Alt tag generally means the choice tag. It’s the HTML tag that informs internet search engine exactly what the images are only for. Search engine optimizers tried to include their targeted keywords into the alt tag text in order to reinforce the relevancy of a webpage to get higher rankings.
As of today, however, all the major search engines including Google, Yahoo and MSN stopped using ALT Tag as a decisive ranking factor when determining the relevancy of a web-page. That doesn’t mean, of course, that ALT tags have become totally useless. Although it’s not as powerful as it used to be ALT tag optimization still remains an important on-page SEO technique.
Alt tag (also referred to as image tag) is textual information related to a graphic image to indicate its relevancy and avoid indexing problems. The thing is that search engines don’t perceive websites the way we do. They cannot read images, that’s why it is important to use ALT tags to tell the search engine spiders what this or that picture is about. Basically an ALT tag is a name of a picture or graphic image.
Image ALT tags also make your site more accessible to visually impaired people using text readers. Even if your Website is content rich, the alt tags allow you to reinforce what is highly important, the key terms, within the content.
There are a number of reasons to continue using alt tags for SEO as follows..
First of all, despite the fact that the ‘big three’ search engines have stopped using alt tags to determine relevancy of a webpage there are search engines that still do. By optimizing your alt tags you can rank better on search engines that continue to employ alt tags as a ranking factor. Another reason to go on with alt tag optimization is that search engine ranking algorithms change on a regular basis, and alt tags may acquire more weight again. Alt tags are also important for the image search service provided by Google and other search engines. Whenever users search for images it’s important to have targeted keywords in the descriptions to provide them with more relevant results.
Just like with any SEO technique it’s important to keep balance and use ALT tag optimization with a certain degree of moderation. You shouldn’t stuff your picture descriptions with keywords for this will have an adverse effect on the user’s experience of your visitors, especially the visually impaired ones. You should remember that there’re Internet users who have web pages read aloud to them by special software and long ALT tags will completely spoil their impression of your website. It’s also critical to only use the keywords that are relevant to the image in order to provide for higher relevancy.
ALT Tag optimization is just one component of a SEO strategy that alone won’t much affect your rankings, but it can effectively reinforce other optimization efforts leading your SEO campaign to success.
The overall impact of using ALT tags, in terms of search engine optimization, is low. As they have become abused by webmasters who fill alt tags with streams of keywords, the major search engines have lowered the importance of ALT tags in their algorithms. However, ALT tags are a required element for standards-based HTML coding. Every image must have an ALT tag, and each ALT tag must be properly implemented.