Alt text. You know it’s important for SEO.
In fact, Google states that alt text is a ranking factor.
With the increasing rise in visual search, it has become even more important.
But beyond the short sentence describing the image, how can you make your alt text better?
The truth is that planning helps alt text, just like it helps every other aspect of SEO.
This should be a strategy that not only makes your alt text more effective, but also gives you more time to focus on high-level areas.
The more integrated you are with your keywords — content, backlinks, and on-page technical components like alt text — the greater your ranking potential.
You can enter your keywords manually, or use a service like AltText.ai.
What is alternative text?
First, let’s start with the basics.
Alt text is HTML code that describes what the image contains. Screen readers use alternative text to help the visually impaired.
Search engines also use alt text to understand the page content and how to index it.
Not having alt text is bad.
Any relevant alternative text is fine.
And the best.
But how do we get there – without spending hours typing them by hand?
Here is how:
1) Prioritize actions, update and add alt text to main images.
You have hundreds or maybe thousands of photographs without alt text, and we know many people who are in the same situation.
You know you need it, but it is what it is. Homeworks. Who has time for that?
Nobody, who is he?
So, to keep it simple, the first approach is to prioritize.
Add alt text to your most visited pages.
Go to your most viewed pages and manually enter alt text for those images.
You can work on your best 5, 10, 20 pages when you have time.
Use AI to update alt text in bulk.
If you have a lot of images, you might consider automating alt text using AI.
A powerful tool like Copywriter can bulk update entire libraries of images in a fraction of the time it takes.
Best Results: Use This Hybrid AI & Manual Alt Text Approach
Then, there’s a hybrid approach – update your alt text in bulk using AI, then look at your most popular posts and optimize them manually.
AltText.ai has an optional human review feature if you’re short on time, but need the highest level of accuracy and reliability.
In addition, some images, such as graphs, require additional time and effort to unpack.
By offloading simple images to AI, you can spend time on images that really need a human touch.
2) Normalize adding alt text
When it comes to uploading new images, just make alt text part of your regular workflow.
There are two easy ways to do this:
- Use a checklist for alt text before submitting your content.
- Use text that automatically creates alternative text when you add or update images.
Most CMSs have a field for alt text, although some make it easier than others.
Allows you to insert alt text from your media library or when creating your post.
Other sites, like .com, require you to do your best to click on your product image.
While many companies are improving their accessibility features (including making alt text entry easier), you may need to get familiar with your content management system (CMS).
By producing alt text for you automatically and in the background, AltText.ai streamlines this operation. It runs in the background and does not require any additional steps from you.
AltText.ai integrations are currently available for , , , as well as the web interface and developer API.
3) Use alt text to provide context and keywords to your images.
Simply describing what is in your photo is not enough.
Although alt text is important, entering “cat” for your pet photo will never help you get a [cat] rating.
Instead, provide context to your image that tells Google what you’re offering as clearly as possible.
Consider a picture of a hot air balloon.
“Hot air balloon” is generic alt text that doesn’t really tell Google what your site is about or the value it offers users.
However, if you title your alt text “Hot air balloon over Napa Valley” or “Hot air balloons and additional supplies for sale,” Google will boost it with additional information from your page. What do you offer and who should you offer it to? Do it? to be displayed
This is where keywords should come into play. You most likely invested a lot of effort in your keyword research. Well, get the most out of it!
Make sure you create your keywords in the alt text.
4) Avoid stuffing keywords with alt text.
Yes, you should include keywords, but do it wisely.
Keyword stuffing not only creates a poor user experience, but it may also appear spammy to search engines.
Alt text should be:
- Grammatically correct.
- A readable sentence or phrase that avoids wordiness or unnecessary descriptions that have nothing to do with the image itself.
This is where your inner poet may need to step in because you want to craft your keywords in a natural, flowing way.
Often times, it’s better to choose just one or two keywords, rather than forcing them all.
Remember, alt text is only one factor when it comes to search rankings. The most important thing is to create a high-quality, recognizable page, and that means writing coherent and accurate alt text.
If you follow the automated alt text path, AltText.ai will always balance keywords with the need for original, non-random, descriptive alt text. By selecting the most relevant keywords for SEO, with the help of AI language models.
5) Avoid using basic alt text formats.
It may be tempting to use a standard format and call it a day.
Let’s say you have an e-commerce store and you have an alt text template: “Product Brand” + “Product Name”.
It’s certainly not better than anything else, but it’s also very generic and doesn’t have all the features people might be looking for.
How to structure your alt text
Combine specific, important details with basic product data.
If you’re selling a popular product, these extra details can give you an advantage over your competitors.
Some common search terms you may want to mention include:
- the color.
- Special functions and design.
- Materials used.
Here artificial intelligence also has an advantage. If these features appear in your product image, they can be automatically detected and linked to your product data.
This is a huge time saver if you have a large product catalog with a lot of basic alt text that doesn’t speak to the customer and what they might be looking for.
6) Do not let perfection be the enemy of goodness
Yes, alt text is valuable real estate in SEO. Do you want to improve the returns on this property? naturally. But if you don’t have the bandwidth currently, just try downgrading.
According to John Mueller of Google’s “Search of the Record” podcast, “If you’re adding alt text for the first time, sometimes even no alt text is better than none.”
Why? From an accessibility perspective, screen readers that encounter images without any text may read unhelpful (not to mention annoying) information, such as the alphanumeric file name of the image. It makes for a terrifying experience.
From an SEO perspective, Google takes accessibility very seriously and any oversight such as the lack of alt text could be seen as a disservice to your site.
Alt text is important for SEO and web accessibility compliance.
You or someone on your team can take a few hours to update the alt text. But if the project takes an entire day or is very expensive, this may be the best way to start.
7) Copy the words into the alt text.
Myth: You may have heard that you shouldn’t include important text in your images because Google can’t read it, so those keywords are lost and can’t boost your rankings.
Fact: There are times when it is necessary to add text to your photos. Maybe text is important to the design, or you have a lot of images that already contain text and don’t want to redesign them.
This is where ALT text comes in because Google sees ALT text as text on the page. Copy the copy in your image into the alt text.
Google can now read text and use it to understand and rank your page.
8) Evolution and adaptation
And now you have the alt text – great!
But as an SEO, you know that this strategy never ends. You must test, develop and adapt.
When the content or keywords change, the alternative text should change too. Make sure your alt text aligns with your current SEO strategy.
When updating, you can follow the same approach as our first tip – update and add systematically. Choose pages that offer the most SEO for your time and effort.
Or you can get an AI-powered alt text generator to execute your strategy for you. It can execute an AltText.ai or a bulk action. Simply tell it your new keywords, and it will be able to combine them into natural, readable sentences – all in one fell swoop.
Now go ahead and alt text!
As you know, every part is important in SEO. This includes alt text – an often overlooked but important component in optimizing your website and making it stand out.
With these tips and tools, you can create alt text that gets results while saving time.