SEO Tips: How to Increase Traffic with IMG ALT Tags (+ 3 Examples!)

Earlier this week I mentioned using the img alt tag to boost your SEO prior to hitting publish. Today, I'm here to explain what that means and show you how to do it.

Image searches make up a significant amount of incoming traffic on my site, and this is a combination of two factors: naming my photos SEO rich titles and using the IMG ALT tag when posting them.

One of my most trafficked posts on Dramatis Personae is Staying Strong, Staying Silent: Male Body Image.  While I'd love to tell you that the success of this post is based on people seeking advice on male body image… it's not. It's people looking for photos of Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling. Shirtless.

…photos end up on Google somehow.  And that's through SEO and (many times) the img alt tag that they make it into those results.

The fact is, many people are looking for images online.  Whether it's a pair of shoes & how they look on the foot, photos of cupcakes, or Ryan Gosling shirtless, those photos end up on Google somehow.  And that's through SEO and (many times) the img alt tag that they make it into those results.

Example 1: Ryan Gosling Shirtless

Below is how the image may appear on your site:

If you were to look at the HTML view of your blog post, the image code may look something like this:

<a href=””><img alt=”ryangoslingryanreynolds” src=”” width=”599″ height=”409″ /></a>

By default, the upload tool may fill in the img alt text with the title of the image (see bold above).  You can modify the image tag so that it is more keyword rich:

<a href=””><img alt=”ryan gosling crazy sexy love, ryan gosling shirtless, ryan reynolds shirtless, ryan reynolds body, ryan reynolds abs” src=”” width=”599″ height=”409″ /></a>

Example 2: Your Outfit of the Day

Maybe you aren't showcasing Ryan Gosling shirtless on your site though.  Maybe your site is primarily outfit photos.  You can still use the Img Alt tag to tag your outfits.

Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies, plus-size fashion blogger, eShakti beaded top, Seychelles Carriage Shoes, Foley & Corinna Mid-City Bag, House of Harlow Robyn sunglasses

The code on this outfit post looks like this:

<a href=””><img alt=”ashetop” src=”” width=”599″ height=”465″ /></a>

Again, the img alt tag defaulted to the image name — but I can help search engines by tagging this outfit: with the brands and styles I'm wearing, that I'm a plus-size blogger, etc.  The tags could end up looking like this:

<a href=””><img alt=”Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies, plus-size fashion blogger, eShakti beaded top, Seychelles Carriage Shoes, Foley & Corinna Mid-City Bag, House of Harlow Robyn sunglasses” src=”” width=”599″ height=”465″ /></a>

This way, any one on the internet searching for these brands or products may find my photos, and ultimately my post on the items.

Example 3: A Review/Brand/Item/Shopping Post

A third common way to use the img alt tag is by tagging the images in all of your posts — whether it's a beauty review, a shopping wishlist, the random food, home decor, or book review, or a roundup of the best summer trends.

favorite beauty products, favorite powders, favorite compacts, best primer, smashbox photo finish primer, smashbox high definition foundation, laura mercier powder

Above is a roundup I did of my favorite beauty products for the face.  I'm sure you can guess by now what the original img alt tag looks like, so here's how you can tag this post:

<a href=””><img alt=”favorite beauty products, favorite powders, favorite compacts, best primer, smashbox photo finish primer, smashbox high definition foundation, laura mercier powder” src=”” width=”598″ height=”525″ /></a>

And there you have it! The basics of using the img alt tag to improve SEO on your posts.  This is a simple, but super effective way to bring more traffic into your site.

Visitors who are looking for Ryan Gosling shirtless and finding a post on male body image may end up a little disappointed (or maybe not– he's still sans shirt), but those who are looking to see how a particular pair of sunglasses fits or how skinny jeans looks on a plus-size body may find just what they're looking for.

Have you been using the img alt tag to help improve your SEO? Do you have any more advice to share on using these tags?

Related Posts

About The Author

Alex Lagarejos is an award-winning photographer based in South West London. Originally from Glasgow, Alex moved to London as a teenager and pursued a career in the arts; to fund his way through drama school Alex was lucky enough to work as an assistant to some of London’s top photographers where he honed his craft. Now Alex has managed to forge his way as an acclaimed photographer; offering first class headshot sessions in both the acting and corporate world. Commercially, Alex Lagarejos Photography has also secured several large editorial, travel and lifestyle commissions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

92 Responses

  1. Sarah Harman

    Great tips! I always forget to add alt tags to my images, its one of those last minute things I usually forget to do.
    Another little tip is that you don’t need to repeat words in the alt tag. 🙂
    Sarah x

    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Ooh, excellent to know, Sarah! I always assumed like my SEO tags, I should fill in the terms that people would use (and that “Ryan Gosling shirtless” and “Ryan Gosling abs” would pull up two different searches).

      Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. emily | shell chic'd

    IMG ALT tags have boosted my traffic more than any other thing! I didn’t even think to list multiple tags though, so I’m excited to try that as well and see if such makes a difference. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Monica

    Before adding images to the post I change the name of the pictures, as your second example. I look to the picture and start describing it as if some one is looking for it on google.
    Its good to even add the brand as I have notice that people write on their search: Zara skirts, MNG leggings, etc.

  4. Hey Mishka

    I get lazy with this sometimes — good reminder to keep on top of it. So much of my traffic ends up coming from Google image search. It’s a powerful tool!


  5. dacy

    A friend who is very SEO savvy had recommended this to me, and it makes a lot of sense – I think brand names and specific item descriptions are helpful, since I personally always do an image search of a “real” person (i.e., not model) wearing an item before I buy it.

    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Yes! I love including brand names, style names, and descriptions (ie. “red cowboy boots”) — anything that will help people like you + I find what we’re looking for!

  6. chris

    Never forget the importance of the science behind bringing people to your site, after all if nobody was actually reading your blog it maybe hard to get the motivation to carry on!
    SEO is one of those important things that I regularly overlooked but if you include it in the process of writing each post can have a massive impact on readership.

  7. Samantha Cossick

    Never knew you could do this, so definitely thank you for these helpful tips! I’m going to start trying it now and see how it helps!

  8. Justine

    As someone that is new to blogging, SEO is somewhat confusing to me. Thanks for making the img alt tag easy to understand!

  9. Meg

    Amazing. I seriously don’t know what I’d do without Heart IFB and your awesome tips. Changing all my image tags ASAP. THANK YOU.

    Meg, treasurefull

  10. Hope Howland

    This is really great info! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Melissa

    Thanks for this! My problem is, sometimes, when I add lots of random words to the alt tag, when people pin my pictures, it brings up the random words instead of the post title/description. Any idea how to work around that?

    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      You may want to try experiementing with the Pinterest plugin? I think by default mine brings up the title of the post, but I’ve seen sites where it will pull up ALT information instead. But it may be a setting?

    • Chef Pri

      I’m also having this problem. Have you had any luck figuring out a solution?

      And thank you for writing this post – it’s so helpful! And I love the examples.

  12. Ashley "Ashe" Robison

    Depending on your platform, it may not automatically include the tag. You can add it after .jpg” and before the > though by simply adding alt=”text here”>

    Hope that helps!

  13. Brieanna

    I always use img alt tags but not to this extent. Definitely something i’m going to work on, great post. x

  14. Jennifer

    I’m a new food blogger but I subscribe to IFB because I love fashion and you guys offer some of the best blogging advice I’ve read anywhere. This post about image tags was super helpful and you explained it simply, which really I appreciate because I’m not a techie. Thank you.

    • Anna

      I was reading over the comments and saw this…haha, too funny!

      Thank you Ashe for the helpful tutorial. I have been using the img alt on my blog pictures, and just wanted to make sure I’m doing it right! 🙂

  15. chico santos

    this is really helpful! i am just a budding blogger and this would really help boost my blogsite!

  16. Amber via A•Mused Blog


    I figured out a much easier way to add img alt tags to our images! Simply open your editor, and stay in “compose” mode. Upload your images as you usually do. Once finished, click on the image. It will highlight, and give several options. Click “properties”. Fill in your alt words. You can even add a “title” (use this to add a details description of the photo).

    Super easy right?

    You’re welcome!

  17. Laura

    This comes right in time! I was just looking for good information about this subject yesterday. Thanks a lot!

  18. Chris Mayhew

    Great tips Ashe. So many people pay little attention to the images on their site but making these easier for the search engines to understand is a vital part of optimizing any website.

  19. Micky

    I always made it a habit to add alt tags to my images, to any images I use on the blog, really. And I estimate over 30% of my traffic comes from people looking at images only. So that’s pretty good in my opinion!

  20. Somdyuti

    Is there a limit to how many words you can use in the alt tag? Since everything related to SEO basically comes with a bar, I was wondering if the alt tag also had some kind of restriction, like 5 words per image or 10 words per image?

  21. Somdyuti

    Is there a certain limit to how many words can be used in the alt tag? Since most of the SEO matters comes with a restriction, I was wondering if the alt tag also came with some kind of word limit. I wa shoping if you would share how many words can be used maximum in the alt tags for each photo. In the above 3 photos you have used around 6 tags per photo. Is that the limit to using the words or it is more?

  22. Karis Bonheur

    I’m brand new to blogging as of today so traffic and trying to gain followers is all new to me! This is a great tip though thank you, I wouldn’t have even known about traffic until I had read this haha! Amateur me…


    I have no idea how IMG ALT tags is or how to do it
    Could you do a step by step tutorial about it?

  24. Kayla

    Just added the alt tags, thanks so much for the advice! As a fairly new blogger, this is much appreciated 🙂

  25. Kenneth Jacobs

    I’m going to go through my posts and make sure all my photos have tags on the IMG alt. I hope it brings more traffic to my site 😀


    I did it on a few of my photos, but the jpg. did not show in the link when I clicked on the photo, is that normal? My traffic almost doubled though! Thanks!

  27. Anna H

    This is genius. I’ve been blogging for a little while but hadn’t really taken the steps to optimize it until recently. I’m going to have to try this and see what happens!

  28. Noemi

    I always rename the photos I post, but not adding img alt before all the descriptions. I tried to add it but my traffic decreased (consistantly). I don’t know, maybe it’s a coincidence, but the posts with the photos renamed that way received very few visits, and the photos are not even included in google images.
    I guess I should just name them fall-winter-booties-etc.jpg
    I don’t know why it doesn’t work for me 🙁

  29. Lara Love

    Thank you so much for the tips! I can’t believe I didn’t know/understand image alt tagging before this post. I just implemented this on my most recent post. I’m excited to see how the results end up!

    xox Lara

  30. anthony davis

    Nice post. I am also associated with Search Engine optimisation, SEO Business,SEO and love to enjoy the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thank you again for writing such a good post.

    Explore more about : SEO

  31. Tonya Steele

    I am very impressed. I never knew about alt tags duh! Question: if you name each picture in folders with rich keywords, does that interfere with the alt tags? Should you do both or one or the other?

    • Ashley Robison

      Hi Tonya,
      In theory, the name of the image and the alt image tags shouldn’t conflict. I’m NOT an SEO expert, so I may be wrong, but I think of it as analagous to this:
      the image file is like the name of the book, and the alt image tags would be the categories you could find the book under.

      I typically do both, and haven’t seen any problems, if it helps!

      • Alessandro

        If you admit that you aren’t a SEO expert, why you give this SEO “tip”?

        It’s now many years that Google say that fulfilling of keywords an element wont boost anything, and instead can penalize your page/website…

        I appreciate the idea of what’s in this article, and it could have been a great tip until 2005/2006, but now it’s not helpful nor right, and dangerous…

  32. Ankita

    Thank you so much for this post. I only read it today. I didnt even know something like IMG Alt Tag existed. The post was so well explained that i didnt have to search further of how to do it. Thanks a lot Ashley!

  33. Kim

    Ashley, what great tips, thank you! I have been trying to figure out all morning how to add text to the image alt. Your info was a huge bonus. I have a question if you don’t mind.

    1) My wordpress doesn’t have “img alt” in the string. It has this, “<img src="” height=”height; ?>” width=”width; ?>” alt=”” />.” Is the “alt” at the end where I would add the text? Thank you!

    • Ashley Robison

      Hi Kim,
      the “alt” portion is exactly where you should add it – right between the quotation marks! I call it the IMG Alt tag so people have an easier time finding it (and the post via SEO).

  34. Martin

    Hi Ashley,

    I do use Alt text on each of my images, but I simply use it as a description to represent the meaning of the images.

    So I got a question, by making the alt text completely keyword rich (“with commas and all”), wouldn’t that be called keyword stuffing?

    • Jameela

      I was thinking the same thing as I reviewed the post, I believe if you used a phrase within 3-7 words to describe the image, then you’re safe. As many have mentioned the alt tag was originally created for users that are unable to see, the computer can read the text and interpret the alt tag to describe what’s on the page. The tag was later adopted into SEO uses but don’t see it ever going the route of the keyword tag if it is abused, because of it’s original use, however I would see Google being quick to penalize or put less weight on sites that abuse this tag. When it doubt always consider the user and of course use common sense.

  35. Stephanie Nwaiwu

    I don’t know if I should scream or shout. This is so helpful! On Blogger its a bit different though, so that took me a bit to find out, but still extremely helpful! Thank You!

    *Blogger Template – click on the picture, and in the toolbar that pops up click properties, and type in what you need!*

  36. Alessandro

    Doing this you completely kill all the accessibility of your website to people with a screen reader ( as the screen reader uses the alt tag to read, and describe to the blind user, the image )

    Just think at 10 images like that in a row, that’s would take an hour to read all your alt tags.

    Anyway if you don’t care about blind people then keep it going using a hundred words for an alt tag.

  37. Maliha Rao

    THIS has been by far the Most helpful Blogging tip EVER. Seriously….it is such an awesome tip! THANK YOU and BLESS YOU for Sharing!

  38. Quirky Engineer

    Thank you so much for this! While I’ve been blogging for about a year, I’ve recently joined IFB and this post has been super helpful. I’m definitely going to try and use this in my future blogposts. Thanks a lot!


  39. ahhhsoneo

    I’m not a fashion blogger but I have learned so much from IFB! And this… who knew? Thank you, can’t wait to start using this!

  40. Hello

    Thank you for this great tip! Quick question: would it be a waste of time to go back and rename all of the images I used in the past? Thanks again!!

  41. Tiffany

    This is a great tip!! Do you recommend going back on old entries/photos and adding in the img alt keywords to those photos? Will it make a huge difference in driving traffic to old posts..or should I just begin doing that from now on for new posts?

  42. Joseph Miller

    The most important Image Optimization factors consist of the alt tag, title tag,
    image size, image name and image linking. Thanks for sharing this valuable information on image optimization.

  43. Barbara

    Hi, I skimmed the info and will re read it in awhile, but in the skimming still got great info that I needed to pass along to a client. But I’m not sure if you mentioned other reasons for those alt tags and they are for the visually impaired, and they are their “eyes”. An image labeled Img 234, doesn’t tell the person anything. But if it is labeled as well as you did in your examples, then they can “see” what the image is while the scanner is going over the website.

  44. Lucy

    Great post.

    Two quick questions.
    1. I have over 700 posts and ideally, I want to go back and add alt tags but that would take a lifetime. Is there a plugin that can magically do this for me?
    2. What about when a word has a symbol in it? Like H&M? It turns it into “H&M”. How does that affect google search?

  45. Ashley Andrien

    Stuffing alt tags with keywords is very bad practice. The best approach for the alt tag is a concise sentence which describes the image in an altruistic, well-written, and straight-forward way. Lookup “google panda alt tag”.

  46. da nii

    Hi, thanks, learnt something here, is there a way to automatically add the same alt tag to a number of images?

  47. Keith

    Good tip, however I am using a blogger blog for my blog. How do I go about changing the image file name please?