What is an ALT Tag and How Can It Be Used on LinkedIn?

By Nigel Cliffe

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Have you seen this new suggestion when posting images on LinkedIn?

“Making your photos more inclusive”

Should you care?

You bet you should!

In technical terms, you are effectively adding an ALT tag to your image.

“What is an ALT Tag”, I Hear You Say

Well, an ALT tag is used to describe the image or what the image represents.

One of the main purposes of an ALT tag is for the benefit of visually impaired users who use screen readers when browsing. They are also used for those who surf the web with images turned off, or for users that have text-only browsers. It is good practice to brighten your LinkedIn posts with visuals like images and it’s even better practice to optimise them with ALT tags.

But here’s the thing.

LinkedIn, along with Google, is good at determining the value and relevance of content for its users.

When you use an optimised ALT tag (one that contains targeted keyword(s), it gives your content a boost because the alt text is a helpful relevance signal for search engines.

So, in effect, you are adding to the value of your post by adding appropriate keywords.

Think of them as hidden hashtags if you like.

LinkedIn and SEO

When I posed the above question about whether people were making use of LinkedIn ALT tags to my LinkedIn community, photographer Lincoln Roth (who takes very good headshots ideal for your LinkedIn Profile photo by the way!) shared that he has been informed that search engines like Google crawl through LinkedIn images.

So, adding alt text to images you upload to the platform does help in terms of your article or post ranking in search engine results, as well as making your post more inclusive.

Giving Your Image Files Appropriate Names Before Uploading to LinkedIn

Lincoln also added that, since Google and other search engines crawl LinkedIn images now, it’s a good idea to title the image you are uploading to LinkedIn appropriately too. So the file name should complement the ALT tag and contain target keywords (as well as reflect what the image pictures).

Stefan Drew, a marketing trainer and consultant, also agreed that LinkedIn seems to be incorporating SEO good practice into its algorithms more and more. He found that you can’t add ALT tags to an image you upload in a comment on someone else’s posts at the moment. Indeed, you are only presented with the option to add ALT tags to an image by LinkedIn if you are adding an image to a brand-new post you are publishing. You also can’t seem to go back and retrospectively add ALT tags to images you have uploaded to LinkedIn in the past.

However, I figure for those few extra seconds it takes to add an ALT tag when asked, it is a GOOD thing to do going forward! Don’t waste it!

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