Skip to content
(314) 849-6969 (314) 849-6969

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Today we are going to discuss adding alt-text to your product photos. One of the most important aspects of eCommerce is product photos. Having great images of your products will showcase them in a positive, realistic manner, enticing customers to buy. While you have no doubt incorporated this feature into your website, you may not be getting the most out of your product images.

Product photos do not end with the upload. Whether you perform SEO for your website or not, optimizing your product’s image using alt-text is essential to giving your visitors a better user experience.

But what is image alt-text? And, why is it so important? In this article, you’ll learn the foundation of what you need to know about alt-text for images.

What Is An Alt Text?

Also called alternative text, alt description, or alt attribute, is a short text that describes what the image is all about. Alt-text is what shows up in place of an image file that doesn’t load. This description allows visitors to get a clear picture of your page content and allows search engines to crawl better and rank your website.

The text is around 100 to 125 characters long and inserted into the <img> tag in the page’s HTML code. This is how to include the alt tag:

SEO about to add alt-text to the images on a webstie.

The alt-text is hidden when the webpage is viewed in a browser, but it becomes visible when the image doesn’t load. This aids search engine crawlers and screen reading software in understanding the appearance and function of your photos.

How Alt Text Affects SEO

According to Google, alt-text is utilized to understand the subject matter of photos in conjunction with computer vision algorithms and the page’s contents.

As a result, Alt-text helps Google better understand photos and web pages. This can help boost the possibility of your product’s photos appearing in image search results.

Importance Of Adding Alt Text to Your Product Photos

Below Are Some Major Reasons Why Adding Alt-Text Is Important To Your Product Photos.

1. Improves Accessibility

A principle of accessible web design is alt-text. Alt-text was created to describe images to visitors who couldn’t see them. This includes screen readers, users of image-blocking browsers, and visually-impaired users. As a result, putting alt-text in your product photos makes them more accessible, easier for people to understand what the image is about, and improves the overall experience.

2. Help You Rank In Google Images

One of the most used search engines worldwide is Google. It dominates a wide range of online searches, surpassing Bing, YouTube, Yahoo, and other search engines. By adding great alt-text in your product photos, you raise your chance to boost traffic from Google Images.

3. Improves The Image On-Page SEO And Topical Relevance

Alt-text is vital for user experience and can help with on-page optimization and topical relevance. Because search engines like Google can’t see the image, they may misinterpret its purpose or context on the website. As a result, they use alt-texts to better understand the photo and how it relates to the surrounding content.

4. Serves As An Image Link’s Anchor Text

The clickable words that link one webpage to another are anchor text. This is significant for both the search engines and users since it provides context for the website to which the link points.

Teacher reading about how to add alt-text as it serves as an image link's anchor text.

How To Write Good Images Alt Text

When writing a good alt text, several factors should be considered.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when writing alt text for images:

Be brief 

Although the text should be specific and descriptive, it should not be written in long sentences. Alt text should be short and brief –no more than 125 characters.

Be Descriptive

Write a detailed and objective description of the image so that anyone (or a search engine) who can’t see it can understand it.

Use Keywords

While describing and contextualizing the image should be your top concern, if it makes sense, add your keyword in the alt-text of at least one image on the page.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Using many irrelevant keywords in the alt-text may damage the user experience. Keywords should never be forced into the alt text.

Avoid Including The Words “Picture” Or “Image”

There’s no need to tell search engines that this is a picture in the alt-text because they already know.

Avoid Redundancy

Don’t simply repeat the text already included in the image’s context.

Examples Of Good Alt-text

Here are some examples of how alt-texts for images should be written

Alt-Text Example Number 1

Add alt-text "Lady dancing ballet in a studio" for this to be correct.
  • Bad: <img src=“dancing.jpg” alt=“dancing”>
  • Better: <img src=“dancing.jpg” alt=“lady dancing”>
  • Best: <img src=“dancing.jpg” alt=“lady dancing ballet in a studio”>

Alt-Text Example Number 2

Add alt-text "A boy playing soccer on a field".
  • Bad: <img src=“soccer.jpg” alt=“playing soccer”>
  • Better: <img src=“soccer.jpg” alt=“a boy playing soccer”>
  • Best: <img src=“soccer.jpg” alt=“a boy playing soccer on a field”>

Alt-Text Example Number 3

Add alt-text "A Tic Tac Toe Game Using Red And White Hearts For Pieces Instead Of Xs and Os" for this to be correct
  • Bad: <img src=“tic tac toe.jpg” alt=“tic tac toe”>
  • Better: <img src= “tic tac toe.jpg” alt= “a tic tac toe game”>
  • Best: <img src= “tic tac toe.jpg” alt= “A Tic Tac Toe Game Using Red And White Hearts For Pieces Instead Of Xs and Os”>

Should All Product Photos Have Alt Text?

This is a widespread misunderstanding. There’s no need to provide alt-text if the image is just for decoration and doesn’t have important information. In other words, alt-text is only necessary for an image that is integral to understanding a page. In the case of product photos for your eCommerce business, alt-text will likely always be necessary because your product photos show customers what they’ll be getting when their purchase arrives in the mail.


On any search engine optimization checklist, alt-tags are a must-do item. It’s one of those minor, yet crucial details that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you don’t, you’re giving your competitors more chances to outrank you in search engine results.

Know that your SEO approach will become more effective the more photos you optimize. If you take the time to focus on your alt-text, you’ll be pleased with the way that traffic and sales will increase!

Contact Matchbox Design Group Today!

If your website could use a refresh or you’re looking to drive more traffic to your site, fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to learn more about your digital needs.

Categories:  St. Louis SEO

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Strategist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a Masters of Science in Internet Marketing. For the past fourteen years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

View more posts by James or check out profile.