Yes, I said it, Google is blind. I don’t mean that in a bad way, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with being blind.
Chances are, this post is being read by someone who is visually impaired. This is just another reason that when designing a website, or even a web page, it’s important to write the code, text, and tagging images as if you were writing specifically for someone using an online accessibility reading service.
If you yourself aren’t visually impaired, then it probably doesn’t cross your mind much (unless you do Internet marketing and SEO like I do) to design your site for people who use accessibility services to navigate the web. These screen readers will read the code behind an image. If you haven’t properly set your ALT Image tag, then they won’t know that the image you’ve placed of the Mercedes in your “My Dream Car” article is there. This can dramatically change the flow and meaning behind a given article.
“But wait, didn’t you say Google is blind? Why are you talking about people who use accessibility readers?”
Good question. The Google Bot, or online spiders that crawl the web to see what’s on a given website, aren’t that great at determining images and other attributes of a website that aren’t text. Just like a blind person navigating the Internet, adding specific attributes such as alt tags to your images will help not only those who are visually impaired enjoy your material, but it will also help the search engines and therefore your search engine optimization.
This is a major reason that SEOs, real SEOs, often look at the cached version of a website, look through the code, and look at the site with an accessibility reader such as those found at NVDA (http://www.nvda-project.org/). This allows us, and it will allow you, to see what is being read by Google and those using an accessibility reader on your website.