Alt-text is a short phrase that’s used to identify images, typically on web pages. But as social media expands, alt-text is often added to images uploaded to social platforms as well. The reason for this is two-fold – firstly it allows visually impaired users to ‘hear’ the images as a screen reader will read the alt-text or image descriptor and secondly, alt-text can be used to make your content rank better in search engine queries.
SEO will focus on websites page and text content, but imagery can be a significant search criteria and by adding relevant alt-text tags to your images it will help with ranking in those search results.
Most of your snazzy instagram photos won’t appear in search results and this is okay if it’s just you and your shih-tzu, but as a business looking to gain followers or customers, the addition of alt-text and search engine results can really level up your marketing game and potential customer reach.
According to the Social Media Examiner “alt text could play a big role in the future of post rankings in Instagram searches and feed placements. Instagram has been working with AI tools to define and determine what content is in a post. This algorithm and technology help determine what content shows up in the Instagram Explore pages.”
So how do you do it? Let’s break it down into 3 easy steps…
- Create a new post and add your caption, location etc.
- Scroll down and click on Advanced Settings at the bottom of the page.
- Under the ACCESSIBILITY section there is a Write Alt Text” option. Click on it, add your alt-text and click DONE.
You can also edit your previous posts to add alt-text into them. Simply hit the 3 little buttons at the top right of your previous post, choose EDIT and then Edit Alt Text in the bottom right of the image.
A couple of important points to consider are : keep your alt-text phrases to under 125 characters to avoid them being broken up by screen readers, include relevant keywords but don’t overstuff them! We as humans read in a sentence structure so placing keywords in proper phrasing helps make it more valuable and relevant, and lastly use emojis! If they align with your brand, get creative! Screen readers will read emojis as text.
Aaannnnndddd you’re done! Go forth and tag!