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Importance of Using ALT Text and Heading Tags

By Rob Wiley
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004

If you have a website that you want ranked with higher rankings, there are several things you can do on your own to increase rankings. One thing you can do is double check the usage of alt text and heading tags on your sight. I've noticed by not having heading tags and leaving the ALT text blank, search engines like Google will rank you with a lower score. This has happened to some of my pages, so I am speaking from experience.
Recently I did a revamp on some of the pages on my site and noticed that my page ranking had dropped. I couldn't figure it out until finally I caught a clue, and compared my old pages with the new ones. The major difference with the pages I compared was the new page did not have heading tags, and my alt text was not relevant to the page. Those two little factors dropped my page rank by up to two points, incredible! You must be very very careful when updating your pages so this problem does not happen to you.

Below are some tips and ideas based on what Google looks for with its robots to help when you upgrade and or optimize your web pages.

First off, where does Google pull text from your page that is considered relevant? I have read from others and noticed that Google gets it's text from a combination of places such as:

1. Keyword phrase found in body text 2. META description tag 3. ALT text found on the page, most particularly the first Alt text. 4. Heading tags, once again most particularly the first Heading tag. 5. Additional heading tags on the page. 6. Additional body text found on the page. 7. Additional ALT text on the page. 8. Navigation bars 9. General body text 10. Copyright information (usually towards bottom of page).

Now that you know what Google is looking for, you need to know what to put into these areas. As it stands, I have found out the hard way that it is a must for you to use alt text and heading tags.

The text you need to insert into these areas would be the most relevant search terms that surfers are typing into the search engines that relate to that particular page. It's that easy! Not really but if you have not set your pages in this manner or if you are missing any one of the combinations you might be loosing points from Google and other search engines page ranking system. There are plenty of tools on the market that can help with page optimization. One of my favorites is Web Position Gold. Web Position Gold will generate pages that are automatically optimized. The program also has a tool called Page Critic which will analyze your existing pages and offer suggestions for better optimization. You can try the program for free at ( If you have any questions about page optimization just give me an email, or read some of my other articles on page optimization at Happy page building!

About the Author
Rob Wiley has spent the last 14 years serving the media industry in fields involving graphic design, marketing, website design and development. His experience has been shared with numerous businesses that have profited from his advice and skills.


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