Alt Text: What It Is and How it Can Help Your SEO Strategy

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BY Chris Loomis

Perhaps you have already heard about alt text. For starters, alt text describes the accompanying photos in case the latter is unable to download correctly. It is also the words read aloud by screen readers which is very helpful for visually-challenged users whenever they are browsing the Internet. 

But did you know that alt text can do more to your website than you think? This simple guide will help you understand how alt text works, and how it can help with your SEO strategy. 


How alt text helps in image SEO 

As mentioned, alt text describes a content image and its context. It is usually the text that appears when an image does not appear or load properly on the site. That means it helps the user describe what the image is all about even if you do not see the photo itself. It is often confused with the alt tag and is included in the HTML code. 

Putting alt text to your content images is a useful SEO practice. This helps search engines read images on the pages better. At the same time, improves the users’ experience with the content and the page as a whole. 

If you want engaging and visually-pleasing content, you need to include images. That means you should put embedded images instead of a hyperlink on your content. If you search for a pizza recipe, for example, photos of various pizza recipes will appear on top of your search results.

Google knows how important alt tags are since 2007. Using alt texts for content images may still seem like a new thing to some people. But by now, you should already know why you should utilize alt texts in your online content. 


How to write an effective alt text 

Writing an alt text needs a little practice. It enables you to use related keywords that will help enrich your content and enjoyed by your audience. Here are ways to write an effective alt text: 


  • Do not only simply describe the photo. Provide also a context to it (ex. What is the photo about? Why is the person using that object? Etc.) 
  • Keep the alt text short but direct to the point. Avoid using alt texts such as “This is a photo of a child eating his vegetables” and other descriptions that are self-explanatory. 
  • Use relevant keywords. However, avoid keyword stuffing as it also applies to alt texts. 
  • Make your alt text as specific as possible. Instead of putting “A dog” as your alt text, you can try “A Boxer dog” (a specific dog breed). Another example is “A child running in the fields” which specifies what the child is doing in that picture. 
  • For e-commerce site photos, avoid call-to-action words as your alt text. Instead, you can specify the brand, color, size, material, and whom it is intended for. 


Like your written texts, the photos you put on your content are just as important. Putting alt texts on your photos is also important in case the inevitable happens (ex. image not uploading properly).


Following the abovementioned steps will help optimize your content and your SEO strategy. An SEO expert in Franklin TN will help optimize your digital content. 

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