Did you know that showing up online in searches not only means using the correct keywords in your text, but also using appropriate keywords in your image descriptions? Research has shown that 38% of Google’s Search Engine Results Page shows images, and this statistic is likely to increase in the future.

Image descriptions, or Alt Text/Tags, are the written copy that appears in place of a picture if, for some reason, the image doesn’t load. Alt-text is also used on screen-reading tools for those who are visually impaired. When you are writing alt text, you want to describe what is in the picture. Using the correct keywords in these descriptions can help boost your website or blog in search results.

How to write effective alt text:

  1. When you are writing Alt Text copy, avoid starting the description with “a picture of.” Those words will not be helpful in a search.
  2. Keep the Alt Text under 125 characters. This will prevent screen-reading tools from being cut off.
  3. Use keywords that describe what is being seen in the image.
  4. Avoid cramming a lot of keywords into a description. If you overdo it with keywords, Google will penalize you for that.
  5. Be specific. Make sure the description is explaining what the picture is while also having context to the entire article.
  6. Avoid spelling errors. Spelling errors will hurt you in search results or confuse screen-reading tools.

Here’s an example of effective alt text:

Sommer Poquette, CEO and Founder of Keep it Real Social. Social media marketing specialist and speaker.

Okay, alt text: <img src="escalator.jpg" alt="Sommer Poquette speaking at a conference>

Better alt text: <img src="escalator.jpg" alt="Sommer Poquette speaking at a Women in Business Conference">

Best alt text: <img src="escalator.jpg" alt="Sommer Poquette with Keep it Real Social speaking at a Women in Business Conference">


Use alt text in your Pinterest posts! Pinterest is a large search engine tool and using keywords in your posts and alt text will help your posts show up more in searches.

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What is Alt Text and How Should it be used?