EP 77: What is Alt Text?

I did a four-part SEO workshop on this podcast very, very early on, before the first 30 episodes. It's four different episodes with Becca Dilley, and it's an SEO workshop. Part one of four is episode number 20, Part two is episode number 22; Part three is episode number 24; And part four of the SEO workshop I did with Becca is episode number 26.

If you are listening and wanting to dig into SEO and understand it a little bit better, I highly recommend going back to those.

I'm going to jump in today and tell you a little bit about alt text and why it's important. When you are putting together a blog post, the interface will prompt you for alt text for each image that you put up.

Alt text is something that is descriptive, and it's intended to describe to the search engine what the image you are posting is about.

The first thing that you want to do is not heavily load your alt text with keywords. You want to use a couple, but if you're just ramming it full of keywords…let's just say it is a picture of a bride and a groom on a rooftop of a bar in Minneapolis, and you want to describe what they're doing. Say, “wedding couple holding hands on rooftop in Minneapolis.” And that's what's happening. You don't want to say Minneapolis wedding venue name, all sorts of different things over and over and over and over and over again. That's the main thing that you're going to want to keep in mind.

Photo Business Help Podcast cover art for episode 77: What is Alt Text?

And why do we want to do this? Alt text strengthens what you're trying to say in your blog post or article with all of the search engines, bots, and everything going on out there in Search Engine Land.

It improves the accessibility of your website. People can essentially find you easier because the bots are also combing your images, which they can't “see,” obviously. This is a way for not only Google bots–or whatever search engine you're using–to see what you're posting when you have a whole bunch of images flooding your blog posts, but it also allows folks that are visually impaired to be able to know what the image is. That way your images also come through in a different format for folks that might not be able to see them very well, which is something really important to think about.

The alt text describes the image and the function of that image on the page.

Back to our wedding couple. If you are describing different images in a wedding post, you should be able to understand what's going on in each one of them. Not every single one of them is Minneapolis, rooftop wedding, you know, over and over and over and over again.

When you're choosing your alt text, focus on useful, information-rich content that uses your keywords, and uses your keywords in the context of the content that you are providing on that page.

Avoid keyword stuffing, since it's usually a negative and can be seen as spam to the bots.

When you're posting, make sure that you are giving your images a little bit more of a voice. Go into the back end part of WordPress and fill in your alt text for each of your images. It's not only going to help your site be seen, but it will over time really help you be seen in relevant searches. It's good for SEO. This is a helpful regular practice you should get into.

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One final thought on alt text. If you have like buttons or images, make sure that you're describing what it is. Make sure that the alt text says, “button for honey book discount,” or whatever it is.

Get yourself in the headspace of describing what you are showing people.

Hopefully that makes sense. I feel like I'm kind of rambling today but that's a good place to start. Alt text is definitely an important part of SEO.


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