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Image Alt Text and Its Role in Small Business SEO

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for small businesses aiming to establish a strong online presence and attract local customers. According to a study by BrightLocal, 93% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses, and 82% of smartphone users conduct “near me” searches. This data underscores the importance of SEO for small businesses to be easily found by potential customers. One often overlooked but vital aspect of SEO is image alt text. This article delves deeply into the significance of image alt text in enhancing small business SEO.

What is Image Alt Text?

Image alt text, or alternative text, is a brief description of an image included in the HTML code of a webpage. This text is displayed if the image fails to load and is used by screen readers to describe images to visually impaired users. Image alt text provides context to search engines about the content of the image, helping improve the page’s SEO.

Image Alt Text and Its Role in Small Business SEO

Key Points of Image Alt Text:

  • HTML Attribute: It’s added to the <img> tag in HTML.
  • Accessibility Tool: Describes images to visually impaired users.
  • SEO Element: Helps search engines understand and index images.

What Are the Uses of Image Alt Text?

Image alt text serves several important functions:

  1. Accessibility: Ensures that visually impaired users can understand the content of images through screen readers. This is crucial for compliance with web accessibility standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  2. SEO: Helps search engines understand the content of images, contributing to the page’s relevance and ranking. Search engines use this information to index images properly, which can lead to higher visibility in image search results.
  3. User Experience: Provides context for images that fail to load, enhancing the overall user experience. This can reduce bounce rates and improve engagement on your website.

Detailed Uses:

  • Screen Readers: Devices used by visually impaired users rely on alt text to describe what’s in an image.
  • Image SEO: Search engines like Google use alt text to understand the context of images for better indexing.
  • Fallback Content: When images don’t load due to slow internet connections or errors, alt text ensures users still get the essential information.

Image Alt Text and Its Role in Small Business SEO

For small businesses, optimizing image alt text can significantly impact local SEO. Search engines use image alt text to index and rank images, making them appear in relevant search results. By including targeted keywords in image alt text, small businesses can improve their chances of appearing in local searches, driving more organic traffic to their websites.

Impact on SEO:

  • Keyword Integration: Proper alt text allows the inclusion of keywords that enhance the relevance of the webpage.
  • Image Search Visibility: Optimized images can appear in Google Image search results, leading to additional traffic.
  • Enhanced Indexing: Search engines can better understand and categorize the content of the page, improving overall site indexing.
Improving Website SEO with Proper Image Alt Text

Why Image Alt Text is Important for Accessibility

Image alt text is essential for making websites accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Screen readers rely on alt text to convey the meaning of images to visually impaired users. Without descriptive alt text, these users miss out on important information, leading to a poor user experience. Ensuring all images have meaningful alt text helps create an inclusive website.

Accessibility Benefits:

  • Legal Compliance: Adhering to accessibility standards helps avoid potential legal issues.
  • Inclusive User Experience: All users, regardless of their abilities, can engage with your content.
  • Enhanced Reputation: Businesses that prioritize accessibility can improve their public image and attract a broader audience.

Examples of Image Alt Texts That Have Been Done Correctly

  • Correct Example 1: <img src="bakery-cupcakes.jpg" alt="Assorted cupcakes on display at a local bakery">
  • Correct Example 2: <img src="yoga-class.jpg" alt="Yoga instructor leading a Vinyasa class in a studio">
  • Correct Example 3: <img src="plumbing-repair.jpg" alt="Plumber fixing a kitchen sink with tools on the counter">

Analysis of Examples:

  • Descriptive: Each alt text provides a clear and specific description of the image.
  • Concise: The descriptions are brief yet informative, typically under 125 characters.
  • Keyword Inclusion: Relevant keywords are naturally integrated without overstuffing.

Common Image Alt Text Mistakes or Fails

  1. Keyword Stuffing: Using too many keywords can make the alt text look spammy.
    • Incorrect: <img src="plumbing.jpg" alt="plumbing repair plumbing services plumbing expert plumber in Towson">
  2. Being Too Vague: Generic descriptions don’t provide enough context.
    • Incorrect: <img src="product.jpg" alt="product">
  3. Leaving Alt Text Blank: This misses the opportunity for SEO and accessibility.
    • Incorrect: <img src="bakery.jpg" alt="">

Detailed Analysis:

  • Keyword Stuffing: Can lead to penalties from search engines and a poor user experience.
  • Vague Descriptions: Fail to convey the image’s content and context, reducing SEO benefits.
  • Blank Alt Text: Loses the chance to improve accessibility and SEO.

Image Alt Text Writing Tips

  • Be Descriptive: Clearly describe the image content.
  • Keep It Concise: Aim for 125 characters or less.
  • Include Keywords: Use relevant keywords naturally.
  • Avoid Redundancy: Don’t repeat information already provided in captions or the text.

Additional Tips:

  • Contextual Relevance: Ensure the alt text is relevant to the surrounding content.
  • Avoid “Image of” or “Picture of”: These phrases are redundant and waste valuable character space.

How to Find and Fix Missing Image Alt Texts

  1. Use SEO Tools: Tools like Screaming Frog, Moz, and SEMrush can identify images missing alt text.
  2. Manual Check: Review your website’s HTML code to find and add missing alt text.
  3. CMS Plugins: Many content management systems (CMS) offer plugins to help detect and fix missing alt text.

Steps to Fix:

  • Identify Missing Alt Text: Use tools or manual checks to locate images without alt text.
  • Write Descriptive Alt Text: Follow best practices to write meaningful descriptions.
  • Implement Changes: Update the HTML code or use CMS tools to add the alt text.

The Ultimate Guide to: Image Alt Text and Its Role in Small Business SEO

How to Add an Image Alt Text in WordPress

  1. Upload Image: Go to the media library and upload your image.
  2. Edit Image: Click on the image and fill in the ‘Alt Text’ field with your description.
  3. Update Post/Page: Ensure the image is correctly inserted with the alt text.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Access Media Library: Navigate to the media library from the WordPress dashboard.
  • Add Alt Text: Find the ‘Alt Text’ field in the image details and enter your description.
  • Save Changes: Click ‘Update’ to save your changes.

How to Add an Image Alt Text in Squarespace

  1. Add Image Block: In the editor, add an image block to your page.
  2. Configure Block: Click on the block and select ‘Edit’ to add your alt text in the ‘Image Title’ field.
  3. Save Changes: Ensure the image block is updated with the correct alt text.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Add Image Block: Drag and drop an image block onto your page.
  • Edit Image Details: Click ‘Edit’ and find the ‘Image Title’ field.
  • Enter Alt Text: Add your descriptive text and save changes.


How to Add an Image Alt Text in Wix

  1. Upload Image: Add your image to the Wix media manager.
  2. Add Description: Click on the image and enter your alt text in the ‘What’s in the image?’ field.
  3. Apply Changes: Save and ensure the alt text is correctly associated with the image.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Access Media Manager: Open the media manager from the Wix dashboard.
  • Edit Image Details: Select the image and find the ‘What’s in the image?’ field.
  • Enter Alt Text: Add your descriptive text and save changes.

Ready to Take The Next Step in Small Business SEO? 

    Optimizing image alt text is a small but significant step in improving your small business’s SEO and ensuring your website is accessible to all users. To learn more about the importance of small business SEO, register for a free SEO evaluation from MarketKeep. Our evaluation will assess your website’s performance based on local, on-page, and off-page SEO strategies. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your online presence and attract more local customers.