Images are an important portal to your travel blog and filling in the alt attribute should become second nature.

The Easy Ways To Add A Descriptive Alt Attribute

Those of you using WordPress can add the alt text when uploading or linking to any of your images using the “Add An Image” function.

add an image wordpress

Most other blogging platforms have the alt attribute built into their graphic interfaces and make it just about this simple to add alt text. You can also however add alt text directly using HTML by manipulating this snippet of code:

  • <img src=”” alt=”descriptive text here”/>

Over time you’ll find more people coming to your travel blog via photo searches as Google has now incorporated them into their standard search. Just Google a search term, like “Paris France” and look at all the pictures that pop up. These pictures have an equal, and often higher, click-through rate than even the number one search result on a given page. By using the alt attribute your images too will be picked up over time by the search engines making your photos a nice welcome mat to your travel blog.

[photos by: DiaTM (girl taking Polaroid pictures), hombertho (black and white picture Germany), Owls Flight Photography (people in text)]

{ 2 trackbacks }

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