Images, Videos and Games

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    It might seem odd to have a headline containing three concepts that differ so much from each other such as pictures, videos and games. But the truth is that in the eyes of a search engine, these are very much alike. All of them actually look like an empty black box on the page. This is a problem, but there are methods to explain to a search engine what is actually published on the page. Often, it comes back to what is nearby.

    Alt Attributes

    There are several signals telling Google what is in a picture, the most important is the Alt attribute. The Alt attribute is set in the image tag. See below:

    <img src=”rocketpic.jpg” alt=”Big red rocket”>

    The actual point of an alt attribute is to describe the image to someone who for some reason does not have images activated in their browser. The reason for this might be a visual impairment, meaning you get the content read to you. Most commonly in those cases, the alt attribute is what is read.

    This factor contributes to Google taking alt attributes seriously. If you describe what’s in the image on that small line, you will improve your chances of being visible in the search results. This does not only apply to image search, but the alt attribute has also been shown to have great correlation with the page’s placement in the ordinary search results. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but there are several different studies indicating that the alt attribute matters. It is also important to use it for sake of image searches and it’s not that time consuming compared to other search engine optimization measures.

    Here, there are a number of things to take into consideration. You should not just stuff the alt text with keywords. To begin with, the purpose of the alt attribute is to describe the image. If the text doesn’t, then it is a derogation from the HTML standards, which is something that Google actually checks manually. If you want to rank on the keyword ‘vegetables’ it is important to have an image showing vegetables, not a space rocket. By using an image of what you want to be visible on, with a well written alt-text, you will improve your chances of being seen, without increasing the risk of any kind of negative reactions.

    Title Attributes

    Using title attributes for images is also useful, even though it doesn’t have the same powerful properties as Alt. In most modern browsers, the title attribute will be shown when you hover your cursor over an image. Links work the same way. Here it is possible to work a bit more freely than with the alt-text, i.e. what you want to show the visitor.

    You add a title to the image in the same way as you add alt:

    <img title=””Another” src=””image.jpg”” />

    There is some disagreement as to whether a picture’s title is actually a ranking signal or not. There is a lot to support the fact that it does matter and implementing it does not take that much time. In a web shop, for example, it’s easy to automatically add product name and price as a title for all product images, or possibly product name and the category to which it is associated.