Alt text is basically a text alternative to a photo or an image. When an image does not appear on a web page, the alt text is what will be visible. This is helpful for people who use text-only browsers which don’t show graphics, those who use the text-only mode on standard web browsers, as well as the blind who read web pages using speech programs. In addition, alt text also helps search engine robots to make sense of images.
The following are some tips for writing alt text for your photos.
Describe the photo
A good description will make it very easy for humans, as well as search engines, to understand your images. If you are a wedding photographer, your alternate text could appear as follows:
- Bridal party marches towards the podium at the exquisite destination wedding
- The groom poses for a photo at the Hilton hotel
- The live band at the reception of the celebrity wedding in California
The texts in bold are some of the keywords you might want to rank for. One can easily guess that you are a photographer based in California who shoots destination weddings. This is more effective than just having an alt text which just says ‘California wedding photographer’.
It would be very difficult for an image to rank for a general term such as ‘wedding photographer’. You should therefore focus on ranking for more specific phrases which are relevant to your site, but are easier to rank for. To come up with the best niche phrases, you need to think of the following:
- Names of the locations where photos were shot e.g. parks, wedding venues, suburbs etc.
- Adjectives to describe your photos e.g. cool, best, fantastic, awesome, fabulous etc.
- Subjects e.g. breeds of fish, people’s names, types of services etc.
With these ideas, you will be able to come up with random phrases such as ‘Awesome photos of catfish in an Alabama fish pond’.
Don’t use the same keyword
Many photographers think that they will rank better if they use the same alt tag on all their images. This is a big mistake. Repeating the same text over and over will appear spammy to search engines. Therefore, it is very important to use unique tags frequently. Avoid the easy and fast option of using one tag for all your photos.
Alt text alone will not guarantee you a high ranking. There are many other factors that are involved in image SEO. Therefore, you don’t have to add alt text to all your old photos. It would be advisable to focus your attention on the most important photos, and then find out if your efforts result in any additional traffic. If the results are positive, then it would make sense to add alt tags to more photos. Other factors that influence the ranking of an image include size (the larger the image, the better) and age (older images rank better).
Charles writes for promo code for thinkstock and istockphoto promo, and occasionally for Dailyseotip.com. He also blogs about special coupon and discount offers such as thinkstock discounts and istock photo coupons.