Joe Morris photo with title and alt tags

Alt Text, SEO and Good Karma

OK, content gurus, try this one on for size: Your site’s content has been optimized and SEO’d to the point of no return, and yet your engagement numbers aren’t changing very much. You have dynamic content! A great bounce rate! Stickiness! [Insert current buzzword/phrase here!]

As is ever the case, there’s always something else to do. How about making your images do more than pretty up the layout? Make them a part of the overall package by creating alternative, or alt, text to go with each of them.

What’s alt text? It’s text that is attached to an image that describes what the image is, in cases when the image itself does not display. (Not to be confused with a cutline or caption, which appears with the image onscreen.) A picture of a concert, for example, might say as little as “crowd at concert” or expand out to “crowd on its feet cheering at country music star Chris Stapleton concert,” for example.

Good for readers and business alike

Here’s the feel good part: If a reader is using a screen reader because they are visually impaired, the alt text keeps the image’s information from being lost. The screen reader will tell the reader what that image is showing, helping them engage more fully with the page’s content. So the more descriptive and detailed your alt text, the better.

Here’s the good business part: Google likes alt text a lot. If you have alt text on an image, and the alt text even features the keyword related to the content, your image SEO is likely to go up, and will drag your overall SEO along with it. (Warning: If your keyword is “puppies” and every picture is of food, you’ll get your hand slapped. Google rewards relevancy, not overeagerness, when it comes to SEO.)

So, then, the best of both worlds. Your dynamic, creative content gets in front of more people thanks to appearing higher on searches, and all of those readers are able to enjoy what you’ve put out there, stay on your page longer and interact with you and your business more fully.