Looking for new ways to boost your SEO? Image alt text is an often overlooked but powerful tool which can do just that. Here we'll provide you with all the tips you need to make sure your images have great alt text to ensure your webpages are at the top of their SEO game.
The Importance of Image Alt Text for SEO
If you want your website to be visible in a search engine, you need to understand the importance of image alt text for SEO. It is an important part of your SEO strategy and could be the difference between someone clicking on your website or your competitor’s. Image alt text helps improve the accessibility of your website by allowing screen readers to access the content of the image. By providing search engines with additional information about the content of an image, it helps them to better understand what is being depicted. For these reasons, it is essential that you make sure to include image alt text in your SEO strategy.
But how do you do so effectively? First, make sure to understand what exactly it is to ensure you are able to write good alt text: Image alt text is simply a brief description that is added to the HTML code of an image. This allows web browsers and search engines to better understand the content of the image. It is important to note that alt text is not visible to visitors, however, it still plays an important role in SEO, meaning it could help you get visitors.
Like with all SEO, Including keywords in your image alt text is essential. By including relevant keywords in your image alt text, you can help search engines to understand the content of your images and thus make your website more visible in search results. This can help to improve your rankings and drive more organic traffic to your website.
Once you understand the basics of image alt text and its SEO benefits, it’s time to learn best practices for writing effective image alt text to boost your SEO.
5 Tips for Writing Effective Image Alt Text to Boost Your SEO
Keep it relevant. Your image alt text should be descriptive, but also related to the content you’re using it for. If you are writing a blog about healthy social practices in the office and you use a generic picture of a couple of people talking in what looks to be an office, you need to provide the context for what is happening such as “conflict resolution techniques for .” This will give the needed context for the crawlers to know how your image is connected to your topic.
Be concise. Your image alt text should be as short and to the point as possible. It’s important to convey information with a few words, as search engines typically only read the first few words of your image alt text. Try to aim for around 100 characters or less (although some sources may say up to 150).
Include keywords. When creating your image alt text, include relevant keywords to help your website rank higher. Your keywords should accurately describe your image, but also be related to what readers are searching for. One technique is to look at the keywords in your title (or the subheading with the picture in it), and apply them to help describe the image.
Stay away from generic terms. Stating only generic terms like “water” or “nature” are not going to be very helpful when it comes to SEO, so be sure to avoid only using these in your image alt text. Instead, focus on the content of your image and be specific when describing it, such as “Elkhorn Slough, California coastal estuary conservation method to protect wildlife.”
Proofread. Before you publish, take a moment to proofread your image alt text and make sure it’s accurate and SEO-friendly. A well-written image alt text can help boost your SEO and make your content more accessible.
By following these tips for image alt text, you can help your website rank higher in search engine results and make your content more accessible. Image alt text is not hard, nor does it take a lot of time, and by following these 5 simple tips, it can help improve your SEO ranking.
Optimizing Image Alt Text for Different Types of Content
Now that you understand the basics of image alt text and how it works, it’s time to learn how to optimize it for a couple different types of content.
For Blog Posts & Articles...
When adding images to blog posts and articles, use the alt text to specifically describe the image within the context of the blog, so that bots know how the image supports the content you are writing about. For example, if you’re writing about the endangered Chinese Giant Salamanders and you have a picture of their habitat, don’t simply write “a flowing river in China.” Write something along the lines of “Chinese giant Salamander’s habitat is in rivers in China.” This uses keywords, and helps the bots have context for how the picture connects to the topic.
For eCommerce Pages...
For eCommerce pages, use the alt text to describe the product. This helps search engine bots understand the specifics of the product. For example, if you are selling shoes, don’t just put “sports shoe” or “athletic shoe” - tell what the product is: “Women’s Jordan 1 Retro high top gray.”
Tips and Tools for Creating SEO-Friendly Image Alt Text
If your goal is to create SEO-friendly image alt text, there are several tips and tools you can use to help you get the job done. First and foremost, make sure that you use relevant keywords in your image alt text. This will help boost your SEO and make it easier for search engine algorithms to recognize your images. Additionally, you should keep your image alt text short and descriptive, so that it accurately conveys the content of the image.
Another important tip to remember is to make sure that your image alt text is relevant to the page it appears on. This ensures that the image is associated with the right content, which will help search engines understand the context of the image and help you get better rankings.
Finally, there are several tools available that make it easier to create SEO-friendly image alt text. These tools can help you generate SEO-friendly content quickly and easily, without having to spend time manually creating the alt text yourself. Here’s an Alt-Text Generator list put together by softlist.io.
By following these tips and using the right tools, you can create SEO-friendly image alt text that helps boost your website's ranking and visibility on search engine results pages.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Image Alt Text for SEO
As you’re learning how to write effective image alt text for SEO, it’s important to watch out for some of the more common mistakes that can sabotage your efforts. Here are some of the pitfalls you should avoid:
Omitting the alt text: If you don’t include any alt text at all, it will be counted as a missed opportunity for SEO. Make sure you always add in at least a few words. With all the tough competition out there for SEO, you want to make sure you grab every chance you get to improve your ranking.
Using overly long descriptions: Image alt text should be short and sweet, so aim to stick to no more than a few words. Grand Valley State University recommends capping it at 140 characters. Anything longer will likely be ignored by search engine crawlers.
No Intro: GVSU also shared another tip some beginners make - you don’t have to start with “image of a…”, “photo of…” or “picture of…” when writing alt text. It already knows it’s an image, so just write about it.
Not using keywords: Including keywords in your image alt text is an easy way to boost your SEO. Just make sure to include them naturally and avoid sounding like overstuffing (but with only 100+ characters, we know that can be hard).
Focusing on the image and not the context: Your image alt text should be descriptive of the context in which it’s used, not just a description of the image itself. The text should reflect what the image is conveying in relation to why the image is being used on the webpage.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your image alt text is optimized for SEO and adding value to your content. By understanding how to write effective descriptions, connecting keywords to your images, and being mindful of the length of your descriptions, you can ensure that your website's SEO will be as successful as possible. Start optimizing today and see the results for yourself!
“Accessibility.” Grand Valley State University. 29 July 2021 (visited 3 April 2023)