In Part 3 of our series on SEO Fundamentals, how to tag multimedia and use alt-text to optimize your orthodontic practice website search rankings. 

Now that we’ve covered what SEO is in Part 1 and optimizing titles and meta descriptions in Part 2 of our SEO Fundamentals series, we’re going to dive into multimedia use on your orthodontic practice website. 

Photos, videos, and audio content can add impact, information, and insights to your website.

But unless you include image-alt text along with them, search engines will have trouble interpreting and categorizing them. This is because when a search engine scans or crawls your site, it “sees” only HTML text, ignoring images, videos and audio files. 

Therefore, in order to perform optimally in results, all of the most important and relevant content on your site should be in HTML text format.

Of course, that’s not always possible. After all, rich elements like photos and videos are important to a user-friendly web experience.

For this reason, we strongly recommend that you provide alt attributes (or image-alt text), in HTML, for all images (and videos) on your site. The alt text should simply be a text description of the image. There isn’t anything too tricky about what to include in the text, but note that it can be a good opportunity to include a relevant keyword or two.

The impact of including keywords in alt text isn’t too dramatic, but if you neglect to include any alt text on an image-heavy page, it can seriously hurt your search ranking.

Here are 4 tips for tagging images with alt text, to achieve best results:

  1. Accurately describe and give context to the image. Be as specific as possible.
  2. Use fewer than 125 characters. Most screen-reading tools will cut off long-winded alt text at that point, leaving the visually impaired visitor wondering exactly what he or she might be missing. 
  3. Avoid using text that starts with “picture of…” or “video of…” Screen-reading tools and search engines can identify what it is from the HTML source code.
  4. Use, but don’t overuse, keywords. Suggestion: Use keywords in the image that most closely support the keyword topic. For others, stick to simple, descriptive phrases.

In Part 4 of our SEO Fundamentals series, we’ll look at working with links and URLs to improve your orthodontic practice website. OP

Tracy Henry, MBA, is a digital marketing expert with over 12 years of SEO experience. After years of corporate and agency practice, Tracy now leads 3M Health Care search marketing strategy.

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