Image Alt Text: What It Is, How to Write It, and Why It Matters to SEO

Image Alt Tag

If you have a blog you know that writing a post is a pretty complicated job. We have a lot of things to think about when designing text: keywords, formatting, SEO optimization, and so on. After many hours spent on perfecting that amazing post, we finally put the article online and… forgot to take care of SEO […]

If you have a blog you know that writing a post is a pretty complicated job. We have a lot of things to think about when designing text: keywords, formatting, SEO optimization, and so on.

After many hours spent on perfecting that amazing post, we finally put the article online and… forgot to take care of the SEO of the images.

Alt text, subtitles, URL. Are these terms ignored by you when selecting and optimizing your images?

So keep reading this article to learn how to optimize your images for SEO.

Here you will learn:

  • What is Alt Text?
  • The use of keywords in images
  • Other aspects of an image that contribute to SEO
  • Why it is important to optimize your images
  • How to use Alt Text to optimize your images

Starting at the beginning: what is Alt text?

If you work with blogging and internet marketing you should know the concept of the keyword. Keywords are the terms that define your text and the user will play on Google to find your content.

A text that teaches how to tame a unicorn will have as keywords “how to tame a unicorn”, or even “tame”, “unicorn” and variations.

This concept is not strange to anyone who writes for the Internet, but it is not unique to texts.

Images also have keywords

Think with me: How can Google find a particular image? It is difficult for your algorithm to work with something visual, so it needs a description of the image. This is where Alt Text, or Alternative Text, comes in.

Without a good use of Alt Text when uploading and using images in your articles and posts, Google will not be able to find your image when users search, so you miss opportunities to present your work to new readers.

It is important to understand here the difference between Alt Text and the image title. Her title is her name, while Alt Text is her description.

Want an example? Come on. Imagine a picture you took while touring Rio de Janeiro.

The photo is composed of the white sand of the beach, the waves in the corner and Christ the Redeemer in the background. The image name might be something like “DSC98761” or even “Rio Vacation”, but your Alt Text would be something like “Rio de Janeiro Beach with Christ the Redeemer in the background”.

In short: Alt Text is a description of the visual elements of the image (which search engines cannot identify) so that this image is better positioned in searches.

What other aspects of an image contribute to article SEO?

Alt Text is one of the aspects of an image that most contributes to your article’s SEO, but there are other bits of the photo that will dialogue with Google and help your text appear to more visitors.

As we have seen, Alt Text is a description of the visual elements of the image. He says what’s in that photo so Google can direct it to those looking for similar images.

But if you want to optimize your image for SEO, you’ll need to think about three other things as well:

  • Name of the image;
  • File size;
  • Subtitles.

The name of the image, of course, is the name the file containing the image has. It is very important for image SEO (so-called Image SEO) because it also dialogues directly with Google.

The search engine algorithm comes in direct contact with only two aspects of an image: its name and its Alt Text.

It is through these two elements that you can tell Google what that image is about: what its name is and what it is.

Below we will teach you how to write a proper Image Name and Alt Text for the SEO of your article.

Image file size collaborates with SEO indirectly. You may already know that your page load time influences SEO, right?

If your page takes a long time to load, Google will prefer faster sites that deal with the same subject. If your page loads quickly, you will gain this preference.

This is so real that Google itself has found that slower sites result in falling ad and sales revenue. According to the company, a page that appears in 10th place in Google searches and has a load time of 0.4 seconds and then falls to a 30th place, with a load time of 0.9 seconds, will also have a traffic drop and 20% ad revenue!

That is, 0.5 seconds load time can be the difference between the site rendering 20% ​​or so!

And do you know which one of the key elements influences page load time? Win a prize who answered “Pictures!”.

That’s why the file size of your image influences your SEO, even without directly dialoguing with Google. Below we will explain how to optimize each image, including how to make them as small as possible while still maintaining their quality.

Finally, we have the aspect of image caption, which also influences your SEO, even indirectly dialoguing with the Google algorithm.

The Nielsen, one of the largest measuring American companies audience and results, has previously said that ” elements that increase the public’s attention include headlines, large, bold text or highlighted, lists, charts, captions, subjects formatted topics and tables of contents ”.

If you still don’t believe in the importance of subtitles, pay attention to what KissMetrics  said: ” Image captions are read, on average, 300% more times than the body text itself .”

Below we explain how a caption influences your SEO, but we have already advanced that it is a powerful tool to grab your reader’s attention and stand out from other sites.

Always remember that every SEO in the world will not leverage your site or blog if its content fails to hold your reader.

And, as described above, headlines, captions, lists, and good formatting are elements that increase the audience’s attention to your material and often the reader’s first contact with your work.

Why is SEO in images important?

You may think that the most important thing in terms of SEO is the way you produce the text you want to publish or the use of your article keywords.

It turns out that using SEO to compose a blog post is a very demanding task to get the final result as close to perfect as possible.

So ignoring the features SEO for images offers is a mistake many make – and shouldn’t!

Firstly, a good set up of your text images will make people looking for similar images stop on your site, but that’s not all SEO does.

Want to know how it can help you get a better position on Google? Let’s take an example:

Remember that we mentioned above about subtitles helping to keep the reader’s attention in your article? So let’s show you now how a simple subtitle can indirectly help optimize your SEO.

Imagine that you are Google and you are beginning to realize that many people enter Site X through search, but leave soon after. It’s not even 10 seconds in there and it’s back to the search page again.

What do you understand about that? That they didn’t find what they were looking for, right?

So the next time someone looks for the same subject, you would rather show another site than Site X because it doesn’t look very good.

This measurement of how much time people spend on a site before returning to the search is called the Bounce Rate and is delivered in percentages.

If your site has a 50% bounce rate, it means that half of the people who dropped by Google didn’t find what they were looking for and returned to search right away – which is a bad sign.

Your goal should always be to decrease this number. But how? Well, subtitles help capture the reader’s attention, right?

By adding captions to your images, you’ll be able to communicate very quickly with your reader, letting them know if it’s on the right page or not.

A good caption will keep you reading and consequently lower your bounce rate. By lowering this rate, your site will start to be seen as relevant to Google, which will give it preference in search.

Understand how important it is to set up every little field of images, even those that may seem useless to you?

Summing up:

Image SEO is important because it’s your way of talking to Google, directly and indirectly. It will help bring more visitors to your site, but also keep them with you.

Time to get your hands dirty: Optimizing your images for SEO

Ok, you’ve read a lot of theory, you understand why Alt Text and the other elements of an image are important and how they will help you improve the user experience of your site, but also get better placement on Google.

But you want to know how to get the most out of this information. What is a good Alt Text? How to write alt text that works well with SEO? What to put in a subtitle? And in the title?

We’ll help you with this now by giving you tips on how to optimize your images for SEO and how to harmonize them with your text. Let’s start with Alt Text.

The function of the Alt Text, as already said, it is to describe the visual elements of the picture and tell Google what’s there. Not only for Google but also for its users if their browser can’t load the image (alt text will be displayed in this case) and even for non-visual users who use features that read what’s on the screen.

In this case, you need to keep the following in mind:

  • Write Alt Text as if it were for a human, not a search engine;
  • Keep 4-8 words to describe the image;
  • Don’t fill alt text with keywords: Google can detect and will classify your site as a spammer;
  • Be simple and succinct;
  • Think about how Alt Text integrates with text (more precisely the part of the text where the image is inserted).

Some platforms, such as WordPress, already display the Alt Text field as soon as you upload the image, but to add Alt Text through the HTML code, just add ‘alt = ”here comes the text”’ in your tag. Image.

Let’s go to an example? Imagine your site talks about shoes and you have the image of a blue female shoe, those very elegant, in your text. What would a good Alt Text look like in this case?

  • An acceptable Alt Text: “blue shoe”;
  • A great Alt Text : “Stylish Blue Brand X Women’s Shoe”.
  • A Bad Alt Text: “blue female shoes women shoes elegant women blue shoes women female party shoes”

Simple, isn’t it?

Let’s move now to the image title, another element that will contact Google directly.

The image title will appear in her URL and will be high priority when Google searches for it.

The idea here is to put the essential keywords for the image. Here you can already think more with the head of the user who is looking for the photo on Google, so always ask yourself how you would look for the image you will use.

Also remember to avoid misusing keywords and being concise, right? Using the example of the blue shoe photo we mentioned above, we could have the following titles:

  • An acceptable title : blue shoe.jpg;
  • A good title : blue-female shoe.jpg;
  • A very bad title : blue-woman-shoes-women-elegant-blue-party-shoes-for-women.jpg.

Now that we’ve worked with Alt Text and the image title, we’re done talking to Google directly. Now is the time to ensure that the image will work to optimize your user experience.

Regarding the image file size, it is always best to try to keep it as small as possible without compromising its quality. There are a few tips for this:

  • Crop the image in some software so that you upload the exact size you are going to use – do not upload a large image to use it smaller because the user will have to upload it to its original size. Here we like to use Fotor, a very simple and free image editing application.
  • Remove the EXIF ​​information from the image, which will remove the weight of the file as well.
  • There are online tools that help further reduce the size of each image with the lowest possible quality loss. Search for them online.
  • Never upload an image larger than 1 megabyte unless absolutely necessary for some reason.

Finally, it’s time to work with the image caption. It will be one of the first things the user will see when opening your text, so she is a gateway to convince him to stay there.

The caption should always dialogue with the subject of the text and, preferably, complement it, offering information that optimizes your post.

Remember the example of blue shoe? Let’s assume the article in this image is about ” choosing the best shoe to go to a party “. The photo caption might say things like “ An elegant shoe like this matches a long dress,” for example.


Images are more important than they seem. These are elements that determine which sites appear on the second page of Google searches and which ones appear on the first.

In this text, you learned how to optimize them so that they work to give your post an extra push and make your searches go up.

The last tips we can give you are that you should not even ever tag your images, because Google will find out, and also remember that content is always king and make your images enhance the experience of your readers.

Now that you know all about alt text, how about continuing to learn more about images in your marketing strategy? Check out the main image sizes on social networks:

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