Hey! Today, I want to share a super easy thing that you can do to boost your rankings in the search engines every single time you write a blog post. Sound good? Stay tuned!
Use Image Alt Text to Boost Your SEO Ranking
Hi, I’m Julie from Stress-free Website Solutions, and today I want to share a tip with you that’s going to help you get ranked in the search engines a little bit better. It has to do with your images. And specifically, it has to do with the image “alt tag.”
So first of all, what is the “alt tag?” The alt tag stands for alternative, and it just means the alternative text that would get displayed if for some reason your image can’t be displayed. And, it’s the text that Google reads to know what your image is about. Google can’t tell what the content in the picture is (it’s smart, but it’s not that smart — yet!). But it can read alt tags. So that’s your way to tell the search engines what your image is all about. You can put your keywords into that alt tag.
Let’s say that you are writing a page that is a recipe about chocolate chip muffins, and you have a picture of chocolate chip muffins. (I love chocolate chip muffins 🙂 ). You would put in your alt tag “chocolate chip muffins.” Then, all of a sudden, Google knows what the image is about. If your whole page you’re trying to get ranked for “chocolate chip muffins,” that’s going to give you just one more little edge.
So how do we do it? This is where we dive into the WordPress Dashboard. So, let’s go!
Here we are in my WordPress Dashboard. The first thing I want to show you is how to add alt text or an alt tag to a brand new image that you’re uploading for the very first time. Let’s pretend we’re going to create a new blog post, and this works if you’re creating a new page or a new post.
Title: “Hello!” Body: “some text.” Then I decide I want to add a picture. I’m going to say “Add Media.” In this case, I’m going to choose “Upload files.” So I’m adding a brand new photo that I’ve never used before. I’m going to select “files” and browse on my computer and pick something.
One of the things I love to do when I’m not doing web design is to take pictures. These are my photos, and here’s a photo of the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, Canada. You can see (let me zoom in so you can see! I’ll go over here on the right), we’ve got some information (this is called “meta information) about the picture. First thing is the title, and the title will default to whatever the filename was. So this was my filename. And then there’s a place for “caption,” “alt text,” and “description.” Now the one thing that WordPress picks up when you add a picture from your media library into a post is actually the alt text. So this, by default, will be blank, and you can and should ad something useful here. This is your chance to put in a keyword — something related to your post that you’d like to be found for in the search engines. So, whatever keyword you’ve chosen for your post that you’d like to get found for, you’re going to use that same one in the picture. Now that’s if it makes sense. You want to put text in here that actually does describe something in the picture. You don’t want to bait and switch, because that’s just going to bit you in the butt later. So pick something that actually does describe what’s in the picture. Hopefully that will be related to your post, so it’ll be a keyword for you. So, for me, this picture is of the “Hopewell rocks.” So that’s what I’m going to title it in the Alt Text.
That’s it! So now, I insert my image into my post. There it is. And that’s it! That’s absolutely all there is to it. You’ve just added a little bit of extra information that Google can find to know what your picture is about.
I want to actually show you, before I leave this, where that is written. You can just see the picture. No one else looking at this sees “Hopewell rocks,” but if I switch from the Visual Editor into the Text Editor. And don’t be afraid if you’re not used to using this editor.
This is the code that’s behind the scenes describing the image. You can see “img” stands for image. And all I want to point out to you here is this little piece that says alt=”Hopewell rocks”. That’s what Google sees. And that’s how you get to tell Google what your picture’s about. So that’s all there it to it when you’re adding new pictures.
Part 2: Editing old posts to add in image “alt tags”
Now, Part 2… You might ask yourself, “what if I already have images in my media library? Does that mean for all my old posts, let’s say I haven’t been doing this before and I want to go back and add alt tags… Can I just go into my Media Library and update the alt tags?” Well no, sorry, that won’t work. If I go into my Media Library now (I’m just going to abandon this post), I might find an old image. I’m going to click on this. Here’s one where I didn’t add any alt text. Now, if I’ve already added this to a page or a post, it’s too late to come back here and edit the alt text. You can do that, and if you ever add a new copy of this to a new post or page, then it would pick up the alt text. But when you insert and image from the Media Library into a page, it’s at that point that you’re copying all this data here into your post or your page. If you change the original later (and the original is what’s stored in your Media Library), if you change the original, you’re not changing any of the copies of that data. So you’re not actually affecting the pages or posts that already have the image. So, you can’t fix this by going back into your Media Library and updating all the Alt Text and expecting it to show up on your pages and posts. It doesn’t work.
What you would have to do is go into your page or your post and go into that text view that I just showed you and add in alt=”my text.” Let’s say I’m going to add this picture. I’ll go back to my posts and I have this draft post here — good, it’s still around! Let’s pretend… I’m going to go delete this picture, and I’m going to go add that tulip picture that I know has no alt text in it. What I would have to do is come to my post, go the the text view, and what it does is it actually inserts the default, which is the file name. That’s actually what’s in the title. So you’d have to edit this. This will be what ever the title of your file was. You’d have to delete that, and write your keyword, and then update your post. So that’s the only way to go back.
Now if that feels a little scary because you’re playing around with code, so be it. So your old posts don’t have alt tags in them! This is something you can easily, easily do going forward, just by putting it in the Media Library when you upload your new image for the first time. It’s super, super easy to do it right there.
So, going forward, that’s what you do! I hope you found that tip useful. I hope you start using it every time you write a blog post and put some images in. If you did find it useful, please share it with your fellow entrepreneurs. And I will see you back here next time for another website tech tip for you.