Understanding The Role Of Image Alt Attributes in SEO

by Jay | Posted on November 18th, 2020

Images make online articles and websites interesting. They can draw people to read your online articles or go through your site. A all chosen image can do a lot to convey your message, however a lot of people do not take the time to optimize their images. One way you can optimize web images is by giving them great image alt attributes or alt tags.

What Are Alt Attributes? or Alt Tags, Alt Description

An alt attribute is an attribute of the image tag that is meant for non-visual browsers. This means that the text will be displayed if the images is not visible. Some browsers display this text when you rest your mouse on a specific image.

A good alt attribute should be simple, clear and easy to read. The alt tag on describes what is on a web page.

Example of an image tag:

person holding black nikon dslr camera

Good alt text: <img src=”transfer-photos.jpg” alt=”transfer photo files”>
Better alt text: <img src=”transfer-photos.jpg” alt=”transfering photos from camera to computer”>

How to create effective image alt attributes

The example show the best way to create image tags. To create the best alt tag you should keep the following in mind:

  • Provide the most specific description so that those users who cannot see the images will have a good sense to know what it looks like. Any image that does not convey a message or provide any value should be relegated to CSS and not HTML.
  • Keep the text short. Keep in within 125 characters or less which is what most screen readers are able to read.
  • Include your main keywords within your web image. Alt texts give you the opportunity to include target keywords on a page. However, do not stuff keywords in your alt text, Google will still dock you for overusing keywords. The search engine actually places a high value on alt texts
    Google places a relatively high value on alt text to because they explain what is on an image within the context of the surrounding text.
  • Just because you are using images on your site does not mean you need to replace text with images. It is actually bad SEO practice to substitute texts with images. Words should be words and images should be images with alt attributes coded in them.
  • Be search engine conscious. Whilst image alt attributes can improve your SEO, it is only good if the page they are displayed on enhance the keywords.
  • Image alt attributes are an effective SEO tool and should not be limited to websites. Use them in your online articles and in your blogs.
  • Do not think that stuffing keywords will get you to rank higher. Search engines are always updating their algorithms and Google in particular pays specific emphasis on alt texts in images. Keyword stuffing can cause you to be flagged by Google and removed from the search results.
  • Use the longdesc=”” tag for complex images that require more detailed descriptions.
  • Use alt attributes for image buttons like “search”, ” login”, “apply now,” etc.


Using image alt attributes on your images can enhance your user experience. It may help you to earn SEO benefits to advance your website higher on search engine rankings.


I've worked for WooRank, SEOptimer, and working on a cool SEO audit tool called SiteGuru.co. Now I have build Linkilo and SEO RANK SERP WordPress theme. I've been in the SEO industry for more than 5 years, learning from the ground up. I've worked on many startups, but also have my own affiliate sites.