Do you use Alt Text tags? How do you use, them? Do you have a particular strategy for the integrated use of these tags? Do you also use meta tags for descriptions and key words?
Many Web development tools include a very easy-to-use dialog box, which then offers the option to fill in text for this tag, or to leave it blank. Apparently, many turnkey site building applications leave it blank by default.
We have a topic, at the moment, where a community member is working on putting in some useful information to these Alt Text tags. But what IS "useful information?"
On our site, we use the tags for two reasons. The main one is to emphasize certain key phrases and words that don`t easily fit into the actual content on the page. For example, we sell "signal" flags. But many people don`t type well, and tend to type "singal" flags into a query box.
We could (and do) use our keywords meta tag to include typos and misspellings, but that`s only one instance. We tend to include the typo at least one or two additional times in the alt text for some of the images on any given page.
The secondary, but just as useful way to work with these tags is to get your site noticed in Google Images. A computer (obviously) can`t "see" a picture and interpret it to mean anything. Unless you have a text description of a picture, all that the search engine can do is read the file name, or perhaps a folder listing, and maybe even some of the surrounding text content. Why make it so hard?
By putting in key words and phrases to the alt-text tags, we`re finding that we improve our visibility not only in the Web search results, but in Images search results.
Some people argue that the alt-text tags should be an actual description of the image itself. So if you have a "Home" button image, the tag should be something like, "Image of Home button." I`d argue that this is a boring application of a great SEO opportunity. Why not have "Home button for key word site and key phrase?"
For instance, we use an eBay graphic logo to link with our feedback page on eBay. Below the graphic we have a short text statement, "Click here to see our feedback on eBay." That`s fine, but all it does it talks about clicking and eBay, and there`s an image doing nothing for us.
If an image is going to get itself onto a page, it`s going to have to work for a living---that`s my philosophy. :-) So for the alt text of that graphic, we might say something like, "Signal flags reviews and comments on eBay." It`s just a little graphic, and most people wouldn`t even notice it as a "graphic image." But it still has that tag option, and search engines will read whatever text is there.