Have you ever noticed that when you go to fix a caption, or tag someone on your latest Instagram post, that little option in the bottom right hand corner that says “Edit Alt Text?” Whilst you may ignore it, it can actually be pretty useful in getting you more traction on your page, because it’s basically SEO for Instagram.
What is Alt Text?🧐
If you are already an SEO aficionado, you probably know what Alt Text is, but if you aren’t let us walk you through it. Alt Text appears when an image hasn’t loaded properly, as a way to describe the content of that image, and is also used to describe imagery to those that are visually impaired. If the Alt Text on your Instagram post is relevant and descriptive of the photo you post, then it helps improve your searchability on the platform, and therefore will increase the likelihood of your content being shown to a wider audience. This is because Instagram’s algorithm basically wants you to apply descriptive Alt Text to your posts, as it helps improve their image recognition technology (we go deeper into how this can also help improve your page here).
How Can Alt Text Improve the Visibility of Your Posts?👍
As we talked about above, using Alt Text helps Instagram flag what exactly your post contains, so that it can improve its image recognition software. It also improves your visibility, because it adds descriptive text to your posts. So, if you were to post a video of yourself singing a cover of Hey Jude by The Beatles, and added Alt Text to describe that content – when someone searches “covers of Hey Jude by The Beatles,” your video has an increased likelihood of appearing in that search – and an increased likelihood of going viral.
As everything is also online, it works at literal SEO, so whether someone searches “covers of Hey Jude” on Google or Instagram, your video could still appear. Alt Text increases the touchpoints for your post visibility – cool if you’re trying to grow your Instagram account or create viral content, right?
Even if you don’t add Alt Text, Instagram adds auto-Alt Text to your posts, as they aim to make their platform accessible to everyone. However, they might get it wrong, and include Alt Text that doesn’t make sense with your post (kind of like when you try and google translate something and it comes out a little jumbled), which will effectively not do too much for your visibility. If you add your own, not only do you help your own potential performance, but you also help Instagram learn how to recognize types of content more effectively and make your content more accessible to audiences who can’t physically see it. It’s a win-win-win.
So, Here’s How To Do It…
First, we’ll show you how to actually add Alt Text to existing or new posts, then we’ll give you a few pointers when it comes to the best practices – next time you post, you’ll be an Alt Text pro.
How to add Alt Text to an existing post:
- Head to the post you want to add Alt Text to. Here, we’re on our post about how to craft the perfect Instagram caption.
- Click the three dots in the top right hand corner of the post, to see your options, then click edit.
- In the bottom right hand corner you’ll see the option to “Edit Alt Text” – click this.
- Add in your Alt Text, and select done!
How to add Alt Text to a new post:
- Once you have the perfect post, caption, hashtags and edits head to Advanced Settings.
- Scroll down to accessibility and you should see the option to “Write Alt Text.” Add in your text and click done!
The best practices for writing Alt Text on your Instagram posts:
- Be descriptive. Remember, the purpose of Alt Text is to make your post accessible, so you want to write something that makes sense and is contextually relevant. If you are too vague, it won’t help with search results either. So, try to avoid posting a line of Alt Text that says “girl in dress,” go for something a little more descriptive like “fashion blogger in long red dress in London.”
- Include keywords that you want to be searched for. If someone searches dog lover, and you exclusively post pictures of your dogs, you might want to come up in that search. Therefore, don’t be afraid to use terms that describe the type of account you have, just as long as it makes sense when it’s all typed out. That way, you have a higher chance of appearing in searches you want to appear in.
- If your post includes text that is important to the image, type this out too.
- Be specific, but not too specific. Describe your image so that someone knows exactly what is in it, and so that you include important keywords, but avoid unnecessary details.
- Use Flick (or your hashtags) for inspo. Just like Alt Text, hashtags need to be contextually relevant if they are going to perform well. If you’re stumped, look to your hashtags for descriptive words, and use Flick to see which performs best. This can help you narrow down an Alt Text caption that you will achieve maximum potential for visibility on.