There’s a lot you can do to improve SEO on your site, but one of the simplest is optimizing the alt-text. It’s not a major factor in your ranking, but every little adjustment counts and when it is this simple, how can you possibly refuse?

    Today we outline the ten things you need to know about alt-text, SEO, and how to make your images work for you on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and beyond.

    What is alt-text?

    Let’s start with a confession. Alt-text is not alt-text. Alt-text is actually a contraction, a shorter version of ‘alternative text’ – and that provide a clue as to what alt-text actually is. Alt-text is a part of the code related to an image, and it serves as an alternative to the image if the image itself is unavailable. It looks something like this:

    <img src-“8-things-you-need-to-know-about-alt-text.png” alt-“8 Things You Need to Know About Alt-Text Header”>

    Why is it important?

    There are two groups of people that find alt-text really useful.

    The first are those with accessibility issues. For example, people with difficulties reading webpages because of problems with their vision often use screen reading software to ‘speak’ the webpage to them. When this software encounters an image that, obviously, cannot be ‘spoken’, the software instead reads the alt-text out loud.

    The second group of people that find alt-text useful are not people. They are robots. Specifically, they are the robot crawlers and bots that search engines send across the web to discover your site. The alt-text helps the bots to understand more about the context of the image and the text on the page, and will usually aid in ranking the image in specific image search engines, too. As a result, alt-text is an on-site SEO factor.

    What must be included in the alt-text?

    In simple terms, the alt-text should be a plain English description of the image. The more detailed the alt-text, the better off you will be.

    Imagine you are in the business of selling electronics and you include an image of a portable computer on your site. Which of the following is the best example of alt-text for an image on your site:

    • computer;
    • laptop computer;
    • apple laptop computer;
    • apple macbook air laptop computer; or
    • apple macbook air 13 inch laptop computer

    Yes, the last one is the best. If your electronics store is selling different types of laptop computers you’ll want the image you use to include the alt-text that explains the brand, the size, and the model. Remember, one of the groups that relies on alt-text are those who cannot tell that your picture of a ‘laptop computer’ is from Appel and not Lenovo simply by looking.

    Does this mean I should use keywords?

    Yes. Using keywords in the alt-text is smart and provides additional ranking help for your page (hopefully you’ve optimized the image and the page to the same keyword).

    Note, though, that search engines do not reward keyword ‘stuffing’. Hence, you don’t want to label that image of the laptop with the alt-text:

    apple laptop macbook laptop aid laptop 13 laptop inch laptop computer

    Not only will you feel kinda silly typing that out, but you’ll cop a SEO penalty for doing it.

    Instead, keep it natural, keep it specific, keep the keywords, but don’t ‘stuff the alt-text with keywords hoping for a reward.

    What about formatting?

    Remember that example tag from earlier in the post?

    <img src-“8-things-you-need-to-know-about-alt-text.png” alt-“8 Things You Need to Know About Alt-Text Header”>

    The part of the tag that comes first (8-things-you-need-to-know-about-alt-text.png) is the title of the file. If you downloaded that file then that would be the name of the film, hyphens included.

    But note that the alt-text (8 Things You Need to Know About Alt-Text Header) doesn’t include the hyphens? That’s because, as mentioned earlier, the alt-text needs to be natural text. Imagine the screen reading software going over your text and match your alt-text to what you’d like someone to read aloud to another – easy, right?

    How long should my alt-text be?

    OK. So you understand that the alt-text is a natural, English language description of the image, but how long should that description be?

    Testing in 2014 and 2015 suggests that 16 words is the maximum number of words that a Googlebot will crawl in the alt-text of an image. In reality, 16 words is more than enough for most images. As demonstrated in our apple laptop example above, at seven words we have explained the make, model, size, and type of product. A couple more words might tell us the speed and memory of the product, but it would be a stretch to get out to 16 words.

    Note that you can include more than 16 words, but the evidence suggests that the Googlebot just ignores these.

    As long as you keep your alt-text to 16 words or less, fit in the keywords you are optimizing for, and match those keywords to the keywords on the page, you should be fine for length.

    Should I use alt-text for every image on my site?

    No, there are some exceptions. Let me explain.

    You should use alt-text on the feature images on your blog, the images you use on your website, your headers, in your sidebars, in posts and on pages, and throughout any visual content that you produce and publish online that Google or other search engines will crawl.

    So what do you avoid? In other words, what is left?

    Things that don’t serve a purpose as images are things to avoid adding alt-text to. Things like bullets used to make a list, or horizontal spacers or bars that serve to break up a webpage. A background element that is an image instead of part of the style sheet may not benefit from alt-text, and anything that doesn’t add to the information or value of the page need not have alt-text.

    Should I include information about the size of the image in the alt-text?

    No. Keep you text to useful information that could serve as an alternative to the image in case it could not be rendered. While the alt-text ‘8 Things You Need to Know About Alt-Text Header’ is useful, the alt-text ‘8 Things You Need to Know About Alt-Text Header 1024px512px’ is not.

    Leave the size of the images for the back end, and keep the alt-text for the keywords and descriptions that will help in your SEO efforts.


    Getting your alt-text right is a small part of your on-site SEO effort, but it is an important part. If your images are optimized for search and if you make your site more accessible for those who have issues reading a site normally, you’ll see a pay off in terms of rankings and in terms of traffic, too.

    Do you have any other alt-text tips? Let us know on Twitter!



    1. Pingback: How to Use Pinterest in Your Job Search - Punched Clocks

    2. Pingback: SEO: Things You Should Avoid

    3. Hello there,

      Great article. If I have an ecommerce store that sells beads and I need to write the alt tags for 5 photos of the same items (5 angles), what is your suggestion. The reason I’m asking this is do I have to include alt tags for all 5 images or do I have to write an alt tag for just the first photo?

      Example: Citrine Beads
      My Primary, Secondary, Tertiary keywords might be Citrine Beads, Citrine Stone, Citrine Gemstone.

      If I need to write 5 alt tags for all of the pictures because they are at different angles, would you recommend using any of the keywords since it describes the item? And if so, how do i write it for the different angles. I would love your advice on this.

      Would this be correct for my 5 alt tags
      Citrine Beads Faceted Round
      Citrine Stone Faceted Round
      Citrine Beads Faceted Round Side
      Citrine Stone Faceted Round Top
      Citrine Beads Back

      Many thanks in advance.

    4. Hello there! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you’ve got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your site for more soon.

    5. Hi there! I just want to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you have here on this post. I am returning to your site for more soon.

    6. Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely think this site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

    7. 551877 322724Ive writers block that comes and goes and I require to uncover a approach to get rid of my writers block. It can occasionally be so bad I can barley make sentences. Any suggestions? 5118

    8. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    9. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you should write more about this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss such topics. To the next! All the best!!

    10. Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    11. Right here is the perfect blog for everyone who wishes to understand this topic.

      You understand so much its almost tough to argue with
      you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).
      You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that has been discussed for
      a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    12. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your
      stuff previous to and you’re just extremely wonderful.
      I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you
      are stating and the way in which you say it.
      You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it sensible.

      I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is
      really a terrific website.

    13. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked
      submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

    14. Just desire to say your article is as astonishing.
      The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
      Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with
      forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

    15. Really when someone doesn’t understand after that its
      up to other users that they will assist, so here it takes place.

    16. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉

    17. Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one!

      It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

    18. Hey I am so excited I found your web site, I really found you by error,
      while I was looking on Yahoo for something else,
      Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a marvelous post and a
      all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I
      have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
      a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb job.

    19. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
      was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger
      if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    20. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the most significant changes.
      Many thanks for sharing!

    21. It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and
      it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this post and if I could I wish to
      counsel you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write
      next articles relating to this article. I wish to learn even more things about

    22. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog
      website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had
      been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

    23. It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this
      useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    24. I think what you published was very reasonable.
      However, what about this? suppose you added a
      little content? I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your blog, but
      what if you added a headline that makes people desire more?
      I mean 8 Things You Need to Know About Alt-Text | DOZ
      is a little plain. You ought to glance at Yahoo’s front page and note how they create article headlines to get viewers to click.
      You might add a related video or a picture or two to get people excited about everything’ve
      got to say. Just my opinion, it could bring your website a little livelier.

    25. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of
      plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of
      completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a
      lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without
      my permission. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being ripped off?
      I’d definitely appreciate it.

    26. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
      The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish.
      nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish
      be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly
      again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

    27. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of
      it. I’ve got you bookmarked to look at new things you post…

    28. Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely
      great. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly
      like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it.
      You make it entertaining and you still care for to
      keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you.
      This is really a tremendous web site.

    29. I blog frequently and I really appreciate your content.
      Your article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your
      website and keep checking for new details about once per week.
      I subscribed to your Feed too.

    30. Having read this I believed it was really informative.
      I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this informative article together.
      I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both
      reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    31. Hello everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this site, and
      post is really fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these articles or reviews.

    32. Ahaa, its pleasant discussion regarding this
      paragraph at this place at this blog, I have read all that, so
      now me also commenting at this place.

    33. Hi terrific blog! Does running a blog like this take a large amount of work?
      I’ve no expertise in programming but I was hoping to start my
      own blog in the near future. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
      I understand this is off subject but I simply needed to ask.
      Appreciate it!

    34. Hello to all, the contents existing at this web page are really remarkable for people
      experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

    35. I seriously love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme.
      Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own site and want to learn where you got this
      from or just what the theme is called. Appreciate it!

    36. I think the admin of this site is actually working hard in favor of
      his site, for the reason that here every material is quality based stuff.

    37. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that
      would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    38. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I
      guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and
      say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog
      writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for inexperienced blog writers?
      I’d really appreciate it.

    39. hi!,I really like your writing so so much! percentage we
      communicate extra about your article on AOL? I require an expert
      in this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you!
      Taking a look forward to see you.

    40. Greetings! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx!

      Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent work!

    41. you are really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible.

      It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick.
      Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have
      performed a magnificent task in this matter!

    42. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and
      found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.

      I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.

      Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    43. I’m really impressed along with your writing abilities and
      also with the structure to your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or
      did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent high
      quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice weblog
      like this one today..

    44. Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    45. I got this web page from my pal who told me about this website
      and now this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative articles or reviews here.

    46. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.

      I think that you ought to publish more about this subject, it might not be
      a taboo subject but typically people don’t talk about these topics.
      To the next! All the best!!

    47. Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I
      will be waiting for your further post thank you once again.

    48. I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with
      the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
      Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

    49. It’s very easy to find out any matter on web as compared to books,
      as I found this piece of writing at this web page.

    50. Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this website,
      and piece of writing is really fruitful designed for me,
      keep up posting these types of articles or reviews.

    51. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you
      know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly.

      I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    52. hey there and thank you for your info – I have certainly picked up something new from right here.
      I did however expertise some technical points using this web site, as I experienced
      to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load properly.
      I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that
      I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will very frequently affect
      your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
      Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more of
      your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again soon.

    53. Good way of describing, and pleasant piece of writing to take facts regarding my presentation topic,
      which i am going to present in college.

    54. Wonderful work! That is the type of info that are supposed to
      be shared around the web. Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this submit upper!
      Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

    55. May I just say what a relief to uncover somebody who genuinely understands what they’re talking about over the internet.
      You definitely realize how to bring a problem to
      light and make it important. More people should read this
      and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular since you certainly have
      the gift.

    56. Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. That is a very smartly written article.
      I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful information. Thank you for
      the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

    Leave A Reply