SEO Q & A: Does Image ‘Alt Text’ Matter?

Hello! We are here with the SEO question and answer session. You ask, I answer. No question is too trivial or complicated.

Today we are discussing image alt text. If you are a photographer, you have seen the alt text a lot. And perhaps dread the alt text. Uploading 50 images to your gallery and now 50 text elements needed!
seo question alt text matter

The question is, are image alt texts still important for SEO ranking?

And, as usual, the answer is yes and no – it’s complicated.

First, what is an alt text?
The W3Schools site says, “the alt attribute provides alternative information for an image if a user for some reason cannot view it (because of slow connection, an error in the src attribute, or if the user uses a screen reader).”

First, alt text is used for those visually impaired and need a way to understand what the image on your page is about.

Second, while Google and search engines are getting better and better at interpreting image compositions, they are far from perfect. Alt text can help understand what is in the photo and provide more details than the search engine knows.

Now the question is do you need alt texts for your images?
In my opinion, yes. Alt text is a minor ranking factor. When you upload images, you should add a text that describes the image.

Here is an example.

What would be your alt text here?
shutterstock_130237643 copy

If you said “woman lace” or “woman lace veil” you are referring to keywords – not really an alt text.

What you need is a simple phrase describing the image. How about this: “woman with white lace veil covering her eyes”. Or, “profile photo of bride covering eyes with a white veil”

Are you able to a visual in your by reading the phrases above? If so, then you wrote a good alt text.

But Preeti, I upload a LOT of images in every post. Must I write an individual alt text for every single photo?

This is where I say one has to calculate the ROI. Because alt text are low on the ranking factor scale, you do not want to spend time writing alt texts all day long when you could be doing things with better SEO return.

If you are photographer or publisher or someone batch uploading photos for one page, then create a general alt tag.

For example: Barnyard wedding at Casa Bleu San Jose. This can be used for most of your alt texts on a single page.

A few more things. A trick question…
Is alt text the same as alt tag?
Technically no as there is no such thing as the alt tag. Most people use alt text and alt tag interchangeably.

For the coders out there…
What is the HTML code compliance of the alt text?
According to W3C Accessibility Guidelines, for code to be considered W3C-valid, it is important to include both image alt text and image title text in the image for important images on the page.

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Posted in: SEO

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