Increase your website traffic using alt tags


The purpose of an “alt” attribute, commonly known as an alt tag, is to promote website accessibility for disabled Internet users by indicating with HTML code what an image file is so that screen readers can identify the image. There is another benefit to alt tagging: referral site traffic. By properly tagging images you use to accompany articles or posts online, increased traffic could be driven to your site by Google Images and other search engines.

Image searches yield not only digital photographs, but also any other informational charts and graphs, business logos and PDFs embedded in your content (basically, file formats including jpg, gif, pdf, tif, etc.). I took a look at the October analytics for my personal blog to see what impact alt tagging had.

Overall, nearly 40 percent of traffic to my posts in October came from referral sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Images. Of that, 12.6 percent came from Google Images. Just by addressing accessibility in naming the image files I use, I have increased my site traffic.

Give it a try by setting up an alt attribute style sheet and have your editorial team implement it. After a month, check your analytics to measure any increase in traffic from referral sites.

How to do it

Naming an image file with an alt tag is easy—simply insert a descriptive name in this code: <img alt=“...”.../>. For example, if I insert a head shot of “CEO X” into the body of an interview in my CMS, I want that image to clearly state who the subject is, both to accommodate users with vision disabilities and to make the head shot turn up in a search for CEO X's name. The head shot would be inserted into the html like this: <img alt=“CEO_X”.../> (the “...” indicates any image formatting that occurred in your CMS, including adding a border or margins).

Be sure to write a clear, concise title: “CEO X” is more accurate than “Publishing X Exec” and more searchable. Try to envision what keywords you would use to search for exactly the image you are naming.

Including alt tags is about diligence around SEO best practices to drive incremental traffic to your website.


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