Question: Often times images on a page are used for aesthetic purposes only and may not pertain to the content on the page. Since Google cannot actually read images, would you still use an ALT tag with some keywords in it even if it does not relate to the actual
Answer: Yes, that is true, and you make a good point. Here’s how I look at the problem. Some images are important for SEO, and should indeed have ALT attributes that ‘reinforce’ the keyword content of a page or website. But many are either just small navigation or for look and feel only. It’s a density issue. You might want 20% of your images to have ALT attributes that reinforce your keywords, and 80% empty. You want a page keyword density in the 5-7% range – you do NOT want a 100% dense page (that overdoes it), nor one that is at 0% or 1% (that is too modest.).
In my experience, most pages err on the side of too little density, not too much. So I would recommend in most cases using an ALT attribute even if the image isn’t that relevant. I doubt you will over do it.
Similarly, some pages on the website need NOT be SEO targeted. Flash pages are a great example of this. You might have 20% of the pages on the Website be SEO-oriented, designed to bring traffic in, and 80% just for people who are browing (once they have landed). Your SEO pages are like front doors, bringing the customers in. Not everything on the website needs to be SEO-oriented. Be strategic!
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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