Alt Text and SEO

Does Alt Text Help SEO?

What is Alt Text?

Alt text, short for alternative text, is an HTML attribute used to provide a textual description of an image for search engines and users who cannot see the image. It’s like a label for an image, telling the world what the image is all about.

How Does Alt Text Work?

When a web browser displays an image, it reads the alt text associated with that image. If the image fails to load, the alt text is displayed in its place. More importantly, search engines crawl and index alt text, using it to understand the content and context of images on a webpage.

So, Does Alt Text Help SEO?

The answer is a resounding yes. Here’s how alt text impacts SEO:

1. Improved Image Search Visibility:

Search engines can’t see images like humans do. They rely on alt text to understand what an image depicts. By providing relevant and descriptive alt text, you help search engines categorize your images correctly, making them more likely to appear in image search results. This can drive significant traffic to your site from image-based searches.

2. Enhanced Relevance and Keyword Targeting:

Alt text allows you to incorporate relevant keywords related to your content and images. This helps search engines understand the overall topic and relevance of your page, potentially boosting your rankings for those keywords. However, avoid keyword stuffing; focus on natural language and user experience.

3. Better Accessibility and User Experience:

Alt text is crucial for accessibility. Screen readers, used by visually impaired individuals, read alt text aloud, allowing them to understand the content and context of images. By providing descriptive alt text, you make your website more inclusive and user-friendly for everyone.

4. Lower Bounce Rates:

When images load properly and have relevant alt text, it contributes to a smoother user experience. Users can quickly grasp the context of your content, leading to longer visit durations and lower bounce rates – factors that signal engagement to search engines.

How to Write Effective Alt Text for SEO:

Writing effective alt text is both an art and a science. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Be Descriptive and Specific:

Describe the image as accurately as possible. Instead of a picture of a dog, write a golden retriever puppy playing fetch in a park. The more specific, the better.

2. Keep it Concise:

While being descriptive, keep your alt text concise. Aim for around 125 characters or less, as screen readers may cut off longer descriptions.

3. Use Keywords Strategically:

Incorporate relevant keywords naturally within your alt text. Don’t stuff keywords; focus on clarity and user experience.

4. Consider Context:

The alt text should make sense within the context of the surrounding content. Align the image description with the topic and purpose of your page.

5. Avoid Redundancy:

If the surrounding text already describes the image, you don’t need to repeat the same information in the alt text. For example, if a caption below an image says Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, the alt text can simply be Sunset.

6. Don’t Start with Image of or Picture of:

Screen readers already identify images as images. Directly describe the image without these unnecessary prefixes.

7. Use Empty Alt Text for Decorative Images:

If an image is purely decorative and doesn’t add value to the content, use an empty alt attribute: `alt=`. This tells search engines and screen readers to ignore the image.

Examples of Effective Alt Text:

Let’s see some examples of effective alt text in action:

Example 1:

Image: A photograph of a person hiking in the mountains.

Good Alt Text: Hiker with backpack enjoying a scenic mountain trail.

Example 2:

Image: A product image of a red dress.

Good Alt Text: Stylish red cocktail dress with lace details.

Example 3:

Image: An infographic about the benefits of content marketing.

Good Alt Text: Infographic: 5 Key Benefits of Content Marketing for Businesses.


Alt text plays a vital role in SEO by improving image search visibility, enhancing relevance, boosting accessibility, and contributing to a positive user experience. By crafting concise, descriptive, and keyword-rich alt text for all your website images, you can significantly enhance your website’s SEO performance and reach a wider audience.