ALT Text is extra text you can give to an image on your website. This texts helps Google understand what the image contains and also serves to aid the visually impaired. Filling out your ALT text fields is a great way to boost your Image SEO and rank for more keywords. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to get your images to show up on Google Images which can drive a lot of traffic to your site. In this article I’m going to go over Alt Text best practices so you can do image SEO the right way.
I’ve helped thousands of clients with their SEO and I have seen one common mistake that I want to share with you. This one common mistake is one you don’t want to make!
If you have absolutely no clue what ALT Text is, don't worry! I recommend first reading our Beginners guide to Alt Text.
The Wrong Way vs. The Right Way
There is a right way and a wrong way to do Alt Text.
That’s something people don’t tell you. But I’m here today to tell you the truth and show you the correct way to do your image SEO.
One of the biggest FAILS when it comes to Alt Text is downloading a low quality SEO app that automatically creates all of your ALT texts descriptions for you.
This may sound like a really good solution because it will automatically fill in all your missing alt text descriptions without doing any work.
But the truth is automatic ALT Text apps can actually hurt your SEO ranking.
They can make your Google ranking even lower than what you originally had before you did nothine!
I’ll explain why this happens.
Why are Automatic Alt Text apps So bad?
The reason Automatic alt text apps are so bad is because they cause repetition. If you have a product with more than one image, each of these images has an ALT Text field.
The way these apps work is they repeat your product title over and over again through each image on your single product.
Now your product has a bunch of photos with the same identical ALT Text. This is considered “keyword stuffing” by Google and is a bad SEO practice that should be avoided.
Keyword stuffing is when you repeat your keyword too many times.
If you’re repeating your keyword 10x in your product description, this is keyword stuffing. And if you’re repeating your keyword over and over again on every image, this is also keyword stuffing.
Another name for this is keyword spam.
Don’t spam Google. Google hates to be spammed.
Repeating Alt Text is Bad SEO
By repeating your product title over and over again (which contains your keyword) Google thinks you’re trying to game the system. Even if you did this on accident, Google will penalize you for it.
Repeating your Alt Text descriptions is bad SEO. Google doesn’t like to see repetition anywhere on your website.
Google prefers high quality, unique content.
Repetition looks lazy like you copied and pasted. This signals to Google that your website might be of low quality.
And this might not be the case! In fact, you’ve been working really hard on your SEO and have been spending countless hours improving your site, but this common mistake can set you back.
Alt Text Best Practices
So now that we talked about what not to do, let’s talk about what you can do correctly. We want you to be liked by Google so they can show you in search results. Here are some alt text best practices you can do to rank higher.
Rule #1 Never repeat yourself
So what should you do if you’re guilty of repeating Alt Text?
I recommend fixing your images as soon as possible.
Remember, each image Alt Text description should be different.
Rule #2 Use your keyword only once!
Let’s suppose we have a single product with many images.
Only one image should contain your keyword in the Alt Text.
By using your keyword in one of your product images, you are signaling to google that you want to rank for this term.
So if my keyword is ‘14k gold diamond necklace” I want to make sure that one of my photos contains this in the Alt Text.
Google will see this term (keyword) repeating in your product title, meta description, page title, and product description, and Alt Text Images, and they'll understand, “Oh, I get it! They want to rank for this term!”
Rule #3 Use Related Keywords on the rest of your images Alt Text
The rest of the images should contain different Alt Text. With that being said, it’s okay to use similar language. In fact, I encourage this!
Think of these other images as having related keywords.
They aren’t identical or exactly the same, but they are related.
If your main keyword is “14k gold diamond necklace” then perhaps your other images can contain similar language like “best jewelry gifts for women” or something like that.
Having different keywords in your other Alt Text descriptions is a great way to try and rank for more keywords. Think of it as casting a net into the web and trying to capture more keywords.
I hope this article has shed some light on alt text best practices to improve your SEO!
Doing your SEO on your own can seem like a daunting experience, but I assure you that it’s a great way to increase your traffic in a sustainable way.
Paying thousands of dollars to some consulting company to do your SEO might not even end up in positive results (we’ve heard a lot of horror stories, but we’ll save that for another time).
In the end, it’s better to do your own SEO so you can know exactly what’s happening on your website and how you’re doing. No one knows your customers better than you.
You know the ins and outs of your website, and you can do amazing things, if you just push yourself a little harder.
I hope you take our alt text best practices to heart, and apply them to your online store!
We promise good things will happen with hard work and determination.