20 things about Google - Thing 02 - Google is blind
Says it all really. We invest thousands of pounds in marketing and promoting our businesses, we will have a gorgeous website built full of stunning images and wait for the business to roll in. We've spent 3k / 5k / 10k / 20k (delete as appropriate), we've paid for a photographer, we're blogging regularly, uploading beautiful / interesting / stunning (delete as appropriate) images taken on our smartphone or tablet, surely Google is going to love our website????
Er, maybe not, if you've overlooked the basics. Google is blind, it cannot appreciate your stunning images, your beautiful colour swatches, your stylish fonts. Google is monochrome, it is purely analytical and it will analyse your website in milliseconds. This is the second part of a series of blogs that will give you some insights into how Google assesses your website and how you can improve your chances of getting better rankings.
Last time we talked about responsive design. It is of fundamental importance but is something that you don't have a lot of control over. You just take your web designer on trust that they can do it properly and build you a website that changes its layout to make the most of the available screen space.
This time I am going to write about something that you do have the power to change and all it will cost you is a few minutes of your time!
Have a look at the picture on the left. This could have been one that you bought from Stock Imagery or it may have been a photo that you have taken on your digital camera or smartphone. The chances are that, when you have uploaded it, it will have a filename similar to the one you can see.
Google, being blind, can't see that this is a picture of a car so it looks at something called the Alt tag instead. If you have just uploaded the image and done nothing else, the chances are your CMS (Content Management System, what you use to update your website) will have used the filename for default or just left it blank. In either case, the result is the same: it makes no sense to Google whatsoever.
Now look at the image on the right. It is the same image but now we have gone one tiny step further and changed the Alt to something meaningful: "A red sports car". Now Google can understand what it is an image of and is happy. It is happy because it knows than any blind person accessing this web page will be able to fully understand what the pictures are of, just like they can already read the text. All it has taken is a few seconds work, making sure that both the Alt Tag and the Description tag contain this information!
How easy was that? How easy is that to do each time you use an image? That's right, dead easy! In fact it is so easy 99% people don't bother to do it and yes, just doing something as simple as this can make a dramatic difference to how Google assesses your website.
At Access by Design, a web design Chichester company, we emphasise this when training our clients. Those that take our advice on board have given Google another reason to prefer their site over their competitors!
Next time ... watch your language!