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Getting Hits With alt

 |  Interwebs

A thread came up at Mint Pages in which the age-old question “how do I increase my hits?” was asked. Although I’ve covered the subject briefly before, it did raise an interesting point about alt attributes. (That’s right, alt attributes, not alt tags.)

I’m sure you’ve heard me nagging about alt attributes before in the context of validation and accessibility, but how many of you have thought of their value when it comes to SEO and — in particular — Google placement? Ryan, the chap who mentioned alts in his post, said:

A tip I would give is to try and penetrate Google Image results if you can. I put at least one relevant image in every post on my personal gaming blog with relevant alt tags and all, and this gets me about 400 unique visits a day from Google Images traffic alone [..]

Now, for the majority, placing in Google Images isn’t going to do much because your topic-base is too narrow. However, there’s no reason why you can’t use good alt attributes describing relevant images to raise interest and awareness in your pages for ‘normal’ Google searches. Why? Increased keyword placement.

Don’t take my word for it, I have proof, aha! As many of you are aware, I own and participate at the quilting bee. We’ve each got a unique membership number. For years I was the first result in Google for “403” simply because it was my membership number, and featured in the alt attribute of my patch each time a member linked to me. Although my member number changed last year, I am already back on the second page of Google ( for my new q*bee number “123”.

OK, so it’s obvious that nobody is ever going to search for “403” or “123” to come looking for me, but if you apply the same habits to images that are relevant to your website I believe this could help boost Google ranking/placement which in turn increases the potential visitor share for your website.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

16 comments so far

  1. Josh(ua/y) said:

    Google used to focus more on the text around an image rather than the alt attribute. This has been an enlightenment for me, my ways have obviously been incorrect.

  2. Amelie said:

    This is why spammers like to add stuff like [img alt=”spam spam buy pills spam spam keywords spam lol”] to stuff to try and make their PR a bit better. Don’t just use the alt attribute to beef up your rank though, remember what it’s actually there for ;) (general advice to everyone, I know that you know that already Jem)

  3. Jenny said:

    About the images thing, I get loads of hits from a Suri fucking Cruise picture which ends up as a 404, anyway due to the permalinking or something. :| Bloody brilliant, eh?

  4. Aaron said:

    I never thought of it like that. Also, since I have no life and waste my time online, at, you are 4th result when searching “403” and the 8th result when you search “123” because of this post.

  5. Ashley said:

    alt attributes, not alt tags. Ouch Jem. That hurts. :D Someone did a Google search on “images of blood poisoning” and got to my site (it was like 5th on the list or something) which is weird because I didn’t have any images at all. I just mentioned my cousin had blood poisoning on Easter. Long live the bee! *waves a tiny bee flag*

  6. Kristin said:

    I get weird hits at my site sometimes because of alt tags or even because of links I put in my site. It’s weird what some of the people come up with and wind up where they do!

  7. Tracey said:

    No Jessica, there just is NO alt tag. She’s talking about the fact that people refer to it as a tag, rather than an attribute – which is what it is.

  8. Carly said:

    I’ve never looked at it before, in that context. I’ve always labelled my images, but I could label them much better for search engine ranking…wow! I might just have to head over to my brush site tomorrow and rename all the images there!

  9. Vera said:

    So that’s why! I do get around 15% of my hits from google image searches, and was wondering why that was. Of course, the vast majority of them unfortunately get results from my fanlistings page … but hits are still hits *evil laughter*

  10. Jessica said:

    No Jessica, there just is NO alt tag. She’s talking about the fact that people refer to it as a tag, rather than an attribute – which is what it is. I got an email from a php ninja setting my blonde self straight. I dunno why but I get attributes & tags mixed up like I get ids & classes mixed up.

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