An alt tag is simply alternate text used to describe an image. All of the search engines out there use text to document and rank pages. As all-knowing as Google is, the bots cannot yet view a photo and then translate it into words. Someone needs to work on that.

In the meantime, it’s helpful to add some descriptive words to the images you place in a blog post. While it’s not necessary it will help drive traffic to your blog. The text you add should describe the content or visuals of the image. This text also provides relevant information to the search engines.

Why should I use alt tags?

Using alt tags provides more information to help increase your search engine rankings and that means your blog has a better chance of showing up on the first page of a Google search.

Alt tags will also increase the odds of your image showing up in an image search. If your image shows up on the first page of a Google image search, chances are good you will drive additional traffic to your site.

Think of alt tags as a treasure map for the search engines.

If you want people to find you, you have to provide an obvious trail that leads right back to your site. As you know, X marks the spot and in this case a bigger X means more traffic.

How do I add alt tags?

You can add alt tags manually or through the your blogging platform.

Blogger

Upload the image to your blog as you normally would. Because Blogger does not have a field to automatically insert alt text you will need to manually add the alt tags to the coding.

Please note: I have changed all < and > symbols to ( and ) for illustrative purposes to force the coding to show up. You will not be able to use the following code unless you change the symbols back to < and >.

(a href=”http://www.tribalblogs.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Treasure-Map.jpg”>(img src=”http://www.tribalblogs.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Treasure-Map.jpg” alt=”treasure map, alternate text, html coding, blogging tips and tricks,”title=”Treasure Map” width=”336″ height=”266″ class=”alignright size-full wp-image-3048″ /)(/a)

In the example above the alt tag coding is in bold. The keywords you use are within the quote marks and those are the phrases that Google will use to identify and rank your image.

WordPress

WordPress provides a text field to automatically insert alt tags. Once the image has been uploaded you can type in your keywords in the field labeled Alternate text, which is circled in red. Remember to separate the phrases with commas.