Alt Text Underutilized Image SEO To Optimize Images Discussion

Alt Text Image SEO



If there's one thing that we can all agree on is the reality that there is a ton of competition online. We're all vying for the top spots, desperately looking for more eyes on the things we write about, the things we believe are important and want to share with others. It's a tough battlefield amongst all the spammers, the black hatters, the blue hatters, grey hatters, search engine manipulation and SEO tactics galore. I could find a more delicate way to say this, but I find this phrase far more fitting.. it sucks.

The bright side is that even if you're behind the eight ball so to speak all is not lost. I don't want to give the impression that "all" tactics in SEO are a bad thing. Clearly, there are strategies that are used in order to make some headway in getting ranked. As there should be, it all depends on how you use them. There are those that are good, there are those that are bad and there are those that are questionable. It's that simple..


As you may already be aware, on page optimization, while tedious is still a very necessary component of SEO for your page titles, your page descriptions, your page url, your keywords, links and meta tags (for the time being, I still ignore those that say that meta's don't matter anymore).

SEO On Page Optimization Infographic


It's All About The Image

Notice the alt tag reference in the infographic ? The alt tag is just another way of saying alt text but it still means the same thing. In short, it's tagging your photos with keywords that others may be searching for that help you create another way to access your website through search. The same principles that you use in on page optimization for your pages are also applicable to your images too. Granted, not every aspect of on page seo can be used on an image, but where they can be are the areas where you need to give special attention to.

For the purpose of this post, the most important aspect of the image in SEO is the file name. Every image has a file name and this is an area that is commonly overlooked in image seo. For example, if you have an image of a computer, you wouldn't give it a name like image1.jpg would you ? Often times, I see this being done. I see arbitrary names given to photos and there's absolutely no relevance or relationship. You're missing a golden opportunity here. This is very simple to change. Taking any image and right clicking on that image will bring up a dialogue box that will give you the option to "rename" it. Simply change the name to a more relevant keyword. This needs to be done before you upload the photo as part of your content.

Now while I have labeled this the "file name". This file name is the same name that you should use as your alt text. Depending on the html editor, css editor or software that you use to create your website pages, you may get an additional box that is labeled specifically for your alt text. If you can't find it, then I would advise performing a search for how to use alt text with your software.

Relevance is important to the image that you're naming, but keep in mind that this is still a keyword or keyword phrase that you're applying to this photo. With that said, you want to make sure that you're applying a keyword that people are actually searching for, otherwise what's the point of applying alt text to the photo in the first place. You will find that I have done this for many of my images and specific alt text has been applied after I've done my own share of keyword research to determine whether it's a keyword that I want to use as my alt text for that particular image.

The Research

As I conduct keyword research for the alt text for my images, I can tell you that a keyword like "seo", generates 90k searches per month and a keyword like "seo degree" generates only 40 searches per month. Needless to say, the research is important. My tool of choice that helps me determine what keywords I want to use in my image seo is: Long Tail Pro which I have referenced in another post on keyword research. This information is quite necessary for meaningful image seo as you determine the alt text for the photos in your posts and your webpage content. Additionally, determining the alt tag for your photos is not about just throwing a label on your photos so employ your keyword research diligently and meaningfully to get the most mileage out of your photos and it will pay dividends in time in more traffic coming to your site not only from the content that you write about, but from your photos too.

If you're a person that enjoys using captions, make sure that you utilize that as another opportunity to embed your keywords as well. However, do not just simply stick your keywords into the caption. Do well to add context to your caption and include your keywords into your captions message.

Before I conclude this little chat on alt text, please ensure that you're also placing images next to content that is relevant to that image. Your content should make connections to your images and vice versa. Just as people make connections to content and the media that is used in the content that you're writing about and promoting, the same can be said about the media and what it is connected to on your page. Image seo is arguably one of the most underutilized methods to get more traffic to your website. It's certainly not instantaneous, but it is worthwhile especially if you're looking at the longevity of your website. If you haven't employed much image seo, I would encourage you to go back through your content and start to add your alt text or revise what you already have in place. It's an easy fix that can lead to more traffic to your website in the weeks, months and years ahead.

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