5 SEO Alt Tag Myths Debunked
There's been a lot of talk around the Design Community about the benefit of alt tags again. Most of this talk has been on Pinterest but, the thing about Pinterest is that, that is where a lot of my target audience and clients are, and the misinformation on the subject has people incredibly confused because the majority of Pinterest users do not know right from wrong when it comes to SEO, Metadata and how to increase search engine rankings in a way that lasts.
So let's do a little setting the record straight on SEO Alt Descriptions – shall we?
Myth #1: They Always Referred To As Alt Tags:
Honestly, the correct term to use is alternative attributes of an image tag. Alt Attribute is a modified description of information relative to the image that you are connecting to the description within the web page or blog post page of the pages HTML Code and is meant to actually help the visually impaired as well as search engine crawlers correctly navigate your website.
Myth #2: Alt Attributes Replace Content:
Let's just set the record straight on this. We live in the age of content. Pictures are a form of content however, pictures will never fully replace content because the content is what the search engine crawlers rank your site with as the #1 primary crawler. If a website chooses a stand alone image only design with no on page descriptive content the chances of ranking on any of the search engines will be very slim to none also meaning that if an image only website ranks at all it will actually rank very low think page 8+ (How often do you ever go through that many pages of Google's search results?) There lies, your website's chances of being found with image only photos.
Myth #3: Alt Attributes Are Another Form Of SEO:
I'm not quite sure where this myth originated from but, Alt Attributes have absolutely nothing to do with improving your Search Engine Ranking. Alt Attributes were created and developed to improve the usability and navigation of the visually impaired and disabled users who utilize screen readers, and apps designed for the visually impaired and disabled. Therefore, Alt Attributes have very little to do with SEO but, are utilized by search engine crawlers and spiders to assist apps and programs for the visually impaired and disabled in finding the information, services, and websites that they are in search of when the user is in search mode on their preferred search engine. In other words, Alt Attributes have nothing to do with the ranking of a website but, do in fact have everything to do with assisting programs, and apps used for usability find your site.
Myth #4: Alt Attributes Need To Be Included In All Images On Your Website Or Blog:
Because Alt Attributes aren't designed to impact your SEO the Alt Attribute section of every image on your website or blog post do not need to be included. Instead, it is advised that you only fill out the alt attribute section in your primary graphic otherwise you will see your ranking on the page tank as it will be seen by the search engine spiders as an attempt to keyword stuff
Why is this such a problem? See there's been a lot of misinformation given over the years that has led to numerous unknowing business owners and those known to provide black hat marketing attempting to make things work that don't. I guess this is the perfect place to say it; EmBeance does not endorse or provide any Black Hat Marketing services and I've even gone as far as to terminate my involvement with those that delve into the area or, associate themselves with those that do. A little back story on this; I worked for a company that did this several years ago, Truth be told, I wouldn't know what I do today and never would have started this business had I not had that experience, However, I left that company on good terms but, the reason that I left was because, I had a very strong message to leave the company, and it was because of their practices inside of the black hat marketing niche. And today, I'm better off for it, more knowledgeable because of it, and it brought me one step closer to realizing what it is that I wanted for myself, my career, and my future but, I will not provide those services to my clients, and anyone who works for me in the future as EmBeance continues to grow needs to sign a waiver relinquishing themselves from the practices of doing so themselves as well as a non-compete form. (There's a back story on this unfortunately but, it taught me that this is a must as my company is based on integrity, honesty, dependability, and creating a positive experience that will lead to growth for my clients through a radiant atmosphere based upon all things authenticity, light, openness, and reliability and dependability long into the future. Not the opposite that doesn't speak of integrity, service, character, and dependability into the future. Who we surround ourselves speaks volumes and determines our success. It's a motto I firmly stand by and live to the fullest, and one that I will not be swayed on.
Black hat processes and procedures though, as well as all of the bad information out there, can actually get you ranked lower on the search engines. If the spiders catch you (or your marketer) doing what is seen as black hat your website may permanantly be effected and even banned from the search engines. Yes, that is possible. Just take that tid bit of information in before you continue on with practices that may be doing more long term damage that good through bringing the growth that you actually seek.
Myth #5: Alt Attributes Need To Be Long And Are Difficult To Write:
Similar to the meta description that you choose, your alt attributes are not dificult to write, and are actually meant to simplify but compile data found within your on page content. Ultimately, the content found within your Alt Attribute section should reflect what is said within your website page or blog page image that you are writing the alt attribute description for.
Keep the content to minimum of 5 words but, no more than 15 words maximum in order to gain the most effectiveness and desired results.
Stumped? Feel confused? EmBeance would love to help. Please feel free to reach out, and let us know what you're struggling with.