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Image Alt Text and Search Engine Optimization, How Important Is It?

Alt text can help but it's not going to be a major factor unless your site is made almost exclusively of images. The most important web page elements you need to optimize to improve your search engine rankings include the title tag, body copy, link text and incoming links (See the menu links to your right).

Alt text helps search engines and your visitors

Alt text provides a search engine with a "translation" of the content of the image (a search engine can't read the text in an image - at least not yet). Alt text is presented in place of an image if the link to the image is broken or the visitor is using a text only browser. Your visitors may see it.

Search engines don't place as much weight on it as the used to

Because it can be easily stuffed with keywords, Alt text has been widely abused in the past. Because of this search engines don't place a whole lot of value on it. Including Alt text in your web pages is a good design practice, regardless of how much it helps to improve your search engine rankings.

This is how you implement Alt text

Alt text is very easy to incorporate into your web pages. In HTML code, and image looks like this:

<A HREF="http://www.keywordmarketingsuperstar.com/">

<IMG SRC="keyword-marketing-superstar-250x80.gif" WIDTH="250" HEIGHT="80" BORDER="0" ALT="Keyword Marketing Superstar"> </A>

The first part that contains:

<A HREF="http://www.keywordmarketingsuperstar.com/">

is the opening of a link tag. This tells Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer that the image or text that follows will be a hypertext link.

The next part:

<IMG SRC="keyword-marketing-superstar-250x80.gif"

tells Explored or Navigator where to find the image.



is simply the name of the image. 250x80 is added to the name of the image to indicate the size of the image.

Width, height, and border all tell Navigator or Explorer how to display the image.


ALT="Keyword Marketing Superstar">

tells Internet Explorer or Navigator that the content of the image says "Keyword Marketing Superstar". If the image cannot be displayed for any reason, "Keyword Marketing Superstar" will be displayed in place of the image. It will also be displayed when the mouse pointer is over the Keyword Marketing Superstar logo. You can see this if you move your mouse pointer over the logo at the top left hand side of this web page.

If you use images in your web pages, its good practice to include Alt text for every image that a visitor to your site will see. If can also help your search engine rankings, particularly if the Alt text contains a keyword or two relevant to the topic of the web page of which it is a part.

In addition to Alt text be sure to pay particular attention to web page title tags, link text, web page headers and of course, the actual body copy of your web pages.

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