What is Image Alt Text – And How Do I Optimize It?
Have you seen those scary text fields that show up every time you upload images to your website? What ARE those??? What’s that image alt text box??
Stop ignoring this section — It’s so important for SEO! I’m here to give you some answers.
Today, we’re going to talk image alt text and how you can use it to improve your website’s search engine visibility.
What is Image Alt Text?
An image’s alt text describes in words what is shown in an image. Alt text has a few uses:
- Used by screen reader technology to describe images out loud for visually impaired website visitors
- To display instead of the image if the image is broken or loads slowly
- Used by Google to better understand what an image is all about
Note that alt text, “alt tags,” and “alternative text” are all different phrases for the same thing.
When alt text is added to code for an image, it looks something like this:
<img src=”/images/wedding-reception-Cottage-Hill.jpg” alt=”Gold and white wedding reception decor at Cottage Hill”>
But don’t worry about that too much—Your website platform will put your alt text into your image code for you.
Why is Alt Text Important for SEO?
- Accurate, descriptive alt text can help your images show in Google image search
- Alt text containing relevant keywords can help your page or post to rank for those keywords
- Your alt text may be used as the Pinterest description if someone pins your image
Even Google talks about the importance of image alt text, and they suggest that you add it to all of your images (check out the “Use Descriptive Alt Text” section of this article).
Where Do I Write My Alt Text?
Let’s talk about where you specify your image’s alt text.
Most website platforms allow you to enter alt text for each image you upload.
Entering Alt Text on WordPress
When you upload any image into a WordPress page or post, you’ll see the image “Attachment Details” panel on the right.
In that section, look for the “Alt Text” box. Type your alt text there and click “Insert into post” or “Save.”
Entering Alt Text on Squarespace
Alt text for images in galleries on Squarespace is generally added in the “Image Title” box.
*Note that if you don’t want this text to show as a caption in a gallery (which I wouldn’t), you’ll need to edit the gallery, click the Design tab, and disable “Show Title and Description.”
Unfortunately, where you enter alt text for Squarespace depends on the type of block you’re using. My example applies to the Gallery block. For more examples, here is Squarespace Support’s article on adding image alt text.
Ok, So What Should I Write for my Alt Text?
So now you know what it is and where to enter it, but… what should you write?
For alt text, I recommend writing a short description of what is shown in your image. Ask yourself—How would you describe what’s in the image to a friend if they couldn’t see it?
Keep it real, natural, and descriptive. Limit it to one short phrase.
My Alt Text Rules:
- Keep alt text to less than 16 words (any more and you’re probably going overboard)
- Do not stuff alt text full of keywords (“Atlanta Wedding Photographer” is not an appropriate description for every image on your website. Neither is “Best wedding event planner Atlanta Newnan Brookhaven Marietta Georgia”)
Examples of Alt Text for Wedding Vendors
How about some examples so you can see what I mean?
- Good alt text: “Couple having drinks at Juniper Rooftop in Columbus, OH”
- Bad alt text: “Columbus OH engagement photographer” (this photo doesn’t actually show a photographer, so that is a no go!)
- Good alt text: “Bride and groom portrait with fountain at Goodwin Park”
- Bad alt text: “Top wedding planners event planner in Maryland Amy Jane Events” (Keyword stuffing, and again is not relevant to what’s shown in the image)
- Good alt text: “Classic wedding reception at Galwood Country Club in Zanesville, KY”
- Bad alt text: “wedding_026” (not descriptive at all)
What To Do If You’re Overwhelmed
Hey, I know the idea of describing every single image sounds like a ton of work.
If you don’t have time to do it, add descriptive alt text to just 5 images within each gallery or blog post. Those images and the post overall will get at least a little boost.
Or, of course, my team can do it for you if you’re in the wedding industry. Find out more about wedding SEO services.
PS: Use this advice in conjunction with proper image filenames for the best-optimized images for SEO!
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