Before writing anything about “alt text” I want to place a semantic note that it is “alt text” not “alt tag”. Alt is not a tag rather it is an attribute and alt text is the content of the alt attribute. Moreover, several people still say this wrongly the “alt tag”. But, we will call it. “Alt Text”.
ALT attribute we use to add to an image to describe it. This helps users as well as search engines to understand the image and in which context the image is being used. Depending on the content and image, you have to place the alt text. You must not add irrelevant alt text just for making your image rank for the keyword rather you should use meaningful keyword for the image which must be related to it.
Including alt text is a part of Image SEO which comes under On-Page SEO Optimization. So, you have to keep this in mind while you are working on your content.
For better understanding, Let’s take an example of this image:
We can use different alt texts with the same image according to the context. If this image is used with an article about goggles then we might use alt text as “lady wearing Goggles” but the same image when used with an article about the knife, we have to use “lady showing knife”.
So here what we noticed is that the alt text of an image tells the user about it depending on the context in which the image is used. So, the context does matter a lot when we use Alt text.
Why Should We Use Alt Text?
Here are few reasons why we should use ALT Texts:
1. Alt stands for Alternative and as the name suggests it is visible on the browsers who have blocked images to load. Yes, there are a number of people who usually block images from loading because of a slow internet connection, then at the time of reading an article they cannot see the image but if you have attached alt text with it then that text will be shown instead of the image.
2. Secondly, search engines cannot index images directly; they index the text part that is attached to it. In short, the alt text or image name (say red_rose.jpg) that we provide with an image is indexed by SEs.
Suppose there is an image of a red rose and you give it the name “Red_Rose.jpg” and attach an alt text “red rose for the princess” Then SEs will read these texts and add this information with the image while storing it in its Database. So when anyone searches for Red Rose or Rose for princess then this image might show up in search results because search engines have added the alt text and the name in front of the image.
3. The third reason is for visually impaired people, the alt text is very important. They cannot see the image but the screen reader software they use such as JAWs or any other can read the text part from the page. So, they can fetch the Alt text as well and speak about it. So, that even a blind person can understand that. That is the reason, we really need to use relevant alt texts for images. You must not just use it for keyword stuffing rather use it for describing the image.
Alt Text for images plays an important role in SEO because while performing an image search people might find images with the Alt Text attached to them. It’s good to put alt text with each and every image and for good SEO practices, it’s much better to write the alt Text after good keyword research according to the content of the site. Moreover, it is suggested to use keywords in alt text, and make sure that it is meaningful.
How to Add an Alt Text to the Images?
Adding an alt text to images is quite easy. Even when you upload images in a certain CMS(i.e. WordPress) then you get an option to put them there But If you do have not any option then you need to do it like this:-
<img src=”…/seo-ecommerce.jpg“ alt=”E-commerce SEO Guide”>
If you use WordPress, then you can see the option to write alt text when you upload any image.
Best Image SEO Practices
- Always use good-quality images on your site which is not blurry.
- Always give names to the images rather than just having image1.jpg or something. I understand at times, it becomes difficult to name all the images while uploading. But, if you do, it will be great for image SEO.
- Use Alt text for each image you upload, and I have described the reasons already. Good for SEO, Good for those on whose computer the image doesn’t load, and great for visually impaired people.
- While uploading the images, compress them to make them lighter so that they won’t impact the loading time of the pages.
- More advanced, you can start using Image Schema as well which helps search engines understand better, and Google may show your image as rich results which can drive more traffic.
Best Practices for Writing Alt Texts
- Keep it short: Just for the sake of stuffing the keyword, don’t make it bigger. Keep the alt text short yet descriptive.
- Use Keyword: You should try to use your keyword but make sure that makes sense and is relevant to what the image is about.
- Avoid Keyword Stuffing: As already said, don’t stuff keywords just for the sake of adding them.
Example of good Alt text usage:
In the case of the image below, here are some possible alt texts.
<img src=”kw.png” alt=”kw explorer”> – This is fine but can be better and more exact.
<img src=”kw.png” alt=”keyword research in Keyword Explorer”> – This is much better than the earlier one as it defines the image a bit better.
<img src=”kw.png” alt=”Moz Keyword Explorer tool for keyword research”> – This is the best one because it has the keyword included and also clearly explaining what is the image about. Also, it is not too long.
You can do a lot of things when it comes to images because they can fetch you a good amount of traffic as well. So, why not start focusing on Image SEO as well? Hope you liked the blog post.
I think you might understand the importance of alt text. Have any doubts? Or Question?
Please write in the comment box, and I will be there to respond.