When providing SEO advice on the topic of website design, we often warn against placing important content into images. This is because search engines can’t read images like a person can. To them, an image with text is just an image. They really have no idea what the image is or if, in fact, it says anything at all. So when optimizing sites, anytime we are dealing with keyword optimized content, we want to make sure it’s standard HTML text. This includes headers, benefit lits, and even normal body copy.
While the search engines can’t read actual images, they can read what we say about the image. This information can be gleaned a few different ways:
- Image file name (image1234.jpg vs. mustang-gt.jpg)
- Text immediately surrounding the image
- The overall content of the page the image is on
- Image ALT attribute in the image tag
When trying to optimize images for image search, all of these can provide important indicators the search engines use to produce the best set of image results. In terms of traditional optimization and website usability, the ALT attribute plays an important role.