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What is image alt text and what it does for SEO?

What is image alt text and what it does for SEO?


You must have heard about the image alt text term and perhaps you wondered what it means. Or, is it and why that much important for your SEO, right? Whether you’re just starting an online journey or need some reminder, here goes our guide to image alt text and how to properly use it.

To put it simply, image alt text is a word or phrase that best describes what is on it. You know that time when the internet wasn’t that fast and took forever to load? Whatever images website would contain, instead of it you would get a blank box, not knowing what it is. Well, the ones who understood the importance of an image alt text would have the description of the image there.

girl working on a image alt text in code section

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Over the years, image alt text developed several other names like alt tag, alt attribute, alt description but they all mean the same. A description of an image and what’s on it.

Importance of the image alt text

Image alt text is used to, as we said, explain the nature of the used image, and this is important for several reasons:

  • Better appearance explanation to your visitors
  • Describing Google the purpose of that particular content
  • Accessibility for the blind and visually impaired
  • SEO benefit

With the right caption, image alt text does a part of your work and helps you look more concise and professional. It’s all about doing what’s best for your visitors, to help them in the best possible way. Maybe they’re not searching for text, maybe they’re using image search option.

Well structured image alt text will get you in those result pages, just like shown in an example below:

example on what is image alt text in search results

In one of our previous articles, we spoke about Medium vs. WordPress, their differences and benefits so, whoever would look for that would get our – not one – but three images with that term. And all among the very first results!

You too can have these kinds of results, if you master the proper use of an image alt text. If you’re using WordPress, it’s even easier. All you have to do is click on an image you’re using, then on edit, and under Image Details insert your caption into Alternative Text space:

How to insert image alt text in WordPress step one explanation

How to insert image alt text in WordPress step two explanation

And, when looking at the code of an written article, the image alt text of used image would look like this:

wordpress vs medium article title written in Medium

But – there’s always a but… Don’t assume that having the functional image alt text is to simply type your keyword. Oh, no. The purpose of having it is to describe what is on the image itself. Only if it’s natural to have your targeted keyword in it, you will add it, otherwise, Google might see you as a fraud. Or spammer. Or both. And we don’t want that, cause it’s bad for business, right? Because Google doesn’t like to be tricked and could very well punish you for not being true.

So, in order to do things right and provide the best user experience to your visitors, you will always make sure to have the right kind of image alt text/description of your article images. And only that kind of descriptions will give you all the benefits both in SEO and traffic increase.

Be sure to follow those rules and you will improve your website’s optimization in no time.


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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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