Optimizing alt text won’t impact Web SEO Rankings
Google’s John Mueller shed light on image alt texts and their impact on SEO in a recent English Google SEO office-hours held on March 18, 2022. The SEO community emphasizes the need to use keyword-optimized alt texts as a best practice for SEO. Some believe that optimized alt texts do have an indirect impact on web search rankings. John Mueller, who is the Search Advocate at Google, was asked a similar question during the session.
According to Mueller, there is no denying that alt text helps Google understand images better. However, optimizing the alt text will only help you in image search rankings. If your main focus isn’t to rank in image search, you could also use the same images (stock images) on different pages.
“From an SEO point of view, the alt text really helps us to understand the image better for image search. And if you don’t care about this image for image search then like that’s fine like do whatever you want with it. And that’s something for decorative images sometimes you just don’t care for things like stock photos where you know that the same image is on lots of other sites you don’t care about image search for that. Like, do whatever you want to do there and I would focus more on the accessibility aspect there rather than the pure SEO aspect”, said John Mueller.
When it comes to image optimization, Google recommends putting greater emphasis on accessibility.
Use textual content rather than images for Web SEO rankings
Google advises to use textual content instead of images to improve your SEO rankings in web search. If you want to make the page look attractive, you can use different design elements to display the text in a more appealing way. Adding SEO-optimized text to images will not help with web search rankings, even though you use optimized alt texts. The best solution is to display text directly on the page which is also better for the crawler to understand.
“I think, ideally, if you have text and images it probably makes sense to have the text directly on the page itself. Nowadays there are lots of ways to creatively display text across a website so I wouldn’t necessarily try to use text in images and then use the alt text as a way to help with that. I think the alt text is a great way to help with that, but ideally it’s better to avoid having text in images”, says John Mueller.
You can watch the entire discussion on alt texts in the video linked below: