Alt Tags

An alt tag is the text used to explain what an image is displaying and is useful for both search engines and users, as it provides a better understanding of the image. There are several factors to consider to ensure alt text is optimized and follows best practice formats, these are explored in our Hangout Notes, along with recommendations from Google.

Google Image Search usually doesn’t find images specified within a CSS background attribute

April 7, 2022 Source

A question was asked in this session about whether a pure CSS background image would be picked up by Google Image Search. John relayed that, to his knowledge, this would not be picked up by Google Image Search. To help Google find these images, it’s best to make sure it’s linked within the page, if you care about the image appearing in Image Search. For Image Search, Google’s algorithm mostly looks at the image alt tag, the title tag, and the text around the image on a page. 

Alt text associated with a linked image is treated the same as anchor text

February 21, 2022 Source

A question was asked regarding an “a href” tag that contained anchor text and an image with alt text. Which one helps Google to better understand what the linked page is about? And does the order in which they occur within the tag matter? John replied that the order of these two elements within the tag would not matter. With just an image, it wouldn’t be as valuable as anchor text, but if alt text is associated with the image they would treat that the same as anchor text. It would be converted into text on the page and treated the same.

He did further clarify that this news shouldn’t mean that all visible text should be removed and alt text relied upon. But it should help to know that you’re not losing anything by including both. Other search engines may not see alt text and anchor text as equivalent and for accessibility and usability reasons it may make sense to have visible text there too.


Img Alt Text is Used for Both Web and Image Search

March 6, 2020 Source

Google treats the text in an image alt attribute as part of the page for web search, as well as information about the image itself, for image search.

Image Alt Text Should Only Describe What’s Shown in the Image

February 21, 2020 Source

Image alt text should focus on what’s shown in the image and not include other associated keywords which are not relevant to the image.

Use Alt Tags as Anchor Text when Linking with Images

August 9, 2019 Source

When using links within images, make sure the alt attribute is being used in order to provide the anchor text that you want associated with the link.

Google Uses Alt Attribute as Part of Anchor For Linked Images

July 9, 2019 Source

For linked images, Google sees the alt attribute as a descriptive part of the page it is on, but it is also used as part of the anchor for the page the image is linking to.

Alt Text Helps Google Understand Pages Beyond Image Search

November 13, 2018 Source

Text in the alt attribute of images is seen as text on the page and can help Google better understand the page a little bit better beyond image search. However, the text in the alt attribute will likely be somewhere on the page anyway.

Check Alt Text is Present on Mobile Version of Images

October 5, 2018 Source

John recommends checking that the alt text is present for the mobile version of images for mobile-first indexing. This is something Google has seen missing from sites that serve different content on mobile.

Data-alt Attributes Have No Impact on Image Search or Regular Search

May 15, 2018 Source

With regard to images, data-alt attributes are used more for lazy-loading and giving other information for images from scripts, but this isn’t used for indexing in any way.

Related Topics

Structured Data & Schema Titles & Meta Descriptions