30 Minute SEO: Update your Alt Tags for Great Search Results

The What

Alt Tags are what Google sees when they look at an image on your site. Google can’t see what’s in a photo, so you have to explicitly tell them. It’s a good idea to have an alt tag customized to your keywords on every image on your site

It may sound like more work, especially if you have a lot of photos, but we’re going to take it one step at a time. You’ll have great SEO in no time!

Even if you’ve gone through your alt tags before, or added them as you go, it’s good practice to update them occasionally, and this is a great opportunity.

Examples of alt tags:

Pssst..want more info, plus examples? We wrote a whole post about it! We also have photo examples in our SEO glossary.

The Why

Alt Tags have 2 purposes:

  1. Give the reader a glimpse of the what the photo is when they can’t see the photo for whatever reason
  2. Tell Google what your photos are about

It’s a great idea to use alt tags because they help people, and they help you! And Google loves when you make their job easy, so you’ll get rewarded with an SEO boost.

This isn’t just for photographers or people with image heavy websites. Having great photo alt tags helps everybody, and will help you show up in all forms of search (text, image, shopping etc).

So set aside 30 minutes this week to whip up some alt tags, and you’ll get a nice little SEO boost!

The How

  1. Determine your 5-10 most viewed pages and posts
  2. Identify your keywords. Tools we love:
    • KWFinder.com
    • SEMRush.com
  3. Write great alt tags for every photo on your site, making sure to vary your keyword choices
    • Keep it to 125 Characters or less
    • Write a complete sentence
    • No keyword stuffing!
    • Be as specific as possible (within the 125 characters)
    • Describe the image and use relevant keywords
    • Be sure to include buttons on your site that may be images
  4. Make the file names relevant to your keywords
    • Good: MegClarkeHeadshot.jpg
    • Bad: img0319_46.jpg

Where to input Alt Tags:

WordPress users:

WordPress makes it super easy to update alt tags (hooray!) and you can do it when you add new photos, or for photos currently on your site. It’s easy.

In your media library you’ll see a section where you can update information. If you add in captions, this is the same place (BTW — alt tags ≠ captions).

(yes, there are plugins for this, but we don’t recommend them. SEO is about making humanity accessible to robots, so using bots to do that isn’t a great idea).

Squarespace Users:

Squarespace also allows you to customize the alt tags, but it differs for every type of image, and for every template.

There’s a great tutorial on the Squarespace website that goes into super long detail about how to update the alt tags for any type of image. Go check it out for an in-depth overview of what it involves.

Questions about alt tags?

Friends, we know that SEO can feel overwhelming, but you’ve got this! And our 30 Minute SEO series is here to help. Set a timer (or pop on an episode of your favorite show) and get to updating. Do this just a couple of times, and your site will be far more optimized than before.

We’re cheering you on! Do you have any questions about SEO? Perhaps you want some super in-depth keyword research and monitoring? We’re here for you.

2018-01-21T02:41:54+00:00 DIY SEO, SEO|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. LauriePOP October 6, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Very helpful! Didn’t know the complete sentence thing. Leave out the little words like of, the, for??

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