I stumbled on to Alternative Text or Alt text as it is affectionately known. I didn’t know it at the time, but it is the secret weapon of gaining long term SEO love. I started my first blog, Dbabetta.com, in January of 2009, but it didn’t start to take shape until 2011. I had unknowingly figured out the three keys to unlocking Image SEO. First, I named the image appropriately. Secondly, I gave it some relevant alternative text. Then finally I ditched the caption.
During this time, I didn’t have a lot of my personal photography yet, so I did like most bloggers I googled images to add to my blog post. But I wasn’t a barbarian I gave credit to the source and site I grabbed the photo image.
One of my writers Kendall wrote an article about summer beauty products. A list article that showcased cool products on hot days. The first image I used on the post was a picture of a tree swing on the end of a long sturdy branch over the ocean. Picturesque, right?
Well, that sexy little beach picture became a serious SEO money maker on my site. I remember getting an email requesting to use my photo. I laughed it off like it isn’t “my photo”, I explained to the requester that it was a photo I found like them via a good ole Google search, but what I didn’t understand at the time. They found it because of how I used the secret weapon of Image SEO.
Alternative text historically is a space for the hearing impaired to be able to “Read” your image with their voice-activated software for the web. Many content marketers leave a large population of people out of their content. When you leave this space blank, you are saying I am posting this image for just those with eyes. Did you realize that Google search bots are also visually impaired?
Sorry, not sorry.
Here are three quick ways to gain SEO Wins for your site.
1. Name your images according to the way people actually search
No more of that image3kxihslkj. I will never be searching for that. NO one except the Borg (nerd humor) is searching for that on the web. Use every opportunity you can to gain traffic and rank higher in image SERPs. Name your images something people will search. Like your site name, something about the image, and a tag that might have a greater search volume than a random obscure name. For example, Dbabetta Beach Vacation in Hawaii. Think of what this title says and how much more traffic you will get in a google image search.
2. Alt text is your SEO secret weapon
Your alternative text like I said invites your visually impaired friends to the party. They don’t know what your cryptic naming structure means, and neither does search engines. Alt text is your way to give those search engine bots some information about the image. The bots are also visually impaired. They don’t know what that image is they can’t read it. You have to tell it what is there. Traditionally, I give descriptions that are easy to understand and easy to find. My beauty blog is called Business of Beauty. I launched this site while I was in Melbourne, Australia. Hint, where beauty searches reign supreme. There are a lot of photos that I took while there. I put that information in the Alt text field to capture traffic from people who would be searching for things that could potentially be in my photography. For example, Fashion-Festival-Melbourne-Business-of-Beauty-Heritage-Fashion-Runway-Show. Any of these words or combination of words will render one of my photos. If someone searches: Beauty + Fashion + Business, my image should come up. Or Heritage + Fashion + Runway this will also render a shot from ya girl. Alt text is a place that most people aren’t thinking about because they don’t realize the great value they can get from using this section as one more place to gain some much needed organic rankings.
3. Ditch your Image captions
Honestly, most folks hate captions on images, and it isn’t worth your time. I want you to remember captions are visible to the public so don’t try this same strategy you would for Alt text as you would for a caption. People will think you are crazy, and it might help you lose some credibility with human readers.
That’s it. My secret to getting the most SEO Love out of your images.
photo credit: Terez Baskin