When taking the first steps forward in the world of online businesses, you perhaps had come across a wide variety of materials about the importance of SEO. Especially for a Shopify website, where SEO plays an essential role in increasing your total revenue, you must pay attention to optimize every SEO factor, including images ALT Text.
So, what is ALT Text for images? Why does it matter for a Shopify online store? And how to optimize them? This article will help you answer all these questions. Keep scrolling down and check it out!
1. What is Image ALT text?
ALT text (that stands for ALTernative text) is also called “ALT descriptions”, “ALT attributes” or “ALT tags”. Simply put, it is a snippet of detailed information describing the appearance and function of an image on a website. You can find the image ALT text within an HTML code.
In the beginning, ALT text was born as a useful device for the blind and the visually impaired when experiencing the internet. They can know the meaning of an image thanks to the text snippet that the screen reader relays. And later, along with the rapid development of advanced technologies including search engines, ALT text continues to be the key to helping search engines to find and understand the images as well as the website better.
Hence, let’s move to the next part to discover deeper how essential the image ALT text is.
2. Why is Image ALT text important?
No one can deny the importance of image ALT text for both people and search engines.
Support the non-visual readers
As I mentioned above, the original usage of ALT attributes is for the blind and the visually impaired. If an image doesn’t have ALT text, the screen reader has no way of understanding the content/function this image has. And in this case, all an excellent screen reader can do is just… read the source code. It means that the visitors who cannot see the screen will get confusing content like “image 123” or “image.png”. ALT text is responsible for conveying the true message of the image instead of just meaningless words.
In addition, along with the development of voice readers, now more and more people choose to let virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa read everything out loud while they are busy with other messy tasks. So ALT text, again, proves how important it is.
It is necessary to mention another problem to highlight the reason why image ALT description matters. Sometimes, your Shopify website doesn’t allow the image to load correctly (due to the technical issue), which leads users not to comprehend the image and its function. However, with ALT text, you still can get the idea that the image is supposed to show in any situation. ALT text can bring a better user experience for your customers, reduce bound rates and increase returning visitor rates.
Boost SEO rank of the whole website on the search engines
Image ALT tag not only aids accessibility for non-visual readers but also strengthens your SEO rank on search engines like Google.
Google needs ALT text to determine topical relevance. For example, if on your Shopify online store, the ALT tags “dress”, “jeans”, “corset” appear many times, Google will know your website is about the clothing business. In contrast, when the images come without ALT text, Google and other search engines cannot define what they are or what your website wants to convey. When Google knows exactly your Shopify store’s main topic, it can help your potential customers find you out more easily.
Get a higher rank on Google Image
Search engines crawl the following factors:
- Image Name
- Alternative text
- Text title
All three of these attributes must be defined for image crawling, indexing, and ranking in search engines. ALT text is the first parameter considered by search engines as it describes the image. It is just as important as the description of any website.
Therefore, the ALT text must be unique to the image, descriptive (and it should contain the main keywords if making sense).
Drive more traffic via Google Image
Search engines like Google, Bing, etc. show the absolute URL of the web page below the image. If an image of your website achieves a high rank in image search, sometimes users click on the URL of the image to visit your store. And obviously, it is an ideal way to get more traffic.
The analysts of Google had offered some advice about how to get a higher rank on Google Image – one of the biggest search engines in the world. And the golden key is ALT text. If you are lazy at uploading image ALT tags, you will lose 20.45% of all online searches. Hence, as a smart online store owner, you should keep it in mind.
It is quite similar between image optimization and your website optimization in general. It means you have to define all required attributes, for example, title, size, ALT text, and so on.
Besides ALT text, you can refer to a more detailed guide about SEO factors here: “How to SEO my Shopify store?” | Shopify SEO Guide
Image optimization is an important aspect of SEO. One way to optimize your images is by adding alt text and other metadata. This can be done manually or with the help of an image manipulation service.
3. How to write good ALT text for images on your Shopify website?
Now, it is time to answer the question, “How to write a good image ALT text?”.
First and foremost, I want to highlight that it is very easy to add ALT text for the image on a Shopify website. You choose to Edit the image and write ALT text and save, done. Shopify website has all the fundamental and necessary functions for an online store. Even when you are not tech-savvy, there is no difficulty for you to optimize image ALT text on your store.
To add ALT text to media:
- On your Shopify admin, click Products > All products.
- Choose the product you want to edit.
- On the product details page, click a product media item to see the Preview media page.
- Select Add ALT text.
- Write your ALT text, and Save.
- Click the X to close the preview page.
To add ALT text to theme images
- On your Shopify admin, click Online Store > Themes.
- Choose the theme you want to edit and select Customize.
- On the theme editor sidebar, choose the section with the image that needs to be filled with alt text.
- Click the Edit button below the image.
- In the dialog, write the alt text, and Save.
- Click Save to the changes to the theme.
However, adding ALT text to all images on your website is a huge amount of work. This time-consuming task might drive you crazy when you upload a wide variety of products at one time.
To save time and effort, you should take into account several helpful SEO plugins in Shopify. One of them that must be mentioned here is SEO Booster – the best Shopify SEO app.
This all-in-one app can be your powerful assistant in SEO. And when it comes to ALT text, SEO Booster clears the way for you because it updates ALt tags automatically every day to any new images on your online store. You can set your own template for ALT text (e.g: shop_name product_title product_type), and then SEO Booster will complete all other tasks.
Let’s check out more Shopify apps with us: 10 best free Shopify apps!
4. Helpful Tips to Optimize ALT text
To add the good ALT text, you need to note down these tips:
- Functions as Description of the Image
ALT text is the description of the image and it is supposed to provide the meaning/message of it. Therefore, the ALT text must be descriptive so that when the image load fails, the reader can determine the image’s purpose.
An undescribed species of text can confuse readers as well as search engines.
- Don’t add ALT text to all images
Your website might have several images just for decoration, that don’t serve any informational purpose. It will be annoying for users with screen readers if you add meaningless ALT text for these decorative images. In this case, you can use a null ALT tag <alt=””>, which will be ignored by screen readers.
- ALT text should be accurate and concise
ALT text needs to focus on the appearance and functions of the image. And this is also the reason they shouldn’t be lengthy. For example, “strawberry cheesecake with cream” is enough to describe an image, instead of “there is a picture of a beautiful and delicious strawberry cheesecake with cream on the table”.
- Use your keywords
ALT text gives you a chance to show your target keyword on a page and, therefore, it is also a chance to notice search engines that your page is highly relevant to one specific search query.
If you find it suitable to use keywords in an ALT tag, we highly recommend taking advantage of the ALT text.
- Avoid keyword stuffing in the image ALT text
However, again, the purpose of the ALT text is to describe the image. So, when you want to sell kitchen appliances, don’t write the bad ALT text like “strawberry cheesecake with cream kitchen appliances” in a post about how to make strawberry cheesecake. It even can hurt the SEO value of your website.
When running a Shopify website, there is a big list of factors that you need to pay attention to, and image ALT text is one of them. We hope that you gain a deeper knowledge of the ALT text through this article and know how to set the most appreciated ALT text.
If you still have any doubts, feel free to leave your comment in the section below or contact us. We are pleased to help you!