Best Alt Text practices For SEO. The First rule of image SEO is to add alt text to your image, and it’s also a fundamental principle of web accessibility. In this article, you can learn in-depth about the alternative text attribute: what is an alternative text and how to write them perfectly.
Let’s get started!
What is an alternative text (alt)?
Alternative text (alt) defines an image on a web page. It lives in HTML code and is not usually visual on the web page itself.
Why is alt text important?
Accessibility is one of the essential advantages of alt text for images. Besides sight-impaired users, it also allows users who have difficulty visually identifying a picture to understand your image content.
So it assures that every website user can admire your content regardless of their visual ability.
While search engines like Google have gotten really good at crawling text content, they cannot cognitively comprehend visual elements. So they require a bit of human direction to understand those aspects, properly index them, and display them in relevant search results.
This means that without appropriate alternative text for an image, search engines wouldn’t be able to understand the images on your web pages. Likewise, they wouldn’t understand when to display them in search engine results, meaning there’s no search engine visibility for those pictures.
Google’s John Muller helps with how best to use alt text in SEO.
Google’s John Mueller answered a query about the best way to use alt text to improve SEO. He also rejected the idea that there’s a limit of 16 words on alt text and suggested methods to use the Alt Text appropriate for search engine optimization.
Alternative Text for Images. is a proper reference ALT text. The primary aim of offering an alt text is to define what an image is about for website visitors accessing the web with a screen reader.
Screen readers have assisted devices that aid those with visual impairments to access documents on the internet and other documents.
A screen reader is a gadget that reads documents aloud on computers so that the user may hear the words written on the screen.
The question was:
“Google declared that there’s a max of 16 words that you can use in your alt text.”
And the question is, does Google read the rest of my alt text, and what does this indicate for usability?
John Mueller answered the question:
“And I think the vital part here is we don’t have any guidelines regarding how long your alt text can be.
So from a Google Search point of view, you can put many things in the alternative text for an image, if that’s suitable for that particular image.”
16 Word Alt Text Limit?
The person who asked the question referred to what they thought was a Google restriction of only 16 words for alt text.
The test was performed using non-existent words (basically gibberish), and it showed that Google couldn’t fetch images by using more than 16 words to search for them.
Testing with gibberish Google results in incorrect “SEO test” results.
The primary intent of using gibberish is an incorrect method because the google algorithm is plotted out to rank exact keywords and not gibberish.
In the case of gibberish, it could likely happen that Google will use the standard algorithm and try to do a straight search from query to a page, which isn’t the way Google usually works.
The extent to which this mistake affects the SEO test stays an open inquiry.
The 16-word limit was determined by the results of an SEO test, not by Google.
John Mueller Explains How to Use Image Alt Text
Mueller then described how Google uses alt text in images and what that means to how you can use alt text for search engine optimization.
“When it comes to the alt text, we mainly use that to comprehend the image better.
So if someone is looking in Google Images for something that kind of matches the alt text, then we can use that to understand that your image is suitable for that alt text on that specific page.
That’s the prior use case of the alt text.
We also use the alt text as a part of the web page. But that, to me, that’s usually already visible on the page anyway.
So it’s not as essential to the page itself.
So I would use it as something that uses the image, and I would use it for usability and Google Images to better understand that specific image.”
The Process of Writing Alt Text Images for SEO
Image alt text for SEO helps search engine crawlers to find and rank your images in the image search. This is the reason why writing the image alt text is so crucial. Search engine crawlers, also known as spiders, are basically robots that search all the content in search engines like Google for new updates and changes. When you add SEO-friendly alt text to the images, it helps Google understand the content of your image and show them in the image in search results. This will help to get more clicks and organic traffic to your website. So let’s find out how to write an image alt text for SEO.
Include Your Focus Keyword, Best Alt Text practices For SEO
Insert your focus keyword in the image alt text where you find it’s appropriate. The focus keyword is what your searchers find for your content. If you include it in your alt text, your ranking in Google’s image search against that keyword improves.
However, you shouldn’t stuff your focus keyword into all images’ alt text as Google penalizes keyword stuffing, and they might consider it a spam site.
Google says that: “At the time of choosing alt text, you should focus on creating useful, informative content that uses keywords appropriately. Content of the page should be contextual. Filling alt attributes with keywords creates a bad user experience and may turn your site into a spam site.”
So you should only include your post’s focus keywords if it is easily added in your alt text and tells about the image. Try using a semantic keyword if it doesn’t match your description.
For example, if your post’s focus keyword is “writing image SEO alt text,” then you should use “optimizing image alt text for SEO” in your alt text.
Best of all is that AIOSEO analyzes your focus keyword and checks whether you’ve used it in your image alt texts. It also checks whether you used it in other important SEO metrics, such as Meta description, SEO title, etc.
With AIOSEO, you have full access to all the advanced and powerful SEO tools and features that you need to optimize and bring more traffic to your website.
Be Descriptive, Best Alt Text practices For SEO
The image alt text should be specific and also describe your image.
Always think about your users, as Google prioritizes user experience.
To get a guide, you should use both the image’s subject and the context.
A good way to explain it is that you’re describing the picture to a blind person. They should understand what your image is all about.
Make It Less Than 125 Characters, Best Alt Text practices For SEO
Make sure your alt text is 125 characters long. A long alt text is difficult to read and not good for search engines. If you can make it less than 125 characters, then it will not be cut off by screen readers. Also, don’t begin your alt text with “image of…” or “picture of…” This is unnecessary information as both search engines, and screen readers will find that it’s an image from the HTML tag.
You should also know how to optimize images in WordPress. Follow the next item to understand how to add alt text images in WordPress.
Adding Alt Text to Images in WordPress
Using WordPress block editor, adding alt text images is super easy.
To get started, just scroll down in the post or page you’re editing and click on the image to highlight it with the blue frame. Next, you have to go to the Image Settings in the right column of the post editor and then type in the alt text in the Alt Text (alternative text) area.
Apply this process to all of your images. Make sure you click on the Update button to save your changes when you’re finished.
Alt texts aren’t visible on your website but can be seen when your image is not displayed.
Final Words, Best Alt Text practices For SEO
We hope that this post helps you understand the process of writing alt text for images for SEO. The more images you optimize with alt texts, the better chance you will have to rank them in image search.
You also have to improve the overall user experience and keep your visitors attracted to your content.
You should also use AIOSEO more often. If you’re not using it, then what are you waiting for? Use it today.