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There are many lesser, structural elements in the code that you can use that will enhance your relevancy, but aren't entirely critical when it comes to the big picture of SEO. These are all little things, and little things do add up to create relevancy. However, by themselves, they're not going to be a cornerstone of your search engine optimization, nor will they completely push you over the edge toward success. These are things that I consider to be homework elements.
Things you should be doing, just as a best practice, rather than expecting major search engine optimization results from them. These are the alt attributes and the title attributes. Now, the alt attribute is critical when it comes to images, and this is what it surrounds. You see, sometimes, the images do not load. Sometimes, you might be on a bad connection, or a connection where there's many other people sharing the same bandwidth. Many times, I've either been on a commuter train, or in a hotel, or just whatever might be happening, and the images won't load.
Now, this is important if the images are critical in conveying information to the visitor, especially if those images are a call to action, or require a click, and you have to have the label of the image to explain what that click is. And so, also, simply because, the images might not load, but if they do load, people that are using accessibility-based devices still do not see the images.
People using screen readers or other type of accessibility software may not see the words that are contained in the image. And so, the alt attribute provides text and context for the search engines and anyone using accessibility-based software to use your website. The nice thing is, is that you get a tiny boost for keyword relevance, but don't abuse and overuse these elements. These elements are used to provide people the means of navigating your website, even though they can't see images.
So, how does it work? Well, number one is the alt attribute. Alt stands for alternative text. That means, if the image does not load, you can put in the alt attribute, the text that you wish to display when the image is not available. Because it comes from the code, the browser or the accessibility software will be able to be seen or heard based on how people are using your website. And so, the image allows people to see what they need to do, but if they can't see those instructions, the alt attribute provides them in a text format.
And so, in best practices, the text should describe the image, or it should explain the link, as far as where it goes or the purpose of the action. And so, if you're using the image as a link, explain why it should be clicked, and what should be clicked, and what will happen. If you're using images just for decoration, such as a background image or something that's not critical to the content, you don't have to use the alt attribute.
You can just keep it empty, and so anyone who's using accessibility software doesn't get caught up in listening to image alt attributes that aren't critical to the information. When looking at the code, we can find the alt attribute when we look for specific images. You'll have the link to the image source, where that image is located on the server, and then you'll have the alt equals, and within the quotes is where you put the text to explain your image. Here, we have Backpack Cal, which isn't really explanatory.
So maybe, we call it California Hiking. And if it's an image of people hiking, it's perfect, because it explains what the image is. Now, let's look at a different file, out of the code, and this is a filename where it's using image, but it's also linking to a specific destination. And so, here, is a link to go book a package. And so, we can see that it's linking to the tour deal backpack.htm. We can change that filename if we want the name of the page.
However, if it's already ranking and it's doing well, we might not want to mess with it. However, that is one area that we can look. The second area is the alt attribute where we're saying, learn more. We just spent a paragraph telling people how great hiking in California is, the types of options, how many options there are, such as day trips or week-long guided excursions, and what we're asking them is to learn more. Now, do we want them to book now or learn more? I tend to avoid very general statements, such as learn more or click here, and I like to do things that are more specific to the purpose of the website.
So, book now or find availability, those are more specific to the content you're trying to produce. And again, because that is the alt attribute of the image link, you're explaining what's going to happen. And so, that's why I like the check availability or book now, because I'm using active language to show what this image link is for. We can also look at the link title. Now, this is another attribute, beyond the alt attribute, that provides a little bit more information.
So, in this example, we're linking to a PDF, and we can create a title, and our title is Taste of California. And this is what it looks like when someone mouses over the link. They get a little tooltip, that's that yellow box that pops up underneath the mouse. And that tool tip helps to explain a little bit more because we're putting a title. That's the code that creates that tooltip. Now, it's not necessary that you use tooltips all the time. It's just a matter of providing extra information on the elements on your website.
You can use the title attribute and links, images, or any multimedia, and it shows us that tooltip. Now, typically, the title attribute is not used for SEO. It's mainly a usability function that allows people to see a little bit more information about what they can do with this element. From an accessibility standpoint, it provides more context about what is available to do on the page and where the links will take people. So, the title attribute, while not used for SEO, it is good practice for usability.
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