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Alt Text for SEO: How to Optimize Your Images

Sep 18, 2020
Alt Text for SEO: How to Optimize Your Images

Introduction

The search engine optimization process includes a series of versatile techniques we can implement to make our content more visible online, many of which concern the use of proper keywords. When it comes to images we place to present our product or services to the audience, it's important to understand that visual content determines not only the page load speed but also has a certain SEO value that we are going to inspect in this article.


If images are an important component of your web content, learning how attributes such as Alt text benefit your SEO endeavors can be of paramount importance. In this article, we're going to see the value of image optimization and the best methods for its implementation.


What is Alt text and how to use it?

In HTML, the Alt text represents a short description of the image we wish to place within our web page. The description, according to Google guidelines, should be a short piece of text that tells the viewer what's depicted in the image or its function (in case it's an image that holds a call to action), generated with the use of appropriate keywords.


However, it's not advisable to stuff your content with keywords even in the Alt text, so if you have several images that you need to place, it's best to leave some images free of key phrases but still create a valuable description.


How Alt text improves user experience

According to a CDC report, there are 12 million visually impaired people over the age of 40, which is a large group of people we need to take into account while developing our online material. People with these types of issues most commonly use screen readers that help them navigate through the internet and interact with the digital content.


Alt text helps your audience get a full grasp of your web page because screen readers tell them what the image is about. Imagine running an essay help service for blind people and you have an image that shows a piece of vital information but there's no Alt text that could help the audience reach that piece of info. Even worse, the screen reader can pick up the image file name and vocalize it, thus bringing in even more confusion with a person who visits your website.


Another way to improve user experience and consequently your overall SEO score is to place product name or code within the Alt text. This can help your audience browse for products much easier through website search. In extent, every time an online user searches for product images online, there's a better chance that your image will show up in the results.


Alt text improves relevance

Google uses a natural language processing algorithm to understand the content on each page it crawls and deliver the most relevant search results to users. The latest advances in AI technology and image recognition allow search engines to recognize objects on an image and determine if the content of the image matches the page title. However, while Google could successfully recognize a specific object or brand logo, it's not likely it's able to differentiate an object with detailed precision.


Let's say you run a used car dealership, which means you have photos of different car brands, models, and production dates. While the search engine could recognize that a car on the image is a Mercedes Benz, your Alt text would help the algorithm understand which model is in question. Therefore, if a user was to look for a specific car, your Alt text could be the edge you need to overcome the competition.


Alt text as a link anchor

It's not unusual to have an image linked to another page; we see that in various calls to action, forms, and emails. Search engines use anchors to understand what's behind the link that the anchor phrase is connected to. This is what some people fail to understand, if the anchor word is irrelevant to the linked page, Google will reduce your SEO score because of misleading anchor usage.


Consider running an online book shop, you have books categorized in different ways and you wish to use images to help people browse for items according to the genre, authors, or some other category. If you were to place an image that depicts a thief and link it to the "Crime" category, this could confuse both search engines and the users. However, if your Alt text explains that by clicking on that image the audience will be directed to a list of Crime books, Google will compare the description with the content of the URL and see that you're not a spammer.


Conclusion

Alt text is not difficult to implement, WordPress offers a series of plug-ins you can use to make this process quick and effective. Avoid keyword stuffing, and make each description as informative as possible to help both the audience and the search bots reach your content faster.


Author Bio:

John Peterson is a journalist and one of the best essay writers with 4 years of experience working in London magazine "Shop&buy". He is a professional mini-tennis player and he has written the novel "His heart". You can find him on Facebook.


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