November 22, 2022 Mark Acornley

The benefits of Alt Text for SEO

Tired of your website’s images getting lost online?

Ever wonder why your beautifully curated visuals aren’t attracting the traffic they deserve?

Enter alt text – the unsung hero of SEO.

Alt text (short for “alternative text”) is a description of an image that appears in place of the image when it cannot be displayed to the user.

Alt text plays a critical role in helping search engines understand the content and context of images, which can ultimately lead to higher rankings and increased traffic for your website.

Alt text also makes your website more accessible for users with visual impairments or other disabilities, providing a better user experience overall.

Alt Text and SEO: The Connection

Alt text isn’t just a tagline for images – it’s the key to boosting your site’s visibility and enhancing user experience.

When search engines comb through your site, they rely on alt text to understand what your images are all about.

That means better chances of popping up in relevant searches.

But it’s not just about SEO. Alt text is a lifeline for users with visual impairments, helping them grasp the essence of your images and making your site more accessible to everyone.

Crafting killer alt text isn’t rocket science. Keep it snappy, descriptive, and sprinkle in those juicy keywords.

Whether it’s a crimson apple on a pristine plate or a majestic landscape, let your alt text do the talking and watch your site soar in search rankings.

Here are three examples of alt text

  • Great alt text <img src=”plane.jpg” alt = “Plane on approach to landing on runway”>
  • Ok Alt text  <img src=”plane.jpg” alt = “plane landing”>
  • Terrible Alt text <img src=”plane.jpg” alt = “plane”>

Use cases for effective alt text include product images, infographics, charts and graphs, and any other visual content that provides important information or context to the user.

By using descriptive and relevant alt text, you can improve the accessibility, visibility, and overall user experience of your website.

Benefits of Alt Text for SEO

Alt text provides several benefits for SEO that can significantly impact your website’s search rankings, visibility, and user experience.

Here are some of the key benefits of using alt text:

  1. Improved Accessibility: Alt text makes your website more accessible to users with visual impairments or other disabilities.
  2. Increased Visibility: Alt text helps search engines understand the content and context of images, which can improve their chances of appearing in relevant search results.
  3. Enhanced User Experience: Alt text provides context for images, improving the user experience for all users.
  4. Better Image Rankings: Alt text can impact image search rankings by providing search engines with relevant information about the content of images.
  5. Reduced Bounce Rate: Descriptive alt text can improve user engagement by providing context for images and encouraging users to stay on your website longer

By using descriptive and relevant alt text, you can improve your website’s SEO and provide a better user experience for all users.

How to Write Effective Alt Text

Writing effective alt text is crucial for improving your website’s SEO and user experience.

Here are some best practices for writing descriptive and relevant alt text:

  1. Be Descriptive: Alt text should accurately describe the content of the image, including any important details or context. Avoid using vague or generic descriptions and instead focus on specific details that will help users understand the image.
  2. Use Relevant Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords into your alt text where appropriate. This can help search engines understand the content of the image and improve its chances of appearing in relevant search results. However, avoid keyword stuffing and use natural language to describe the image.
  3. Keep it Concise: Alt text should be concise and to the point, ideally no longer than a sentence or two. Avoid long descriptions that may be overwhelming or confusing for users.
  4. Avoid Repetition: If you have multiple images on a page that are similar, avoid using the same alt text for each image. Instead, provide unique descriptions for each image to provide users with additional context and avoid repetition.
  5. Consider the Surrounding Content: When writing alt text, consider the context of the image and the surrounding content on the page. This can help you provide more relevant and accurate descriptions of the image.

There are several tools and resources available to help you generate alt text for your images.

Many content management systems, such as WordPress and Shopify, automatically generate alt text based on the file name or caption of the image.

There are also third-party tools available, such as Alt Text Generator and Image SEO Tool, that can analyse your images and provide suggested alt text.

When using these tools, it’s important to review and edit the suggested alt text to ensure it accurately describes the content of the image.

Automated alt text may not always provide the level of detail and context needed to improve SEO and user experience.

Implementing Alt Text on Your Website

Adding alt text to your website’s images is a relatively simple process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify the images on your website that require alt text. This typically includes all images that convey important information or that are used for decorative purposes.
  2. Edit the HTML code of the page where the image is located. Locate the image tag and add the alt attribute, followed by the alt text within quotation marks. For example: <img src=”image.jpg” alt=”descriptive alt text”>
  3. Make sure your alt text accurately describes the content of the image and uses relevant keywords where appropriate.
  4. If you’re using a content management system (CMS) platform, such as WordPress or Shopify, adding alt text is usually a built-in feature. When you upload an image, you’ll typically be prompted to add alt text in a separate field. Make sure to take advantage of this feature to ensure your images are properly optimised.

Here are some best practices for implementing alt text in various CMS platforms:

  1. WordPress: When you upload an image to WordPress, you’ll be prompted to enter alt text in the “Alt Text” field. Make sure to enter a descriptive and relevant description of the image.
  2. Shopify: In Shopify, you can add alt text to images when you upload them to the media library. Simply click on the image, enter the alt text in the “Alt text” field, and save your changes.
  3. Squarespace: Squarespace allows you to add alt text to images by clicking on the image block and entering the alt text in the “Filename and alt text” field.
  4. Wix: To add alt text in Wix, click on the image and select “Settings.” Then, enter the alt text in the “Alt Text” field.

When implementing alt text, make sure to accurately describe the content of the image, use relevant keywords where appropriate, and take advantage of built-in features in your CMS platform.

Measuring the Impact of Alt Text

Tracking the impact of alt text on your website’s traffic and search rankings can help you understand the effectiveness of your optimisation efforts.

You’ll want to use analytics tools to track website traffic and search rankings.

Google Analytics is a popular option for tracking website traffic, while Google Search Console can help you monitor your search rankings.

This helps you to monitor changes in website traffic and search rankings after implementing alt text.

Look for increases in website traffic and improvements in search rankings for images that have been optimised with alt text.

Also, consider metrics such as click-through rates (CTR) and engagement metrics, such as time spent on the page and bounce rate.

These metrics can help you understand how users are interacting with your website and whether your alt text is effectively engaging them.

When measuring the impact of alt text, consider the following metrics:

  1. Impressions: This refers to the number of times an image appears in search results. By optimizing your alt text, you may be able to increase the number of impressions your images receive.
  2. Click-through rates (CTR): CTR measures the number of clicks an image receives relative to the number of impressions. A higher CTR indicates that your alt text is effectively engaging users.
  3. Bounce rate: The bounce rate measures the percentage of users who leave your website after viewing only one page. By improving the user experience with descriptive and relevant alt text, you may be able to reduce your website’s bounce rate.
  4. Conversion rate: The conversion rate measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action on your website, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. By improving the user experience with descriptive and relevant alt text, you may be able to improve your website’s conversion rate.

Use analytics tools to monitor changes in website traffic and search rankings, and consider metrics such as CTR, bounce rate, and conversion rate when measuring the impact of alt text.

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