Alt Text & SEO: Everything You Need To Know

Alt text, also known as “alternative text”, “alt attributes”, or “alt descriptions”, is an HTML attribute that is used to describe an image on a webpage. Alt text’s main function is to assist visually impaired users with understanding an image, its purpose, and the web page in general. When a visually impaired user who uses a screen reading software comes across an image with alt text, the text will be read aloud, describing the image or its purpose to the user. Without alt text, visually impaired users would not be able to derive value from the images on a website! Alt text may also appear in place of its image when the image fails to load correctly. In this article, we’ll talk more about alt text as it relates to search engine optimization so you’ll know when and why you should add alt text to the images on your website! If you have any questions about alt text as it relates to SEO, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of SEO experts at Boston Web Marketing!

Does Alt Text Impact Organic Search Rankings?

While Google has never explicitly come out and said that the presence or quality of alt text will improve your website’s organic search rankings, they have warned about the dangers of misusing alt text, leading search engine optimization specialists to come to the conclusion that alt text may indeed have an effect on a page’s organic search rankings. Specifically, in their documentation about Google image SEO best practices, Google warns webmasters about keyword stuffing in their alt text, as this could lead to a website being seen as spam. For example, on an image of a kitten, Google recommends that your alt text reads something like “orange and white kitten eating cat food out of a dish” rather than “kitten cat cat food kitten food orange cat white cat siamese cat persian cat cat food dish”. While bad alt text practices can negatively affect the organic search rankings of the images on your website, good alt practices can do the opposite, helping Google better understand your images so they can be accurately indexed and added to the search results.

How To Write Effective Alt Text

In order to write effective alt text that can be beneficial to your website’s search engine optimization, it’s important to understand two things: the purpose of alt text, and the search queries that your images are targeting. Accuracy is everything when it comes to alt text, so make sure that the descriptions you’re writing are doing exactly that: describing the image in a way that will “paint a picture” of the context of the image for someone that can’t see it. A good rule of thumb is to keep your alt text to under 125 characters, and be sure to never vague or inaccurate descriptions in an attempt to help your images rank for queries that aren’t relevant to them!

Contact Boston Web Marketing!

If you have any questions about alt text as it relates to search engine optimization, please contact our team at Boston Web Marketing! Our team of experienced SEO specialists help businesses in almost every industry achieve higher search results! Give us a call today at (857) 526-0096 or fill out the contact form on our website, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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