As compelling as your site images may be to your visitors, search engines have to be told what each image means and how the information it conveys fits with the rest of the content on the page. Learn how to make your images visible to search engine spiders for better SEO.

Site Images

Increasing the visibility of a website within search engines is the goal of all webmasters. There are many factors taken into consideration when determining whether a website rises or falls in the SERPs, but one of the most basic, and most important, aspects is that the search engine spiders are able to successfully crawl the site. Understanding exactly what the search engines can see, and what they can’t see can help you maximize the “crawl-ability” of your site.

Be the Spider

It’s probably not news to you that search engine spiders “crawl” a website, gathering information that will help them determine what the site is about and how it should be indexed. The spiders are essentially the eyes of the search engine, but they can only see and read text; they are unable to decipher images or glean any information from them. This also means that they can’t read any text within an image file.

So while we see this:

blair bad

Search engines see this:

blair with no images

Disabling the images reveals that an information-packed page to the human eye actually provides little for the spiders to crawl and analyze within the on-page content. But just as you optimize your title tags and on-page content, you can and should optimize your images with alt attributes.

Image Alt Attribute Can Help Boost SEO

An aspect of site optimization that often gets overlooked, alt attributes provide a description of the image file contents and are an essential element for an effective online presence. Well written alt tags effectively communicate the content of images for those who can’t see them, including search engines, utilize keywords, and can help give your site an SEO boost because your images will now have a chance to rank in image search results.

Let’s look at a website that uses alt text effectively.

Images fully enabled:

image heavy done well

Images disabled:

image heavy done well images off

Alt attributes displayed:

alt images displayed 2

Notice that when the images were not being displayed, all of the brand logos in the “Shop Headphones By Brands” category disappeared. Adding alt text to the image file preserves their presence on the page.

Regardless of how many images are on your site, if you are not utilizing alt attributes, you are missing out on an easy opportunity to improve the visibility of your site and earn more conversions.

To learn how to add alt attributes to your product images--and how to make your product pages more SEO friendly--but sure to check out out support video on the subject, and for more tips on improving your site's conversion power, be sure to download The Ultimate Field Guide to Ecommerce Conversions.

-Emily Lavery, SEO Search Marketing Specialist