Though they are sometimes neglected, images can be an important part of search engine optimization efforts. Images can be anything from a submission form button to a panoramic picture of a vacation destination. Each image on a website has several ways in which it can be optimized to help contribute to the search engine optimization process.
Image File Name
The filename of the image can be used to identify what the image is about. For example, if the image is of a pink flower, then the image file could be named ‘pink-flower.jpg’. Of course, you have to keep in mind that though this practice can be useful, it can also be detrimental to SEO if it is overdone–having a file named ‘pink-flower.jpg’ if perfectly fine, but naming it ‘pink-flowers-are-great-in-the-garden.jpg’ is not. As a rule of thumb, use the minimum number of words in a filename necessary to describe what the image contains.
Image Alt Attribute
The image Alt Attribute was designed to allow web developers to include a description of the image within the code in case an image is not available to load, or if the browser being used to view the page is not capable of displaying images (i.e., text-based browsers, and screen readers).
<img src=”pink-flower.jpg” alt=”Pink Flower” />
Here we can see that the alt attribute added to the blue widget image describes the image in a succinct yet useful way. Some variations the alt attribute that are better left unused:
alt=”Best pictures on Pink Flower” (this does not describe the image)
alt=”This is the picture of a Pink Flower” (it has extraneous and redundant information)
Don’t stuff your alt tags with keywords, but instead, try to make them as useful as possible. Another way of trying to decide which alt attribute is good and which is bad is to realize that screen reader (tools for making web pages accessible to the visually impaired) utilize the alt tag to provide a description of the image to the user. So make your alt attributes are short and descriptive so that if you could not see the image and the alt attribute was reading to you out loud, the description would be useful.