Written by Alison Newth ~ Northeastern BC, Canada
What is "Alt Text"?
I thought I had the website set up pretty good. However, as I was reading through my notes (yes, I took notes...in a notebook...felt like I was in university again) I came across a part that said "keywords and keyphrases in alt text to improve image search". I thought to myself..."what the heck is alt text?" I must have read it somewhere, thought it was important enough to write down...and then forgot about it. That doesn't sound like me at all.
So, I looked into it. Yes, it is important.
Wikipedia says that "Alternative text is text associated with an image that serves the same purpose and conveys the same essential information as the image." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Alternative_text_for_images)
Basically, Google (or another search engine) cannot 'see' the image, so you need to tell Google what is in the picture. This way, when someone searches up bears, for example, Google will 'read' the alt text to find bear images because Google cannot see the bear, obviously.
How do I use Alt Text?
So, when in editing mode, click on an individual photo/image you want google images to be able to find...a small screen thingy will pop up and somewhere on there it will say Advanced Settings--that is what you want. When that opens, you will see Alt Text and it will say the default, which is 'picture'.
Delete 'picture 'and write your key words/phrases, the most important listed first, with a dash (-) between words/phrases. The Alt Text should generally match up with the Image Title and be similar to the Photo Caption, which is also similar to the File Name.
Improving Images Search...To Do List:
Including adding the Alt Text to your images, there are so many other little things that you can do to help improve your image search, such as:
1. Saving the original file with key words (listed in the order of importance)...for example...don't save a file image1234.jpg or google won't know what it is. Instead, if the picture is of a beaver building a dam on a river by Vancouver, BC, you might want to save it something like beaver-dam-Vancouver.jpg...or something like that
2. Page titles on each individual page on your website tells google what is on a given page...include relevant details that are specific to each page
3. Image titles should be similar to the key words in the file save
4. Image captions should also be simliar to the key words in the file save
5. Alt Text should also be similar
There is a theme...consistency within the different methods...relevant key words and phrases listed in order of importance...
Do all of the things listed and it will improve your image search results within Google or other search engines.