Theoretically ecommerce image SEO is not very difficult: your images need to be high quality, need descriptive file names and contain alt tags but in practice this can be very difficult if your store has thousands of products with multiple images.
Is it worth it to add unique and high quality alt tags to all your images? You can probably find a better way to spend your time. Yet you want to avoid situations where your product images all have too generic (or no) alt tags.
The Solution? Tag your images.
Tagging your images is the ideal combination of quick and effective. Here is what you do: when uploading new product images you tag your images based on what kind of photo it is: is it a photo of the front view of the product? Is it a close-up product shot or just the back side of the box? This can simply be a implemented with a dropdown menu in your CMS.
Depending on your products you can describe your image types in roughly 5 types.
- Front view
- Side view
- Atmosphere image
You don’t need a SEO copy writing training to be able to use this. Anyone from the intern to the content manager can easily select on of these options when uploading a new image. It’s straight forward and takes minimal amount of time. Now that you have this data, how do you use it?
Combine this data, the “type”, with your current product name (or “title”) as a fallback if no custom alt tag is given.
<img src="<?php echo $product->src;?>" alt="<?php echo $product->title . ' ' . $product->image_type;?>">
It’s a simple as that. This method is especially effective if you have multiple product images. Sure, not as great as custom alt tags for all your photos but considerably better than nothing or something generic like “[title] photo 1”.
Why do I recommend this method?
- Takes minimal effort
- No spammy alt tags by well meaning interns
- Easily translatable for your i18n needs
- You can still add custom alt tags