Most people know that the alt text, also known as “alt tags” and “alt descriptions,” is the written copy that appears in place of an image that helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers. Many don’t realize that it’s important for search engines to find your content, too. Images have become an increasingly popular way to create easily digestible content on social media. As a result, it’s become important pieces of content for SERP (search engine result pages). Now, platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn are allowing you to add alt text to the images you post. Should you be adding alt text to your social images?
If you want your content accessed beyond the platform you are posting on – and chances are you do – then yes! You should be adding alt text to your social images because it increases your chances for search engines to find and share it in the SERP. Similar to SEO on your website, your images will provide SEO value to your brand to help your social accessibility.
Instagram and Facebook automatically set your alt text on every image you post, but it is very basic. We recommend going on to add keyword rich alt text copy for images that feature your products or services. When it comes to writing alt text, it should be a balance between simple and effective descriptions. Alt text like “1 woman smiling” won’t do the trick of painting a mental picture. On the flip side, adding too much descriptive text makes it too specific for search engines to rank it, and can be overwhelming for the visually impaired.
Here’s what you should keep in mind in creating alt text for your social images:
- Limit it to 125 characters (120 for LinkedIn)
- Add your brand name
- Use non-branded keywords, too. Non-branded keywords help it to rank for terms that describe the product/service to get more visibility on the product/service.
- Say it out loud – you should still get a visual understanding reading your alt text aloud as you would looking at the image
- Stay away from “image of” or “photo of” because tools already inform search engines and the visually impaired that it’s an image.
- Use commas to break up the content
Alt text is another way that you can drive more traffic to your business. It’s also creating a synergy between SEO and social media that we anticipate will only grow stronger. As we continue to rely on visuals to consume information, SEO for images and videos are becoming more important. And the more places your brand can be found by users the more chances to convert them into loyal customers. Not sure that the audience on Instagram or Facebook is right for you? Here’s why your business needs social media.
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