What is an image alt text?
The alt text, or alternative text, of an image, is a brief description of the image used by screen readers for visually impaired users, as well as by search engines to understand the image's content. To improve SEO, the alt text should be both descriptive and relevant to the image, and it should include keywords that you want your image to rank for.
Why are image alt text important?
Like any piece of metadata, your product image alt text is an opportunity to provide Google with information about your product.
When search engines crawl your product pages, they examine the alt text for images to gain a better understanding of what the page content is about. This can improve your pages' ranking in search results for relevant queries.
In other words, alt text is crucial for helping people with visual impairments to understand the content of images on your store. Screen readers can read the alt text aloud, ensuring that users can comprehend the image's purpose even if they cannot see it.
Here's how to optimize your image alt text.
Best Practices for Optimizing Your Image Alt Text.
1. Be descriptive
When you're writing alt text, it's important to be as descriptive as possible about the image's content.
This means using details like colors, patterns, shapes, and textures to create a clear picture of what the image is showing.
For example, you could write something like this: "Set of four coffee mugs with colorful designs."
Make sure that the alt text gives enough context for people or search engines who may not be able to see the image to understand what it's for.
If the image doesn't really add any meaning to the content and is just there for decoration, you can leave the alt text empty or add the word "decorative" or "background" to let everyone know that it's not important for understanding the content.
While it is important to include keywords in your alt text for SEO purposes, avoid over-stuffing it with too many keywords.
The alt text should be written in a natural way and provide an accurate description of the image's content, without sounding overly promotional.
2. Use keywords
When writing alt text, it is essential to include relevant details that accurately describe the image. This helps visually impaired users understand what the image is about and why it is important.
To improve the visibility of your images in search results, it's important to incorporate relevant keywords into your alt text. However, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing and make sure the text reads naturally.
For example, you could write something like this: "Hardcover book with a red cover, titled 'The Alchemist'"
3. Keep it short and concise
It's great to keep your message short and sweet, but it's also important to ensure that you provide enough information to get your point across.
While it's good to be brief, it's also important to avoid oversimplifying complex ideas. Therefore, it's essential to strike a balance between being concise and providing enough detail to communicate your message effectively.
One way to achieve this is by using clear and precise language, avoiding unnecessary jargon, and providing examples or evidence to support your points.
By doing so, you can make your message more robust and engaging, without sacrificing clarity and simplicity. Remember, the goal is to communicate your message effectively while keeping things friendly and approachable!
4. Don't use the words "image of" or "photo of"
When creating visual content, it is best to avoid using phrases such as "image of" or "photo of" as they can come across as redundant and unnecessary.
Don't be afraid to get creative with your descriptive words and phrases! Instead of just saying "A photo of a sunset," try describing the colors, textures, and mood of the scene to create a more immersive experience for your readers.
Examples of Good Alt Text for Product Images:
- "Black leather dress with long sleeves and a high neckline."
- "Men's blue jeans with rips and distressed detailing."
- "White kitten sitting on a blue couch."
- "Close-up of a red rose."
- "Red dress with white polka dots, product ID 123456"
- "Black leather boots, size 10, product ID 789012"
- "Blue men's shirt, short sleeve, product ID 345678"
- “Stack of fiction novels with different covers”