alt text effect on seo and traffic in google images
blog post | marketing

Adding ALT Text to Images: How Pictures Can Lead to Traffic

Arsham Mirshah Team Photo
Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder

Have you been adding ALT text to images on you website?

If you answered yes, then good!

If you answered no, then you are about to find out how ALT text can help generate more traffic to your website, and potentially more conversions.

What is ALT Text?

ALT text, or ALT tag as it is sometimes reffered to, is an HTML attribute that specifies alternative text that is to be displayed when an image cannot be displayed. To break it down… let’s say you are searching the internet using a browser that does not support images. When you come to a site with many images instead of seeing just a bunch of blank spots where the images would have been, you will see the ALT text that should be describing the image.

What Should Be in an ALT Tag?

I, like many others, like to think of an ALT tag as a description of the image you are displaying.

For instance, if you have an image of a golden retriever playing with a ball, your ALT text could be something as simple as alt=”golden retriever playing with ball”. As you can see from the example, you should only use a few words when adding ALT text to images. This is a clear and simple way to explain the image you are trying to display. You don’t want to have a long, unnecessary description, and you definitely do not want to jam a bunch of keywords into the ALT tag.

Wait, keywords?

Yes, keywords.

ALT text can offer great opportunities for targeting keywords that can help generate traffic and better placement on the SERPs. However,  you want to make sure that you are only targeting one keyword, and that the keyword is related to the picture and to the content on which the image is placed. You should avoid having a page about “Bathroom Remodeling” with an image of a beautiful new bathroom, but have the ALT text saying: alt=”bath remodeling, kitchen remodel, roofing services”. That does not stay in line with visitor usability and sticking with relevant keywords.

Your site may be about “Bath and Kitchen Remodeling” but that image is not, so use another page for an opportunity to target an image about “bath remodeling” or “roofing services”.

How Else Can Adding ALT Text to Images Help My Website?

Back to the SEO benefits of ALT text.

For example, lets say you are searching for an image on Google Images more specifically a picture of a 1967 Corvette Stingray.  So what are you going to type into the search box to find this picture? Well if you are like me and 99% of the population, “1967 Corvette Stingray” would be the first thing to come to my mind. Once you do this and hit the “Search” button, you see pages, upon pages, of images all of which have been indexed by Google through the ALT tags.

Google found all the images with ALT text of, or closely related to, “1967 Corvette Stingray” and gave you the best results that they thought were related to your search. Lets go back tot he above example and say you have a website about Corvettes and an image of a Stringray, from the 60’s, with ALT text similar to the one searched by this user. There would be a good chance that they would click your image and be led to your website.

This can be very beneficial to someone who is selling some sort of product on their site, and has images of the product all over the website. When a user on Google is searching for an image of the same product you sell, they could find your image, be directed to your site, and that could LEAD TO A SALE!

Just from having a few simples words in the HTML to describe your image.

I have one final example of how adding ALT text to images can help your website generate results. The other day I found a blog that described how the owner tested ALT text on his website. His website has a “fairly flat structure” and the only sitewide link to the homepage was through the logo, which he had in his header. Google was ranking two pages on his site pretty well for his targeted keywords, but neither of these pages were the homepage. He noticed that he forgot to add ALT text to his logo. After fixing the problem, within a week his homepage was outranking those other pages on his website.

The moral of this story… it’s obvious, make sure you always use ALT tags on images.

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