Definition: An alt tag, also known as "alt attribute" and "alt description," is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines. Applying images to alt tags such as product photos can positively impact an ecommerce store's search engine rankings.

What purpose do alt tags serve?

Search engines and other robots cannot interpret images, but images can play a crucial part in how people interpret a particular web page. Alt tags solve for this by providing text which is read by the search engines. When Googlebot or other search engine crawlers inspect a page, images with properly formatted alt text contribute to how the page is indexed and where it ranks.

Alt tags are also useful for users viewing a webpage on screen readers or browsers that can't process images.

Where is an alt tag located?

Alt text is contained within the image tag: <img src="myimage.png" alt="nike_air_zoom" />.

Best practices

  • Product images are generally optimized for the same keyword as the product page itself.
  • The text should be kept short to maximize its impact. Shorter alt texts are also more likely to be indexed by Google and the other major online search engines in a more efficient manner. Also, do not forget to mention the topic within the alt text.
  • Refrain from keyword stuffing, as Google and other popular search engines disfavor such antics.
  • Don't prioritize alt tags over SEO deliverables such as titles, inter-linking, and meta descriptions. Alt tags should only be prioritized for image-heavy pages that are very light on text.

Learn how to add an alt attribute to images in a BigCommerce Store: Image Descriptions


Bigcommerce is the leading ecommerce platform for growing and mid-market retailers.

Learn more:
1. Visit our commerce blog
2. See our best-in-class features
3. Request a demo


Try Bigcommerce free for 15 days and see what plan is right for you
Start free trial
High-volume or established business? Call for a demo. 1-866-581-4549

Start your free trialHigh-volume or established business? Call for a demo.1-866-581-4549