8 ways to optimize your alt-text SEO strategy

alt text. They know it’s important for SEO.

In fact, Google has stated that alt text is a ranking factor.

And with the rise of visual search, describing your images has become even more important to web crawlers.

But how can you make your alt text even better beyond a short sentence that describes the image?

The truth is, alt text is like any other part of SEO—it benefits from strategy.

This should be a strategy that not only makes your alt text more effective, but also makes alt text creation easier and more automated, giving you more time to focus on high-level areas.

The better your keywords are aligned — in terms of content, backlinks, and technical on-page components like alt text — the greater your ranking potential.

You can enter your keywords manually, or a service like AltText.ai can integrate your keywords into AI-generated alt text.

What is alt text?

First, let’s start with the basics.

Alt text is HTML code that describes what is contained in an image. Screen readers use alt text to help people with visual impairments.

In addition, search engines use alt text to understand what is on the page and how to index it.

Missing alt text is bad.

Any relevant alt text is better.

And SEO-optimized alt text is the best.

But how do we get there—without spending hours typing it in manually?

Here’s how:

1) Prioritize, update, and add alt text to important images methodically

We know a lot of people who are in this boat: they have hundreds or even thousands of images with no alt text.

You know you need it, but it is what it is. A choir. Who has time for this?

Nobody, that’s who.

To make it easier, your first approach is to prioritize.

Add alt text to your most visited pages

Go to your most visited pages and manually enter alt text for those images.

You can work through your top 5, 10, 20 pages when you have time.

Use AI to update alt text in bulk

If you have a lot of images, consider automating your alt text with AI.

A powerful tool like AltText.ai can update entire image libraries in bulk in a fraction of the time it would take a copywriter.

8 ways to optimize your alt-text SEO strategy Screenshot of AltText.ai’s Bulk Generate WordPress plugin, June 2023

Best Results: Use this hybrid AI and manual alt text approach

Then there’s a hybrid approach: update your alt text in bulk using AI, then go to your most popular posts and refine them manually.

AltText.ai has an optional human verification feature if you are short on time but require the highest level of accuracy and confidence.

In addition, some images, such as B. Infographics, extra time and effort to unpack.

By offloading simpler images to the AI, you can focus on the images that actually need a human touch.

2) Make adding alt text routine

If you want to upload new images, all you have to do is make the alt text part of your regular workflow.

There are two easy ways to do this:

  • Implement an alt text checklist before a post goes online.
  • Use an app or plugin that automatically generates alt text when images are added or updated.

Most CMS systems have an alt text field, but some make it easier than others.

WordPress allows you to enter alt text from your media library or when creating your post.

On other sites like Shopify, you have to go through the hassle of clicking on your product photo.

Although many companies are working to improve their accessibility features (including more intuitive alt-text typing), you may need to familiarize yourself with your particular CMS.

AltText.ai simplifies this workflow by automatically generating alt text for you—all behind the scenes. It runs in the background and doesn’t require any additional steps from you.

AltText.ai integrations are currently available for WordPress, Shopify, Contentful, and Hygraph, in addition to a web interface and developer API.

3) Use alt text to provide context and keywords for your images

It’s not enough to just describe what’s in your picture.

As important as alt text is, typing “cat” for an image of your pet will never help you rank [cat].

Instead, give your image a context that informs Google as precisely as possible about your offer.

Consider a photo of a hot air balloon.

“Hot air balloon” is generic alt text that doesn’t really tell Google what your site is about or the value it has to users.

However, if you tag your alt text “A hot air balloon over Napa Valley” or “Hot air balloon and additional supplies for sale,” along with additional information from your end, you are making it clear to Google what you are offering and to whom you should be showing it.

This is where keywords should also come into play. You’ve probably spent a lot of time doing keyword research. Well, get the most out of it!

Be sure to include your keywords in your alt text.

4) Avoid keyword stuffing in your alt text

Yes, you should provide keywords, but do so with care.

Keyword stuffing not only leads to a poor user experience, but it can also be perceived as spam by search engines.

Alt text should be:

  • Grammatically correct.
  • A legible sentence or phrase that avoids excessive redundancy or descriptions unrelated to the image itself.

This is where your inner poet may need to step in, because you want to weave your keywords together in a natural, fluid way.

It is often like that It is better to choose just one or two keywordsinstead of forcing them all in.

Remember that alt text is only one factor in search ranking. The most important thing is to create a quality, reputable page, and that means writing coherent and accurate alt text.

If you choose to go the automated alt text route, AltText.ai always matches keywords with the need to have genuine and non-spam descriptive alt text. Using AI language models, AltText.ai creates natural-sounding sentences by selecting the most relevant SEO keywords.

8 ways to improve your alt-text SEO strategy Screenshot of AltText.ai, June 2023
8 ways to optimize your alt-text SEO strategy Screenshot of AltText.ai, June 2023

5) Avoid using simple alternative text formulas

It can be tempting to use a standardized format and call it quits.

Let’s say you have an eCommerce store and the alt text template: “Product Brand” + “Product Name”.

That’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s also very general and doesn’t capture all the attributes people might be looking for.

How to structure your alt text

Combine distinctive, important details with basic product data.

If you’re selling a popular item, these extra details can give you an edge over your competitors.

Some common search terms you might want to mention are:

  • Color.
  • Special features and designs.
  • Used material.

And here, too, AI has an advantage. If these features are visible in your product photo, AI Computer Vision can automatically recognize them and combine them with your product data.

This is a huge time saver when you have a huge product catalog with overly simple alt text that doesn’t engage the customer and doesn’t know what to look for.

8 ways to improve your alt-text SEO strategy Screenshot from Shopify app by AltText.ai, June 2023

6) Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good


Yes, alt text is valuable SEO real estate. Do you wish you could optimize the profit of this property? Naturally. But if you don’t currently have the bandwidth, just try to power down a bit.

According to John Mueller of Google’s Search Off the Record podcast, “When you’re just adding alt text for the first time, sometimes even any alt text is better than nothing.”

Why? From an accessibility standpoint, screen readers encountering images without alt text may read out unhelpful (not to mention annoying) information such as the image’s alphanumeric filename. It’s a horrible experience.

And from an SEO point of view, Google takes accessibility seriously and any oversight, like a lack of alt text, can be seen as a detriment to your site.