The Importance of Alt Tags in Image

This is Amudhakumar and I am here to discuss the importance of Alt tags in an image. This is the text version of the video by Matt Cutts. You can watch the video that is embedded in this video section.


So imagine you've gone to Google Images and you type in a cat, or cat sketch, or something like that.


You might get a picture that looks like a cat. Now, just to let people know, this is wonderful.


Here's my cat, Emmy Cutts. Here she is, she's got a ball of yarn. She loves to play with the yarn.


That's all really handy, but computers are not great at saying, oh, this is a picture of a cat next to a ball of yarn?

The Importance of Alt Tags in Image


In fact, if you go to Google images and go to the advanced search, you can say, show me image typefaces. We can sort of pick out faces from a scene, and it actually does it very well. However, detecting what an image is and being able to explain it is a very difficult problem.


So you shouldn't count on a computer being able to do that.  Instead, you can help Google with that. Now, let's see what this image might look like. If we move over here to the right, this might be a typical image source.


You've got your image tag. You describe what the source is. Here's DSC because it's a

digital camera, blah, blah, blah, 42.jpg. That does not give us a lot of information. 


We want to be able to say, well, this is a cat. It's with a ball of yarn.  We don't want to just say, here's a number.

That gives you virtually zero information. So if we go down a little bit, here's the sort of information that we want to show up.


You want to be able to say, this is a cat, Emmy Cutts, with some yarn. That's not a lot of words, but it adequately describes a scene.


What is an Alt Tag?

It gives you a very clear picture of what's going on. It includes a word like yarn, and then a word like Emmy Cutts, that are completely relevant to that image. It isn't stuffing it with tons of words like cat, cat, cat, feline, lots of cats, cat breeding, cat for all that sort of stuff.


So you want to have this very simple description included with that image. How do you do that?


Well, if you move over here, you can see how we've got this image tag, image source, and we've got the image again. And now we've got an Alt tag. And Alt stands for alternative text and so if somebody's using a screen reader or they can't load the image for some reason, your browser can show you this alternative text.

The importance of Alt Tag


And it's very helpful for Google. Now we can see what's going on.


Different people and people who are interested in accessibility can also get a good description of what the image is.


And you're not spamming. This is a total of seven words. Now if you've got 200 words in your Alt text, or, really, you don't need a ton of words.


Because seven is enough to describe a scene pretty well. So if you've got 20 or 25, that's even getting a little bit out there. But this is perfectly fine.


You're talking about what's going on within the picture itself.


You can also look at alternative tags like titles and things like that. But this is enough to help Google know what's going on in an image.


You could go advanced and you could think about naming your image something like catandyarn.jpg, but we're looking for something that's lightweight and very easy to do.


Adding an Alt tag is very easy to do, and you should pretty much do it on all of your images.


It helps your accessibility and it can help us understand what's going on in your image. 


Hope this article provided information about the importance of Alt tags in an Image.  Support this article by sharing and placing your comments in this box.

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You can watch the original video content in the video below:


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