Quantitative Marketing

Why Keywords, Alt-text and Meta Descriptions are Important

Arcalea’s Insights Blog delivers thought leadership for driving business outcomes with data, technology, and creative solutions.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves hundreds of terms and strategies aimed at ranking highly on search engines like Google. Among the most important concepts are keywords, alt-text, and meta description. If you want users to actually find your website, you need these three pieces.

We summarized keywords, alt-text and meta descriptions and how it can help your site succeed in the ever-growing world of SEO.

What is keyword research?

For Google to understand what your website is about, you need to use keywords, like “flower shop” or “pet store”. And to understand the best keywords to use, you need to conduct keyword research. This is the process of finding and listing all the possible keywords or phrases you need to include on a webpage or website, so you can rank more highly for that term on a search engine.

With so many possible keyword combinations, the best ways to stand out in the crowd is to create a list of your business’s products and services. Paid tools like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer or Moz’s Keyword Explorer not only suggest which keywords to use, they’ll even display how often people search for that term, or how expensive it is to advertise using that term.    

Why are keywords important?

People use keywords to find what they need or want on search engines. The more instances of a keyword on a website, the higher its potential search ranking.

This is because Google has bots that crawl and read each page. These “crawlers” categorize and identify websites by the keywords they use. Websites can also increase their ranking by using specific keywords and keyword variations, like using “organic dog food” and “dog food bowls” instead of just “dog food”.

What is alt text?

Alt text (alternative text), also known as “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions”, or “alt tags”, is a phrase or sentence that describes an image’s contents or function on a webpage. In WordPress, alt text can be added and modified through code or the image uploader.

Why is alt text important?

Alt text offers three important benefits. First, it serves an SEO purpose. When keywords are included in the alt-text, the webpage can rank more highly for that keyword (as long as it isn’t “stuffed” or used excessively).

Second, alt text provides a brief description of an image when a slow connection fails to properly load the website.

Finally, alt text also works as an aid for visually-impaired readers so they can still navigate their way through your site.  

How to check if an image has alt text

Simply hover to the image in question and see if it displays a phrase or sentence. Alternatively, you can check in your media library in WordPress or open up the page’s source code.

What is a meta description?

If alt text describes an image, meta description describes a webpage. With a limit of 155 characters, meta descriptions act as a summary or snippet of the page’s content.

Meta descriptions are usually added to the site’s HTML code to display a quick preview of the website in search results.

Why is meta description important?

Technically, meta descriptions do not affect SEO. That means that including certain keywords will not affect your overall ranking.

However, meta descriptions are the first words your users or customers will see about that webpage, and the language you use can determine whether they click or not.

Strong meta descriptions will describe what a page is about but leave room for attracting and engaging users to click on the link.

How to add meta description in WordPress

Install the  Yoast SEO plugin in your WP Dashboard. Activate the plugin and you’ll start seeing the meta title and description field after every blog post, which you can use to your advantage. Alternatively, you can use meta descriptions in the code of each page.

Putting it all together

Landing a good spot in the search engine is not really as back-breaking as it seems. With the proper strategy, keywords, alt-text, and meta descriptions in the proper places, your website could soar high in search rankings, potentially leading to more web traffic and customer inquiries.

Of course, although these concepts are easy to define, they are trickier to implement and perfect in reality. To learn more about how an award-winning search agency can optimize your website, contact Arcalea today.

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