Search engines still have difficulty understanding images on your Web site, but as Google’s Matt Cutts explains, you can help them out by using an alt-tag.
The alt-tag is attached to an image; you often see it as the yellow box that pops up as you roll over an image. The original purpose of the alt-tag was to help the visually impaired better understand your Web site. It was then used as a place for Web site owners to cram as many keywords as possible in the hopes of ranking higher for a desired search term.
As search engines matured, however, meta-data (the information not readily seen by the human visitor) was discounted in favor of the information they could see, such as titles, headers and body copy.
Then came universal search. Now, when you do a search at Google you may get more than just 10 text links, you may also see images and videos embedded in your results. Because of this reason, alt-tags and image optimization are getting a closer look.
In the video below, also available at the Google Webmaster blog post “Use Alt Attributes Smartly,” Matt explains more about the alt-tag and how Google wants you to use it.
As Google commands, we obey….