Why Paywalls Are Damaging To SEO

In order to remain profitable, many publications have resorted to locking their content behind subscription fees. Unfortunately, from a search engine optimization perspective, this is one of the worst things you can do. Here’s why.

See if this sounds familiar.

Whether for professional purposes, academic research, or simply personal interest, you’re searching for something on Google — details on a news story, perhaps, or information on your industry. You find a website that looks promising on the search engine results page (SERP), click through, and suddenly, you’re hit with a paywall. Your research efforts immediately grind to a halt, and you bounce back to the SERP, frustrated.

Eventually, you find the exact same information elsewhere. 

Whether through a need to remain profitable or an effort to open up new revenue streams, more and more publications appear to be relying on gated content. Instead of allowing users free access to their site and paying the bills through advertising networks, they lock down their site and lock out anyone who can’t pay. The problem is that in most cases, their content is nowhere near unique enough to justify this approach. 

This is particularly pronounced, and more than a little ironic, where journalism is concerned. We’ve seen publications tout the importance of freedom of information in one breath, then stick out their hand and demand payment with the next. We’ve seen news agencies try to charge money for a story that is available essentially for free from multiple other sources.

In short, all a paywall does in most cases is alienate prospective users and drive them right into the waiting arms of your competitors. And Google will notice. It’s long been known that the search engine keeps track of how long a user spends on a particular website, meaning not only are you driving away your audience, you’re also potentially hurting your ranking on the SERP. 

We aren’t saying there’s no place for gated content on your website. Certain materials, such as case studies, webinars, or guidebooks, are completely acceptable to lock behind paywalls. Subscriber-exclusive content, like unique thought leadership pieces, can also be gated behind a subscription. 

Most users don’t expect to receive this kind of content for free, and so won’t be upset if you gate it off. The people who do want to pay to support your brand will do so. The rest will continue to drive traffic and share your content, potentially bringing in more paid subscribers.

Well-gated content also tends to be unique and valuable enough that people are willing to pay for it. That, more than anything, is the key differentiator. If you try to wall off content that’s freely available on a competitor’s website, your audience will simply go to that website and blacklist your brand. 

Paywalls are seen by many as a solution to the prominence of ad blocking software. But they are a clumsy, ham-fisted fix at best. Applying them across your entire website isn’t going to save you, nor will it bring in more revenue.

It will simply drive more and more people away from your content, and further drag down your brand.

The Biggest Mistake Most Businesses Make With Keyword Research

A major contributor to success in the business world means learning from your mistakes. In order to do that, however, you need to be aware you’re making them in the first place. And where search engine optimization is concerned, many businesses don’t, especially with keyword research.

According to the online statistics database Internet Live Stats, Google processes approximately 40,000 searches a second. At the time of writing, the search engine has already completed over five million searches. By the time this piece is written, that number will likely be closer to six. 

The sheer volume of search data processed by Google on a daily basis is overwhelming. And more than anything, it speaks to the importance of effective search engine optimization. Unless you do everything in your power to maximize the visibility of your brand, you’re likely going to end up lost in the noise.

Keyword research is arguably the most important aspect of SEO. It forms the foundation of every piece of content on your website, informs you what your audience is searching for, and helps guide the evolution of your brand. Unfortunately, in spite of its importance, it’s also the thing businesses most frequently get wrong.

The most common mistake we see is that they focus too much on raw numbers, without considering intent. Rather than making the keywords the foundation of their content, they simply try to target whatever keywords they think will bring in the most people. This is a fool’s game.

It doesn’t matter if a particular keyword associated with a page has incredibly high traffic if that keyword isn’t relevant to your audience. Higher volume keywords also tend to be far more competitive, as well, often making it next to impossible for your business to rank effectively. That isn’t to say search volume isn’t still important. 

It’s just not the only factor you should consider. 

The first thing you should do when brainstorming keywords is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want? Why are they interested in your brand, and why are they seeking you out? 

What language are they using to do so? 

If you’re having a bit of trouble conceptualizing this, you may consider taking a look at your competitors on the SERP and within your wider industry. Use your keyword research tool to examine what phrases generate the most traffic for competing websites. While you may not necessarily want to copy them entirely, this can nevertheless provide you with an effective starting point for your efforts. 

Keyword and topic research should be the foundation of your SEO efforts. Combined with demographic data, they should inform everything you do, from the content you create to the copy you use to describe your products and services. Maybe it was in the past, but today, SEO is not a numbers game.

Rather, it’s a measure of how well you understand your audience, their intent, and their desires. 

What Is It That Makes Questions So Effective for SEO?

Although they’re still important, keywords aren’t as valuable as they used to be. Questions are gaining ground. Here’s why, and how you can leverage them.

In many cases, it’s now more effective to answer a question directly rather than focus on a specific keyword. The reasons behind this shift are largely tied to an increased focus on natural language and conversational queries. Over the past few years, search engines have increasingly narrowed their focus, aiming squarely at understanding user intent above all else.

Figuring out exactly what a searcher wants, and why. Understanding not just what someone is searching for, but the context behind that search. And ultimately, delivering the best possible website on the Internet to fulfill the searcher’s needs. 

For anyone who’s been paying attention, this should come as no surprise. Sentiment-based search has always been the desired end state of search engines. The previous, keyword-based approach was really just a patchwork attempt at that.

There’s also the fact that, as voice search grows more prominent, we’re seeing a large-scale shift towards conversational queries. People aren’t just typing in short phrases anymore. They’re asking questions, especially on mobile devices. 

Q&A content aligns directly with this evolution towards natural language searches. You are directly addressing your audience, answering their question as if you were speaking with them in the same room. No doubt as a result of this trend, Google debuted featured snippets a few years ago. 

Located at the very top of the search engine results page — colloquially known as position zero — featured snippets have a single goal in mind. Their intent is to provide a simple and immediate answer to a user’s question. As you might expect, this means they can have an extremely pronounced impact on traffic. 

Because they typically only contain a small selection of text, and because many search queries require more than a few sentences for a full explanation, people will often click through to your website to learn more. Not to mention what they can do for brand recognition. Being positioned in a featured snippet is an indication that your website provides one of the best possible answers on the Internet.

People recognize that. 

Now that we’ve established how drafting up Q&A content can improve your SEO, let’s talk about what you need in order to actually put that into practice. First, content quality is critical. Your answer to a question needs to be the best, the perfect blend of thorough and concise. 

That means getting straight to the point. It means using high-quality media, and ensuring every single corner of your site is optimized for performance. And it means constantly examining, evaluating, and tweaking your content for maximum effect. 

Second, you’d do well to explore your industry to see what questions people are asking. Q&A sites like Quora are a good place to start, though you might also want to examine industry-specific community websites. There are also several tools you can use for this, such as Also Asked. 

Finally, it’s important to note that question-based SEO and featured snippets are not ideal for every single organization. According to SEO software developer Ahrefs, nearly 100 percent of featured snippets are pulled from pages that are already near the top of the SERP.  Per SEO expert Moz, this means that the types of search queries/industries that are likeliest to make it into the snippet are as follows. 

  • DIY processes and how-tos. 
  • Small businesses in highly niche industries.
  • Health.
  • Finance.
  • Math.
  • Guidelines/requirements.

So does that mean that if you aren’t in a niche field or already at the top of your industry, featured snippets and Q&A pieces aren’t worth writing? Not exactly. Conversational search is still incredibly frequent, and showing audiences your thought leadership by answering their questions can be an excellent way to strengthen your brand. 

As such, the next time you’re doing keyword research, it may be invaluable to examine what questions are associated with each keyword you choose. That way, you know what your audience is asking. And more importantly, you can figure out the best answer possible. 

3 Factors That May Cause a Decline in Website Traffic

Has your website seen a sudden and unexpected downturn in traffic? While that’s certainly concerning, it’s not the end of the world. Here are some of the most common causes of traffic decline, and what you can do about them.

Traffic might not be the sole indicator of whether or not your search engine optimization efforts are successful, but it’s certainly a good benchmark. Similarly, a sharp decline in traffic is a sure sign that something has gone wrong. However, provided you’re following all the SEO best practices, it might not be your fault.

The Search Engine Results Page can be a volatile place, after all. From algorithm updates to shifts in your industry’s marketplace, there are a lot of external factors that can cause a traffic drop. Fortunately, you have more control over these than you might expect.

It starts with knowing where to look. 

An Algorithm Change Has Hit You Like a Truck

If you’ve noticed a sudden and alarming drop in your numbers, the first thing you should do is check Google. Specifically, check what people are saying about Google’s algorithms. Has there been a recent update that could account for the decline? 

As noted by freelance marketing consultant Martin Wilson, Google does tend to have a history of pushing out algorithm updates that directly penalize websites that use outdated or spammy SEO techniques. Of these, the 2011 Panda update has arguably been the most devastating. Marketing publication Search Engine Land reported in 2013 that the algorithm update forced some businesses to change their names, change their business model, fire staff, or even close their doors altogether. 

This could be what’s happening with you, in which case you need to figure out how to fix things and fast. 

You’ve Lost Some Major Backlinks

While the jury is still out on whether or not backlinks are a major ranking factor, what is clear is that a backlink from an authority site can work wonders for your web traffic. It also means that if that site shuts down or the page on which your backlink was hosted is deleted, you’re likely to see a sharp drop in traffic. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to figure out if this is the case.

Most SEO tools, including the Google Search Console, allow you to track backlinks to your site. Have a look and see if there’s anything missing. Also, check to make sure you haven’t had any suspicious backlinks directed your way.

As explained by Social Media Today, toxic backlinks can get you saddled with a penalty by Google. These can include links from obvious link farms or spam sites, links from multiple mirrors of the same page, or links from low-quality websites. You can use the Google Search Console to disavow these links and remove the penalty from your ranking.

Your Competitors Are Killing It and Leaving You Behind

A sudden traffic drop isn’t always connected to an algorithm change or an issue with external links. Sometimes it’s just a sign that one of your competitors has upped their SEO game. Don’t be too upset about this, though.

Look at it as an opportunity. Your competition has revealed a weak spot in your SEO strategy. You can use this to grow, improve, and ultimately surpass them. 

You did it once, you can do it again.

5 Characteristics That Define a Low Quality Website

We spend a lot of time talking about what you should do with your website from a search engine optimization perspective. Today, we’re going to talk about what you shouldn’t do. Here are five characteristics that can, to some extent, be found on every bad website.

Not all websites are created equal.

For every great site, there are scores upon scores of downright awful ones. Websites whose creators either don’t understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing or simply don’t care. Today, we’re going to try something a little different.

We’re going to go over some characteristics that most of these low-grade sites share in common, and how you can avoid being lumped in with them yourself. 

Your Content Is Bad

Content is king, and if the king is incompetent, everything else comes crashing down. 

Maybe you’ve spun all the content in your blog from other sources. Maybe there’s a ton of duplicate content within your own site; multiple pages with the same copy that serve no real purpose. Either way, if your content isn’t unique and compelling, Google will consider your website to be of middling quality, at best.

Plagiarism and content duplication aren’t the only ways you can fail in terms of content creation, mind you. Your website might have a surplus of thin content, low-value stuff that serves little purpose and offers little value to the audience. Or worse still, the content on your page might be misleading, tricking users into clicking and not actually providing what they’re looking for. 

There Are Performance Issues

Slow load times. Advertisements that interrupt the content. Rich media that causes a user’s device to slow to a crawl.

Poor website performance is one of the surest ways to not only drive users away from your site but also to get yourself penalized by Google. It’s common knowledge at this point that page speed is a factor in determining a page’s rank. As such, you need to make sure you’re using a good host, with a decent content delivery network, and that you’ve done everything you can to optimize every last corner of your website. 

You Don’t Provide Enough Information

The general rule for any business website is that there should be NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information on every single page. A customer visiting your site should, at a glance, be able to figure out both how to contact you and who you are. A site that doesn’t offer this information is often treated as low quality by Google.

People need to know who you are. How to contact you. How to reach out to customer support about your products and services. Who created the content on your site.

Spam Everywhere

We’ve all heard the stories of the early days of SEO. It was the wild west, with keyword stuffers, link farms, and black hat SEO experts dominating the rankings. Those days are long behind us, but for some reason, there are still many webmasters who believe we’re still living in that dark era. 

Overbearing advertisements, frequently laden with malware and spyware. Countless spammy links as far as the eye can see. Bots pasting links to the website wherever they can, shoving into as many faces as possible.

These are the hallmarks of a spammer, and the surest sign that a website isn’t worth visiting. 

Your Reputation Is In The Toilet

Word travels fast on the web. If your brand has recently been involved in any major scandals or you’ve developed a reputation for poor quality or service, that will eventually come back to bite you. At that point, your website’s quality is going to suffer no matter how much work you put into it.

It’s important that you maintain positive relations with your customers. That you do everything in your power to address negative reviews and customer complaints. And that you pay attention to what people are saying in order to respond effectively. 

Quality is Key

Reputation management, quality content, thorough information, respect for your audience, and seamless performance. These are the characteristics you need to pursue in order to ensure your website doesn’t fall down the pit of poor quality. Fortunately, none of them are particularly difficult to accomplish — you really just have to be willing to put in the work.

The Unexpected Relationship Between Color and SEO

There’s a lot that goes into search engine optimization, from compelling content to technical elements. Believe it or not, color actually plays a role in SEO as well. A greater one than you might expect.

Anyone who’s spent even a middling amount of time studying marketing knows that there’s a certain psychology behind color and how it applies to branding. Each color has its own subtle effect on a consumer. Each color has its own effect on moods, emotions, and ultimately behavior.

The problem is that, contrary to what some people would have you believe, this isn’t necessarily something you can leverage. As noted by consumer relationship management expert Helpscout, how we experience a particular color is largely personal. It’s influenced by our personal experiences, cultural background, personal preferences, and upbringing.

More importantly, it’s influenced by context. We do not experience color in a vacuum. The color red, for instance, can have a completely different meaning if it’s used to sell romantic gifts versus a men’s clothing line.

It’s ultimately about the personality you want your brand to convey, and whether or not your chosen colors are congruent with that. If there’s a major disconnect between color and identity, people are going to notice. They’re going to find it jarring, and as a result, they’re going to develop a negative association with your brand.

The first step, then, is to think about how you want your brand to make people feel. Think about its core personality traits, and what sort of emotions you want it to inspire in the audience. Per web design specialist 99Designs, the most common associations between colors and traits are as follows: 

  • Red. Passionate, angry, important, excited, commanding. 
  • Orange. Vital, playful, friendly, energetic. 
  • Yellow. Happy, youthful, optimistic, attention-grabbing.
  • Green. Stable, prosperous, natural, growing. 
  • Light blue. Tranquil, innocent, trustworthy, open.
  • Dark blue. Professional, secure, formal, mature, trustworthy. 
  • Purple. Dignified, creative, luxurious. 
  • Pink. Feminine, innocent, youthful, luxurious, modern. 
  • Brown. Rugged, earthly, old-fashioned.
  • White. Clean, virtuous, healthy, simple. 
  • Gray. Neutral, subdued, serious, mysterious, mature. 
  • Black. Powerful, sophisticated, edgy, luxurious. 

This is all well and good, but what does any of this have to do with search engine optimization? 

First, your website’s color palette plays a central role in the site’s usability. Effective use of contrasting colors and complementary colors can be the difference between a website that’s pleasing to the eye, and one that’s almost gaudy enough to cause physical pain. Our advice is to use your brand’s most noticeable colors around your call to action and keep everything else relatively neutral and simple. 

Second, how a website looks plays an important part in how well it draws in qualified leads. First impressions are everything here. A well-planned, well-designed site with good colors is going to be far more effective and successful than one that you’ve just thrown together.

The color choice doesn’t have a direct impact on your website’s SEO. But it influences how customers experience both your website and your brand. And as we well know, for Google, customer experience is everything.

The more audience-friendly your website is, the better it will ultimately perform. 

How User Feedback Can Inform Your SEO Strategy

The most successful businesses are those that listen to their customers. This has been true since well before the Internet even existed. And it remains true to this day. 

That’s one of the core reasons why online reviews are so incredibly valuable where search engine optimization(SEO) is concerned. Not only do they have a direct impact on traffic and visibility, but how you respond to them can also influence how your audience feels about your business. Moreover, negative reviews can give you a solid idea of what your business is doing wrong and how you can improve.

Yet as critical as they are, reviews are only a single facet of user feedback. And just as you should pay attention to reviews, you should also listen to other communication mediums. This includes social channels, email, customer support, and comments on your blog. 

From the perspective of SEO, examining the support tickets your customers submit can potentially make you aware of technical issues on your website. If, for instance, a single user is unable to access their account, the issue is probably on the client’s side. If, however, multiple people report login issues, then you likely have work to do.

Whenever you publish and share a blog post, pay close attention to what your audience has to say about it. Look at comments on your website and social media channels. This can enrich your content in several ways.

  • New topic ideas. A user may suggest a follow-up to an existing piece, or even an entirely new topic based on something you’ve already published.
  • Fact-checking.  Everyone makes mistakes on occasion. If someone points out one of yours, thank them and correct it. This not only shows that you listen to your audience but also helps you ensure your content is as factually accurate as possible.
  • Expanded content.  Maybe one of your customers has an alternative technique for a how-to article or an idea for updating an old piece. Either way, this can help you enhance existing content and breathe new life into old content. 
  • Better targeting. While on-site metrics are certainly a valid way of determining whether or not your content resonates with your audience, user feedback is better. If your audience expresses consistently negative views about a particular subject, then it likely means there’s a disconnect in your content marketing. 

The best businesses have always been those that listen carefully to their customers. This is as true today as it’s ever been. By incorporating user feedback into your marketing and SEO strategy, you can not only get a clearer picture of what you’re doing wrong but also forge a stronger, better connection with your audience. 

What to Know About Local SEO During a Pandemic

It’s no secret that small businesses have been struggling for the past several months. COVID-19 has been anything but easy, especially for organizations that rely on physical retail. For many, life essentially ground to a standstill.

This remains true even as some regions look to reopen. We’re adrift in a time of profound uncertainty, as many of us wonder whether or not a second wave will strike. Amidst all this, it can be tempting to allow your marketing to taper off  — likely as not, you’ve already cut your marketing budget.

You shouldn’t, though. Especially if you’re a local business, this is actually an ideal time to ramp up your search engine optimization efforts. Many people are still socially isolated, out of work, or both.

They’re looking for local businesses they can support, and curious about whether or not those businesses are taking the necessary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This means that if you play your cards right, there’s the potential to bring in some decent traffic. There are, however, a few things you need to keep in mind here.

  • Follow the typical best practices. Include Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information on every page of your website. Sprinkle references to local events and neighborhoods into your blog posts and website copy. Maintain a Google My Business Page with high-quality photos and as much information about your business as possible. 
  • Write a COVID-19 statement. What are you doing to deal with the pandemic? How are you protecting your employees? What are you doing to protect your customers?  How has this impacted your business? 
  • Update your Google My Business page. If COVID-19 has impacted your business hours, your Google My Business listing needs to reflect that. 
  • Find a way to support online sales. Most restaurants are now working with meal delivery services, as are many grocery outlets. If possible, it may be worth expanding the scope of your business to a third-party retailer like Amazon. 
  • Keep the content flowing. If you don’t already have a blog, it’s worthwhile to establish one and start posting regularly. Just be careful you don’t hammer on the coronavirus pandemic too frequently.
  • Get social. Interact with your audience on social media. Don’t try to make sales here. Instead, focus on building relationships with them, and sharing content you think they’ll find interesting or valuable. 

No one is entirely certain when the coronavirus pandemic will end. Even now, as many small businesses start to reopen and pick up the pieces, there’s the looming threat of a second wave.  The best thing you can do at this point is to focus on local SEO and explore ways to do business online. 

By making the shift to digital and working to increase your local reach, you’re much likelier to make it through this crisis at least relatively unscathed. If you’re lucky, you might even come out looking better than you did before.

3 Critical Things to Understand Before Doing Keyword Research

Your business cannot grow if you do not understand your market, your audience, and your brand. Unfortunately, plenty of digital organizations appear to have missed the memo in this regard. They dive headlong into keyword research, chomping at the bit to churn out content and bid on pay per click ads. 

As a result, many of them miss the mark entirely. Their time, effort, and money ends up wasted on a marketing strategy that simply does not work. In order to avoid making this mistake yourself, there are a few things you need to understand before dedicating any time to keyword research. 

What Your Customers Are Interested In

What is your audience searching for, and why? This knowledge needs to inform every facet of your content marketing efforts and search engine optimization strategy, from initial research through to topic brainstorming through to content creation. You need to understand not just the terms your audience is searching with, but the intent behind those terms. 

Are they looking for information, such as how-to articles or details on a particular service? Do they want to know where your business is located? Or are they clearly interested in making a purchase? 

It also helps to know what type of person is interested in your brand and its products. Look at your competitors on social media, and pay attention to their most engaged followers. That’s likely your demographic, as well.

If any of your competitors maintain a blog, you can also look there for general inspiration. 

Your Own Expertise

One of the most important pieces of advice where content marketing is concerned is to focus on what you know. You are presumably an authority on your industry and your market. Use that in your keyword research and topic generation. 

Write to your strengths, and consider what tangential topics your audience would be interested in, as well. Someone looking for home repair services, for instance, may also be interested in reading about home decor or lawn care.  Someone purchasing pet food will likely be interested in other aspects of pet care. 

What You Want to Achieve

Perhaps most importantly, you need to decide on your actual goal in carrying out keyword research. First, consider what part of the marketing funnel you’re targeting. There are three broad areas of focus in that regard.

  • Top funnel keywords are broad and geared towards informational intent. They generally bring in people who are either in their early stages of researching a brand or simply browsing the web.
  • Mid funnel keywords are slightly more specific, and target customers with slightly more purchase intent. They may be researching a particular product or service of yours. 
  • Bottom funnel keywords are explicitly aimed at customers with purchase intent. They are highly specific and generally include brand keywords and product names. 

It’s likely that, as part of your SEO efforts, you will leverage all three types of keywords for different areas of your website. A blog post, for instance, will likely target top or mid-funnel keywords, whilst a product page will have keywords associated with it that are geared towards the bottom of the sales funnel. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself about your goals for each page.

  • Do you simply want to generate brand awareness and bring in more traffic? 
  • Are you trying to sell a specific product or service? 
  • Do you want to increase conversions? 
  • Are you attempting to build yourself up as a thought leader? 

These aren’t mutually exclusive, mind you. At the same time, it’s important that when you set out to research keywords for your site, you do so with a clear goal in mind. 

Closing Thoughts

Keyword research is a constant process and one that requires consistent evaluation. It demands that you understand not only your market, but also your audience, your brand, and your own business goals. It is not, in other words, something you can do without focus. 

The Role of Image Optimization in Search Engine Optimization

Images play a pivotal role in the creation of compelling content, whether it’s a product page, a blog post, or just general site copy. They also play an important part in search engine optimization, contributing significantly to factors like navigability, readability, and load time. In some cases, they can even bring new traffic to your website.

“Although there aren’t exactly official numbers, Google stated that every day hundreds of millions of people use Google Images to discover and explore content on the web,” reads a piece on search engine marketing publication Search Engine Land. “About a year ago, Google updated the ‘View Image’ button from Image Search to ‘Visit [Page].’ As a result, analytics platforms began recording an increase in sessions specifically driven from image search and content visibility for the host pages increased (instead of random image files without context).”

Now that we’ve established the importance of images to overall SEO, let’s drill down into some specific advice about image optimization.

Formatting

Even if you’re reformatting images after uploading them to your site, overly-large image files can cause significant issues with load time. To that end, you’re going to want to ensure that any images you upload are smaller than 1 MB. There are a few ways you can achieve this.

  • Reduce the image’s resolution. You do not need photos that are 5000 pixels wide and tall. In our experience, 800 pixels-1200 pixels is where you should be aiming.
  • Use JPEG images instead of PNG images. The latter tend to be much larger than the former. 
  • Use an image editing file such as GIMP to slightly reduce an image’s quality. The dialog to do this pops up when you hit save, and you can generally cut the quality down to 80 percent before there’s any noticeable change.

Creativity

While stock photos certainly have an important role to play, many of the most common ones are by this point incredibly overused. As such, if you have the opportunity to use unique, branded imagery in place of stock imagery, do so. A good photographer or graphic designer may be well worth the cost given the unique flair their work can bring to your site. 

Naming and Alt Text

One of the most frequently-ignored steps in image optimization involves file names and alt text. Each image you upload to your site should be descriptively-named and include at least one relevant keyword. Additionally, each image should include alt text that will display in the event that the image doesn’t load properly, something which tends to happen frequently on mobile devices. 

As explained by SEO expert Moz, an image file’s alt text should be descriptive, but not overly long and stuffed with keywords. Moz also notes that accessibility isn’t the only reason alt text is important. It also helps search engines better understand and contextualize the images on your website. 

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Where SEO is concerned, that may well be true. Effective imagery is as much a part of optimizing your site as good copy and high-quality content.