Is this one of the 200 factors of Google for SEO?

Includes Grammar under Content, but I've not been able to find anything specific to Grammar within Alt Text. I'm not talking blatant misspellings and incoherent ideas. More the removal of connectors and such for brevity.


Equipment being used without a gate at a school


Equipment without gate at school

Would there be any negative to condensing alt text in this way on images? Some of my alt text even is pushing 100 characters because of how technical the content really is (the above is just a crude example).

  • 2
    It will have virtually no effect on your rankings. Just use whatever is best for your users.
    – John Conde
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:55
  • @JohnConde could you expand on that as an answer, maybe with a source
    – Ryan
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:56
  • Your list is a made up list by some guy. It is not a list from Google. No one knows exactly what's on that list but a few people at Google and they're not saying what it is.
    – Rob
    Mar 1, 2016 at 3:00

2 Answers 2


The alt text is content. Both for humans and robots. And it is not just for visually-impaired humans or text-only browsers. You might have a slideshow where the JavaScript code gets the caption for each image from the alt attribute of that image and displays it under the image.

It’s a good practice to think of building an img tag like this:

  1. write the text version as a paragraph

    <p>A horse runs through high grass under a blue sky with wisps of white clouds.</p>

  2. replace the paragraph with an image

    <img src="/horse.jpeg" alt="A horse runs through high grass under a blue sky with wisps of white clouds.">

  3. add an ID and/or class to use as CSS/JavaScript hooks

    <img class="slideshow" src="/horse.jpeg" alt="A horse runs through high grass under a blue sky with wisps of white clouds.">

Also, a very good general rule is “don’t write for robots — write for humans.” In the first place, your content is for humans. But in addition to that, the things that robots consider to be good are things that are good for humans. Whatever you do that would gain you brownie points from a human will also gain you brownie points from Googlebot.

Also, I don’t get why you would be concerned if a paragraph (which is what alt text is) is “pushing 200 characters.” Make optimizations in your code but not your content.


While the image alt text is not content per se' it is still better to make your image alt text a sentence. The reason for this is simple. Search engines are not making keyword matches and never really have. They are using semantic scoring which is language based. A jumble of a few terms does not add the same value that a sentence does with a subject, predicate, and object. As well, since the image alt text is intended to be for accessibility, it is better to write a sentence for that reason alone.

I am not aware of any limit of the image alt text. I am sure there is one even if it is virtual in some way. Still, 100 characters may not be that bad. However, there should be a good succinct way to say what you need.

Remember that the image alt text benefits the image. Content that surrounds or is adjacent the image may benefits the image considerably, however, the image alt text does not benefit the content the same way. In fact, any effect is minimal. So stick with what describes the image and do not try and gain a SEO benefit for the content so much when there are several far more important signals.

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