Hey you amazing bitches! Today I’m taking a crack at explaining alt texts: what they are, why they’re important, how to do them well, and what fate befalls you if you don’t bother. Tl;dr: write unique, optimised alt texts (or pay me to).
In order to properly understand how to optimise your alt texts, you’ll need to know about keywords. My previous blog post, Understanding Keywords, is a great way to get up to speed if you’re unsure.
What is an alt text?
An alt text is a word, phrase or sentence used in code to describe an image on a website. Alt texts are first and foremost an accessibility tool for people with vision impairments or shitty internet that can’t load images.
Alt texts are used to describe the contents of an image so that any person who cannot see the image will not miss any information that the image would otherwise provide. There’s no reason why anyone should lose the context that’s provided by an image just because the image isn’t visible.
Why are alt texts important for SEO?
Search engines such as Google are also blind. It’s an algorithm; it doesn’t have eyeballs, so it has to rely on the alt text just as a visually impaired person would. This means that the alt text is an important place for google to read when identifying the topic of a page. As such, it’s an important place to use your target keywords for the page on which the image is placed.
Including alt texts to the images on your Etsy listings or in your website is a great way to improve your SEO, while Faire SEO and some other wholesale maketplaces pull the image alt texts directly from the product name (or product title, whatever they’re calling it) – making it even more important that you’re using your keywords correctly across the board!
What makes a good alt text?
Hot tip: Include your keywords! However, when it comes to writing alt texts for product images, it’s important to remember not to just stuff it full of keywords: it must make sense if dictated aloud by a screen reader. For every alt text you write, I want you to say it out loud and make sure it’s not just a list of words. It can be just a word or two, or a sentence – length isn’t too much of a factor here, but it needs to make sense.
You can use a template approach to writing your alt texts, as often they are short enough to not count as duplicate content – as long as you’re changing your target keywords or at least something in the text.
What if I don’t wanna?
Then your content isn’t as optimised as it could be, and you’ll miss out on the increased rankings and therefore increased traffic to your products. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, just pay me to do it! Its what I'm all about in my SEO for small creative businesses company, so it would be my pleasure.