Two Birds, One Text Field: SEO and Accessibility with Amazon Alt Text

Outside of Amazon, image keywords are known as “alt image text.” We will use these terms interchangeably throughout this article. This type of text, which is normally invisible, makes product images in the eCommerce sphere accessible to the visually impaired. Image keywords will also appear when a photo doesn’t load properly. They provide a digestible word picture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Amazon’s 100-character image keywords are priceless when it comes to your SEO and ability to connect with customers. 

Behind-the-Scenes Amazon SEO Optimization

There are two important factors at play in developing effective image keywords. 

First, image keyword fields give search engines a better idea of how to index your images. Your product’s SEO gets a boost as a result. Amazon now states that image keywords “help your product appear in search.” That makes the alt text field an ideal home for extra keywords that pertain to your product. 

Second, you will usher in traffic and produce conversions by properly describing your product for the visually impaired. 

If you are selling a ball cap and your alt text is “image.jpeg” and another brand uses the same image with the alt text “smiling man wearing blue hat with white Royals logo,” which would you choose? 

If you are using lifestyle photos, a strategy that we definitely recommend for your listing, the way you choose to describe your images is crucial. Your choice of words creates a visual for how the person will feel when they use the product and boosts your Amazon listing overall. 

Kickstart your SEO to encourage buyers to click on your listing, and then encourage conversion with accessibility. Bolster your SEO, build trust, and they will click. 

The Nitty Gritty: Amazon Guidelines

You are beginning to understand just why image keywords are vital to your listing. So let’s dive into a deeper understanding of how to apply this knowledge. 

To upload their listings, sellers with registered brands who want to create  A+ content must fill out the image keyword fields. Each A+ content module image features an accompanying field for alt text. Once you’re ready to get started, here are the more technical requirements you should keep in mind:

  • 100-character limit
  • No need to be grammatically correct
  • No repetition of any words (this is why alt text is often not grammatically correct)
  • No punctuation
  • Avoid restricted words
  • This version of alt text can have spaces
  • Image keywords on Amazon are required for each individual image, so a standard four image A+ module will have four different image keyword fields
  • Despite its misleading name, this field is not intended solely for search terms, so don’t keyword stuff!

How to Write Accessible Alt Text that Engages SEO 

  • Step 1: Utilize 1-2 keywords, but resist the urge to keyword stuff. Describe the image accurately. Your phrases should be impactful for a visually impaired customer.  
  • Step 2: Make it clear what the image is by using colors and descriptive language.
  • Step 3: Stick to Amazon guidelines and avoid restricted content. 
  • Step 4: Avoid superlatives. Say “blue hat” instead of “pretty hat.” Keep it objective.
  • Step 5: Don’t use punctuation. Leave out hyphens, commas, and apostrophes. 

Image Keywords for Amazon in Action: Okay vs. On Point

Here are a few image keyword alt text examples we curated to help you craft your text on your own. 

Imagine you are using this gorgeous mountain image to sell a hiking backpack. Your keyword is “hiking pack.” Here are some Amazon image keyword options:

back view of a person wearing black and red hiking pack looking over sunlit mountains

Okay: person hiking with backpack

❌ No keyword

❌ No location

❌ No descriptive words

❌ Minimal characters used

 

On Point: back view of a person wearing black and yellow hiking pack looking over sunlit mountains 

✅ Maximizes character space

✅ Includes descriptive words like “yellow” and “sunlit”

✅ Uses the keyword

✅ No word repetition

✅ No punctuation

 

This next example features a photo of a hand towel. The keyword phrase you want to use is “bathroom hand towel”:

stack of plush blue and red bathroom hand towel set

Okay: hand drying towels

❌ No keyword

❌ No location

❌ No descriptive words

❌ Minimal characters used

 

On Point: stack of plush blue and red bathroom hand towel set

✅ Uses descriptive words like “plush” and “blue”

✅ Incorporates the keyword

✅ No word repetition

✅ No punctuation

 

Tale as Old as Time: Alt Text and Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is tempting but detrimental to the meaning of your image keywords. This approach turns potential conversions away because it feels impersonal. Below, we’ve created an example of keyword stuffing and explained how it reads. 


For this image, you are selling a multivitamin. Your keywords are vitamin A, vitamin D, multivitamin for men, and multivitamin for women:

 happy man taking red multivitamin for men and women with glass of water

Not Even Okay: multivitamin for men multivitamin for women with vitamin A vitamin D capsule

 

❌ Image keywords don’t describe the actual image

❌ Many words are repeated

❌ The phrase doesn’t make sense

 

On Point: smiling man taking red multivitamin for men and women with glass of water

✅ Strong balance of keywords and description

✅ No repetition

✅ Evokes the feeling the customer might have when taking the vitamin

A Few Marketing Tips: Amazon Accessibility Best Practices

  • When in doubt, use a text-to-speech app like the Read Aloud Chrome extension to hear how your alt text actually sounds.
  • Take both accessibility and SEO in Amazon into consideration. Alt text is a win-win for everyone if done correctly.
  • Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple and just write what the image shows. 
  • Be descriptive yet concise. 
  • Image keywords are required when you upload A+ content, so make the most out of it! 

We hope this empowers you to maximize every single word in your listing and fill it to the brim with potential! 

If this process feels overwhelming, let us help you! Emmazon provides image keyword/alt text descriptions for our A+ Content packages as well as additional front-end keyword research. We are dedicated to optimizing every listing with your own unique flair. Let us bring each image to life with Amazon image keywords that pop off the page.


Sarah Medley

Sarah is a copywriter, yoga instructor, and fitness nerd. An avid matcha drinker, you can find her settling in with a warm cup of tea to write every morning. She loves her friends, food, and ultimate frisbee more than most things, and in no particular order.

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