Alt tag, the common abbreviation for alternative tag also referred to as alt attribute, is a key aspect in optimizing your website for SEO purposes. Google and Bing, two of the most commonly used search engines, count alt tags as on page text and a rather significant factor in because it helps search engine crawlers determine what the page is about and describe the context of the images included. Alt tags also are considered in terms of an accessible web design.

What Are Alt Tags? 

Essentially, alt tags are shown in place of an image on a page to describe to site visitors who are unable to see them what the image is. Why can’t they see the images? For various reasons, internet users and browsers may block images or turn off the ability to view them. This also includes those who have impaired vision and may not be able to identify the image without context.

Is There A Difference Between Alt Tags & Alt Text?

You will often hear people interchange the terms alt tags and alt text. This is simply a choice of phrasing among SEO professionals, however, we sometimes like to separate the two terms as alt tags related to images and alt text related to page descriptions. Typically, alt tags are used for image optimization but in most web development sources you will be able to add alt text to each page on your website. The hope is that your alt text will be what search engine crawlers pull as the brief description of your page in search results. So yes, both terms relate to descriptions of content.

How To Optimize For Alt Tags On Your Website 

Now I know you’re dying to learn how to optimize your images using alt text so let’s jump right in. For this example let’s use the WordPress backend to show you, but most sites have similar functionality. First things first, head on over to your media gallery. Once in your gallery, you will be able to see all the images that you have uploaded. Click on an image you would like to optimize and you will be able to see information regarding the image such as title, caption, alt text, and description.

how to add an alt tag to a wordpress web page

Of course, it is always best to complete all fields but we highly suggest that at the very least you fill out the title an alt text. The title should be the image name and the alt text should be the description. It’s not uncommon for people to use the same text for both sections, but keep in mind that the more unique text available the more options google crawlers have to choose from when determining the relevancy of your content. Once these forms have been filled out make sure you save. In some case, if you are in the back end of one of your web pages you will be able to simply click on the image there and add your alt text if the option is available.

Another thing to keep in mind when creating your alt text is that if the image is a hyperlink it is best to describe what will happen when you click the image as well as a description. For instance, if the image is of a purple raincoat but is hyperlinked you should have your alt text say something along the lines of “view a larger image of the purple raincoat”. Keep alt attributes to a minimum is my recommendation. Just remember to use keywords! That is the main keynote in making the alt text useful for SEO purposes.

Ensure Your Alt Tag Targets A Keyword 

If you’re going to use alt tags in your content, ensure that they are targeting a specific keyword. In doing so, you can ensure that Google can properly read the content on your website and associate it with a keyword. If you want to do keyword research you can use a tool such as Ubber Suggests that allows you to find relevant keywords for your business or brand. Once you’ve found a keyword to target, add multiple images into your content so you can rank for additional phrases and keywords. Use synonyms of the keyword in your other image alt tags to get further ranking opportunities. If you’re going for online reputation management, then I would recommend that you enter your target name or brand into the image alt tag to ensure it appears in the Google photos.


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