Hello, SEers! It’s great to have you drop by and hang out for a while. Because I’m a visual person, I want to chat about images today—all those lovely pictures we share on our blogs. This isn’t about copyright, making sure your images are royalty free, or obtained through a stock site. That’s another post for another day and I think most of us know displaying work on your blog you don’t own (especially without proper attribution) can set you up for headaches, even lawsuits. Harmony Kent recently shared Public Domain practices and sources you might find helpful.
What I want to address are three elements you should be adding to every image:
Alt (or alternate) Text
Adding these items allows search engines to easily find and index content. As an example, Google places a higher rank on images with Alt Text than those without. If you want the snazzy cover of your latest novel to show up in image results, you need to optimize it for spiders and bots. Secondly, screen readers used by the visually-impaired rely on these elements to translate content. Let’s break it down:
If you are a WordPress user, Image Title is not the title you see on the right-hand side of your screen when you are viewing image attributions (example below):
That title is used by your media library to help you to search and find content as your library grows. What you want is the Image Title Attribute under Image Details;
To enter an Image Title Attribute:
Use the Visual Editor within WP
Click the image so that it’s “selected”
Select ADVANCE OPTIONS
Go to IMAGE TITLE ATTRIBUTE and type in your title
Now when someone mouses over the image, they’ll get a pop-up displaying the title attribute. Something else for all those search engine spiders to catalog!
Alt Text appears when an image doesn’t display in a browser. You know—those lovely empty boxes with an x in the upper corner? Rather than leaving a user wondering what’s missing, alternate text will display when the user mouses over the area. Browser glitches happen, so it’s good practice to be in the habit of adding alternate text.
Alt Text is also highly useful for those who are unable to see an image and rely on screen readers. I tend to keep this part descriptive, but it’s also an opportunity for you to tag a book image with the title and your name. It doesn’t hurt to add a few keywords to benefit. You’ve just created something else related to your brand for search engines to index!
It’s pretty obvious what goes here. Again, this attribute is helpful for those who rely on screen readers. I normally copy my Alt Text and paste it into my Image Description. I’m not sure if that’s a good practice, but it’s one I’ve gotten in the habit of doing. You can see what I mean in the screenshot below.
These are all simple things, easily overlooked, but helpful to bloggers and those surfing the web. We also need to remember that not everyone is able to see images in the same way, and there are many web users who rely on screen readers.
Do you already make it a habit of adding titles, descriptions, and alt text to your images? Yes, it’s an extra step, but once you get in the habit, it becomes automatic. Chime in and share your opinion in the comments!