What Is Alternative Text
Shopify alt text is basically an image caption & placeholder rolled into one. Since search engines like Google can’t (yet) scan & identify an image to tell what it’s about, an alt text becomes useful for context. However, this added context isn’t just for search bots. Below are the 2 main reasons for implementing alternative text to your images. Ideally every image on your website should have an alt text attached to it.
While alt text won’t shoot you up the ranking in google on its own, it’s simply a best practice to implement it. It adds context to your written articles, products or services so search engines can further determine what your website is about. Also if someone searches for a relevant term, your image might show up on Google images for example. That’s just 1 more impression you receive & a potential visitor to your website.
When it comes to people however, these captioned placeholders serve to help those who are visually impaired. A text to voice application can then pick up the information & provide a clearer understanding of what’s being presented. On a final note, alt text also helps those who are unable to load images for whatever reason. So if no image loads, they will see the alt text as a placeholder & description of what the image block is supposed to represent.
5 Benefits of Image Alternative Text
- Improves accessibility for visually impaired users who rely on screen readers to interpret the content of images.
- Improves usability, as users can still understand the content of images even if they fail to load or are blocked by a firewall.
- Helps to drive more traffic to a website from image search results.
- Enhances the overall search engine optimization of a website as it improves both accessibility & usability for users and search engines.
- Can improve the ranking of a website by providing more context to the images and making them more relevant to the user’s search query.
Adjusting Shopify Alt Text
To edit Shopify alt text manually you can simply go to “Settings” on the main admin dashboard, then click on “Files”. Here you can upload images to your web server for use across your website. If you click on an image, you’ll see the text box labeled ALT Text where you can write a brief description of the file for people with visual impairment or low-bandwidth connections.
A second way to edit the alternative text on Shopify, for example on a blog post or article, is to double-click on an inserted image. This will bring up a box to edit the alt text & other image options. This can also be changed when initially inserting a new image into a piece of content.
If all of this seems too tedious, there is a 3rd option which is to simply use an app. Shopify has a great app marketplace with both free & paid options that will automate this for you. Every app is different so you’ll still have to do some research as to what will work best for you. One thing to note however is that you don’t want to apply the same alt text to every image, so beware of that possibility. Every alternative text for every image should be unique.
When it comes to other platforms besides Shopify – Maybe Big Commerce, Woocommerce, Magento, & the like, it’s all pretty easy. In the old days you had to know HTML coding to do these functions but in the modern day, you can usually click on the image in question & edit the alt text. Platforms like WordPress also have various apps available to do this if you want to edit a large amount of images on your website.
Alt text makes images more accessible to everyone, including people with visual impairments. Not only does it provide added context to people but it also helps the search engines to determine what your website & images are all about.
Filling in your Shopify alt text, or or any platform for that matter, is best practice in SEO. By filling in the alternative text on all of your images, you increase the chance of your images showing up in the image search results which can lead to more site traffic for related queries.
A couple things to avoid however, is keyword stuffing your images. You can use your keyword in 1 or 2 images for sure but not all of them. Also you don’t want to duplicate these tags or you will lose context & appear spammy. Every alt text for every image should be unique!
We hope this helps you better understand some of the SEO basics. This is all standard stuff we implement with our written content. The point is to maximize the quality of the content to have a higher chance to rank, bring you more traffic, & lead to more sales!