05 Dec How to add ‘alt’ tags and optimise your images?
What are the best practices for image attributes?
Image alt attribute should be specific but also representing the topic of the page . Here are a few highlights writing effective image alt attribute:
- Describe the image in more detail. You can use both the image’s context and subject
- Add context that relates to web page’s content. If the image doesn’t feature a person or place, then add context based on the topic of the web page. For example, the alt text for an image of a person typing on a device could be “Man optimising Shopify website for SEO” or “Man researching free content platforms,” depending on the topic and context of the webpage.
- Make sure to shorten your alt text to fewer than 125 characters. Screen-reading tools typically stop reading alt text at this point, cutting off long-winded alt text at awkward moments when verbalizing this description for the visually impaired.Google will identify it as an image from the article’s HTML source code.
- Include your best keywords. Only use your article’s target keyword if it’s easily included in your alt text. If not, consider semantic keywords, or just the most important terms within a longtail keyword. For example, if your article’s head keyword is “how to generate leads,” you might use “lead generation” in your alt text, since “how to” might be difficult to include in image alt text naturally.
- Don’t cram your keyword into every single image’s alt text. If your blog post contains a series of body images, include your keyword in at least one of those images. Identify the image you think is most representative of your topic, and assign it your keyword. Stick to more aesthetic descriptions in the surrounding media.
- Review for spelling errors. Misspelled words in image alt text could hurt the user experience or confuse search engines crawling your site. You should review alt text like you would any other content on the page.
- Don’t add alt text to every image. You should add alt text to most images on a webpage for the sake of SEO, UX, and accessibility — however, there are exceptions. Images that are purely decorative or are described in text nearby, for example, should have an empty alt attribute. For a more detailed breakdown of when to add alt text and when to not, check out this decision tree.
How Alt Text Affects SEO
According to Google, alt text is used — in combination along with computer vision algorithms and the contents of the page — to understand the subject matter of images.
Alt text therefore helps Google to better understand not only what the images are about, but what the webpage as a whole is about. This can help increase the chances of your images appearing in image search results.
When creating content on a topic, consider how your audience might prefer to find answers to their questions on that topic. In many cases, Google searchers don’t want the classic blue, hyperlinked search result — they want the image itself, embedded inside your webpage.