Image Alt Text: What Is It and Why It Important for SEO

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Would you like to learn how to create effective alt-text images for SEO? Google Images receives more than a billion queries each day. 20.45% of all search engine queries in 2019 were for images. Writing SEO-friendly image alt captions is one stage in image optimization, which is why it’s so important.

What is Alt Text?

Alt text is a piece of text in HTML code that describes the image. It is also known as “alt description“, “alt attribute“, “alternative text” or “alt tag“. The alt tag technically is not correct because it info explaining what the picture is about.

Chocolate brownie cake piece stacked on a plate with a spoon

Highlighting alt text

Above is how the alt tag looks in the HTML code.

What does it do for search engines and readers?

Whenever media files fail to load, it helps Google to understand the image context thus indexing it. The readers could easily read the written copy of your photos and screen readers use the alt attributes for visually impaired people.

Uses of Alt Text

I will summarize why you should use the Alt tag.

    • Web accessibility becomes better by adding this text to your visual elements.
    • Alternative text is helpful for screen readers to read the details for blind people or have eyesight issues.
    • If loading issues occur, the alt tag shows in place of the image.
    • You provide correct information to search engines that see it as relevant and position it in Google images.

Image pack for longtail keyword chocolate chip cookies on Google search queries

Why is Image Alt Text Important for SEO

According to data, most people search on Google. There are great chances to appear in Google image results. It serves as one ranking signal providing a description of the picture that gives a better user experience.

People with impaired vision get benefits because helps that your content is accessible to all the users. Optimized alt tags can lead to acquiring traffic from Google and Google images.

Here is it:

Give Boost to Ranking

An alternative description is crucial to move from a low to a high position. When you add descriptive text on the images, Google uses this to understand what is it and how it is relevant to the page content.

It builds the optimization on page and topical relevancy. When you create informative and useful alt text your images can begin to display and index in Google images and related queries.

 Google guidelines state:

“Google uses alt text along with computer vision algorithms and the contents of the page to understand the subject matter of the image.”

Alt Text is for Accessibility

If you have vision issues or are blind and can’t get the point that is on the webpage. In fact, you will use a tool to know a clear idea about the topic states. Here, the alt text in images is a helping hand for visually impaired people. In such cases, they use screen readers which read the content on the website.

Many studies reveal that people have eyesight problems and therefore, they take assistance from reading devices to consume the content. These convert the text into audio so everyone can access the information.


Sometimes poor network connection or technical issues affect the image loading. So, good alternative attributes serve the replacement for images.

In short, image alt tags provide the information and purpose of the pictures.

User Experience Increases

Including alternative text in your visuals enhances the user experience irrespective of disability like vision or others. If you can’t see the photos on the web, the alt text will appear. Displaying this will convey the message of what is in the picture.

An image having no alt attribute causes problems to apprehend the sense of the photograph. This impacts bad UX.

Source: Hubspot

Alt Text is Used as Anchor Text

Anchor text can increase positioning and Google uses it to understand the linked pages. It also helps Google’s algorithm to know the site structure and how the context is related to each other.

Improve Topical Relevancy

Topical relevancy means a query related to a specific subject or topic. The search browser looks at the page to determine what is it. Google picks up the most relevant results by crawling through millions of web pages.

Therefore, good alternative tags help your images to show up in top page queries on the 1st.

Image Traffic Move to You

Proper image optimization increases the opportunity of ranking in Google search images. You gain a lot of traffic from search engine images that may play a role in the success of your website.

Without improving alt text, you may lose potential visitors.

How Alt Text Influences SEO

    • Provide information about visuals
    • Show description instead of images while page loading error
    • Beneficial for visually impaired people to consume the website content

You get to know that alt text for images is crucial for SEO and signals for ranking in search browsers. It’s a description displaying what is about the image and notifies search engine spiders so that it can index them correctly. Having no alt attribute setting can have a harmful effect on webpage ranking.

When the browser has technical issues, the alt text on the site will show rather than images. If you miss to include this, the user will nothing have to take away causing a poor UX.

Primarily, people who can’t see can have an understanding of what is added to the image that’s the purpose of the alt text. Thanks to alt text that made it easy and hence improves SEO. When you don’t mention details describing the image no one will interpret affecting user experience.

So, you should make informative and descriptive alt tags.

How do You Add Image Alt Text

Adding alt text in your images is simple and you can do it either from HTML code or a content management system.

1. Go to the HTML code in the image tag and write the alt attribute in <img tag>.

2. In CMS like WordPress, there is a setting where you can add it to a post or page.

Examples of Image Alt Text 

Let’s learn a few of examples how bad and good alt text looks.

How do You Write Good Alt Text?

Here are a few best practices to write alt text for images.

Descriptive and Specific

Always describe image alt text clearly and specifically. So that any person can easily grab the idea of what it is conveying.

Adding One Main Keyword is Good

Use at least one focus keyword where required for search queries. It will raise your page from bottom to top in results. Only include if it makes sense, otherwise, consider LSI keywords or important terms.

Suppose your topic is “how to create a business website”. You might use “business website creation” in your alt text.

Filing Your Alt Text with Keywords is Bad

Don’t stuff your alternative tags with keywords. It won’t help you to high page rank rather will drop your position. Google will penalize you and think your site is spammy.  Therefore, you should concentrate to fit your target term in one of the images if necessary.

Firstly, try to write information-rich alt text explaining the image, and if a description need then add relevant keywords.

Relate Alt Attribute to the Topic

Relevancy is important. For example, if your content has a stock image of a person writing on a laptop, you can change it according to the content of the topic. It could be a “Writer creating content for a blog” or a “Blogger searching for a guest post opportunity”.

So, always keep in mind to add image alt text with topic relevancy.

Avoid Using “Image of” or “Picture of”

Don’t waste your time including these words. Google and screen readers know about it. What is the essential thing? It’s the description of the content. So, jump to the point.

But Wait!

If the webpage has some kind of famous artwork of a person then you can employ specific terms to provide the knowledge.

Concise Your Alt Tag for Ease

Screen reading tools don’t support longer sentences. They stop to read the alt text greater than 125 characters. So keep it below the cutoff values for the sake of the blind people.

Decorative Images Don’t Need Alternative Description

Leave the alt text empty for decorative images. As these visuals are explanatory and any additional info is not required for page rank. Google itself know about them.

Rephrasing Captions is Unwanted

Repeating the words is not a good practice. Never utilize the random text or captions as alt text. Instead of providing further details that actually a photo contains.

Should All Images Need Alt Text?

The simple is No.

If you take the example of decorative photos then these have no important details so you should not add alt text.

Similarly, the “Stock image of a laptop” on a digital company isn’t giving useful knowledge to the reader. And such kind of photos doesn’t impart value in SEO.


What point to ponder on is:

If the alt text doesn’t match the image, leaving it empty is better than giving incorrect text. It also enables the on-screen readers to study the filenames in place of the alt attributes.

See this:

<img src=”company-homepage.png” alt=””>

Wrap Up

You have learned the image alt text for SEO and what tips should consider while writing it. Your alternative description should be informative and useful for the users including people with vision problems.

Creating alt text is essential but it’s not a rule that all images must contain this.

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