Image alt text optimization
What is image alt tag optimization?
Image alt text optimization: So, today we’re going to talk about image alt text optimization.
Or image alt tag optimization.
So, the process of optimizing all your images for accessibility issues so that search engines understand them.
There’s a bunch of reasons why you would want to do this.
So stay for the us, because we’re going to talk through the exact, step-by-step process that you need to optimize all of your images in an SEO-friendly way that’s also helpful for users.
image alt text optimization for search engines
Optimizing your images in a way that’s good for search engines and good for users as well.
So let’s dive into this in a little bit, but before we do that, I just want to do kind of a quick reminder here.
So we can zoom out a little bit and really get the context of what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about an SEO component.
And SEO is only one piece of digital marketing.
This is very specifically a search engine optimization tactic.
But there’s a lot of other things that you can be doing in order to drive traffic and customers to your website.
So do keep that in mind.
And within SEO, image alt text optimization is only one piece of the entire SEO puzzle.
So just getting this right, or just getting this wrong, is not going to make or break you either way.
Do keep that in mind, this is only one component.
Image alt text and file names
Let’s talk a little bit this.
So, first of all, state the obvious.
First I will list a few points and then explain that these points include:
- Search engines aren’t humans
- We help them “see” images by naming them correctly
- Also used for accessibility (visually-impaired users)
- 125 character alt text maximum for screen readers
- Don’t forget the filename
- Prone to over-optimization: watchout!
As we say above, search engines are not humans.
They do not view or see images the way that we do.
So we as SEOs or we as digital marketers have to do some things to help search engines along a little bit.
To kind of give them some hints on what that image is about.
We help search engines see images by naming them correctly.
This is also used for accessibility.
So visually impaired or blind users, they use these special browsers that read images to them.
And our image alt text and our file names can be helpful for that.
Helpful for users that are using special browsers, and it’s an accessibility issue as well.
So do keep that in mind.
When you’re writing your alt text, in general there’s 125-character maximum.
So you can populate that as much as you’d like, as long as it’s reasonable.
Don’t forget the file name.
This happens a lot.
A lot of people are uploading a file, it’s called home-page-graphic-6.jpeg, that’s not good.
You can be much more descriptive than that.
So please do it if you can.
And finally, this tactic is very prone to over optimization.
I know this because I used to do it.
I used to over optimize this and it’s not good at all.
When people first getting into search engine optimization, they get really excited about this.
They go through the entire checklist and they say, okay, here’s all the things I need to do to rank higher in Google.
I’m really excited about this.
And then they get to image optimization, and they look at their images, and they just overdo it.
They stuff it with too many keywords and It ends up being not descriptive at all.
This is very prone to over optimization, so please try and avoid it if you can.
Alt text examples
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
I’ve grabbed an image here from Zappos, so we have an image, right.
The file name is mens-boat-shoe.jpeg.
Whenever you have spaces in your files names, you want to use hyphens, not underscores.
So hyphen indicates a space.
So, mens-boat-shoe.jpeg. And the alt text, or the alt tag, is mens-boat-shoe.
This Kind of a standard sort of image and alt tag optimization.
Could be a little better.
Could definitely be worse.
I think this is fine for all intents and purposes.
So that’s an example of what the actual code looks like.
This is within an actual image, so before the image tag closes, both the file name and the alt tag are both there.
Now with that said, this is okay, but it could be better.
So let’s look at an example of kind of like a bad, better, best situation. So here we have a woman.
A redheaded woman.
She’s on a phone.
A bad example might be, image source = woman.png.
So the file name is called woman, and the alt tag is woman.
Better than nothing, but not that good.
This is bad, this is a bad … Not descriptive enough, right?
Better might be, woman-phone.png, as the file name.
And then the alt tag, woman-using-phone.
Better, but could be improved for sure.
And the best might be, you know, a file name called, red-hair-millennial-woman-iPhone10-iPhoneX.png.
And then the alt tag, redheaded-millennial-woman-using-an-iPhone10.
So, much more descriptive.
A lot of different types of phrases in there.
The way to think about this is like, read your alt tag out loud, close your eyes.
Or have a friend, read it out loud to a friend.
Have them close their eyes?
And sort of visualize what you’re saying.
And then see how close that visualization is to your actual image.
If you can be descriptive about it, if you get close, you’re in good shape.
But using the bad example, woman.
If I just said to you, woman, imagine a woman.
This isn’t … It’s not descriptive at all, right.
So, just keep this in mind when you’re doing it.
The rule of thumb here is, be descriptive in both your file names and in your alt text.
It’s great for search engines, it’s one more component of the entire sort of SEO equation.
And it’s also very helpful form an accessibility perspective, for visually impaired and blind users.
That’s really all there is to image alt text or image alt tag optimization.
So I hope this article was useful for you.
You can also read these article: