Easy SEO: How to use Alt Text Descriptions

We all know that our businesses need to be as ‘searchable’ as possible.

In other words, when a client is looking for your service or product and puts a search into Google or Bing, your business is the first one there!

The problem is, whenever I start talking about SEO with my clients, time and time again their eyes glaze over! And I get it…it can feel a bit overwhelming.

But I’m here to tell you that one of the most EFFECTIVE SEO practices, is actually the easiest to do!

You might have heard of ALT TEXT before. Basically, it is a description of any image that you post online that allows those who are visually impaired to understand its content. When you upload an image file to your website there is an option to add ALT TEXT.

This is not only an inclusive, ethical & necessary practice but it also allows you to add keywords to an image; ones that search engines will pick up on.

6 Tips For Using ALT TEXT Descriptions

three women in white dresses sitting clicking three wine glasses

1. Be succinct and specific

Imagine that you have 30 seconds to describe an image accurately to a friend over the phone. You want to include the most important things in the image in a way that tells a story without unnecessary embellishments.

Try to be succinct, use full sentences, and aim for between 80-125 characters.

2. Use keywords sparingly

Google is clever…it is on the lookout for those of you who are ‘keyword stuffing’ and it will penalize you. Keep in mind the reason we have ALT TEXT. You want to describe an image truthfully.

If you can add 1 main keyword, or even 2 into your copy….fabulous! But it needs to make sense, so get creative with your descriptions.

3. Never start with ‘an image of ‘ or ‘a picture of’

How annoying would that be to read, over and over again?! You want the user experience to be pleasurable!

However, it is helpful to indicate the context of the image, ie a headshot, an illustration, a chart etc.

three images, one of a flower on a mirror and a curtain in the background. Second, a woman in black and white carrying a surf board walking towards the sea. Third, two vases one with a flower on the window sill

4. Include any text within the image

If there is text in the image itself, then make sure you transcribe it as part of your description. However, you don’t need to repeat the copy if it’s already included in a caption.

5. Don’t make assumptions

Say what you see rather than hypothesize about things within the image, such as a subject’s motivation or something that is possibly going on off-camera.

Don’t assume anything about gender, age, ethnicity or disability either.

6. When NOT to Include ALT TEXT descriptions

Don’t add a description to image files that are purely decorative. This would be something like a brand graphic or a page divider.

The reason we have ALT TEXT is to help someone understand a page better, so anything that doesn’t have a contextual significance is superfluous and therefore an ALT TEXT description is not necessary (…and possibly very annoying!)

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, do get in touch with us over on Instagram.

Natalie x

P.S. Want to learn the 3 Steps To Define Your Brand Persona, click here