Why use image alt tags?
Adding alt tags to your images serves two purposes. It improves search engine optimisation by giving Google more information about what the images contain (Google can’t read pictures… yet!). This will mean that if someone uses keywords relevant to your product in google image search they will be more likely to see your product and quite a few people search for products in this way.
The other purpose is to increase the accessibility of your site for users who have visual impairments or have low bandwidth connections so can’t load images easily. The alt text should give these users all the information they need about the image without needing to see it. A good way to know if you are writing alt text correctly would be to imagine you are reading your alt text to someone over the phone, would they be able to visualise your image without being able to see it?
Here is an example provided by google on what makes good alt text:
“Bengal kitten playing in a garden”
To be avoided:
“cat kitten moggy cats kittens moggies litter litter of kittens cute kittens bengal tabby siamese cat food cheap cat food catfood kitten toys mouse toy bengal kitten bengalcross kitty kittycat”
– stuffing alt text with keywords can be tempting but it doesn’t serve the second purpose of alt text, which is to give better accessibility and Google may consider your site to be spammy and penalise you for this.
How to add alt text to your images on WordPress
1. From your wordpress dashboard click on ‘media’ which will take you to your media library
2. Click on the image you would like to edit
3. While you are here check on your image title. Make this descriptive of the image rather than a SKU or name such as IMG00023.JPG. This will also improve your search results on google images.
4. Add in your alt text following the guide above. Make it descriptive of what the image is about and try to convey the message the image is trying to tell.
5. You can now either click the x in the top right to exit or click the arrow buttons to edit the previous or next images.
6. Work through all the images on your site to get an SEO boost.