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The Simple Guide to Building a Martech Stack



The Simple Guide to Building a Martech Stack

There is no one marketing tool that can handle all marketing processes and enable team collaboration at the same time. And even if there is, it won’t be the best at everything.

This reason alone is why marketers need to look for various tools to put together their martech stacks.

It’s no wonder why there is no such “miracle” tool yet. Marketing processes can be quite complex. For example, this is our blog content creation process:

Flowchart of Ahrefs blog's content creation process

As you can see, there are multiple stages in this process. Thing is, those stages need different tools; one for keyword research, one for writing, a couple for communication, a couple for publishing, etc.

Generally, the more tactics you use and the more processes you create, the more tools you’ll need in your martech stack. But this process of amassing ad hoc solutions can easily get out of control and hurt your performance. So let’s try to avoid that and start from the beginning:

Martech” is short for marketing technology. A martech stack is a collection of software used by marketers to conduct, manage, measure, and improve their marketing activities.

Oftentimes, martech stacks are designed to work in conjunction with one another (through built-in integrations or APIs) to supplement marketing processes.

What is martech used for?

The short answer: probably everything. Personally, I was amazed when I found out there is a dedicated tool for transferring content from Google Docs to WordPress—something I’ve done manually for years. I never thought I might need a tool like Wordable. But now there’s no turning back.

So it’s really good to know what’s out there in terms of marketing technology. Here are some of the main areas where you can use martech:


Some types of research are impossible to do without the right software. For example, you can’t do keyword research without an SEO tool.

Matching terms report results

Just four seed keywords resulted in almost 4 million keyword ideas. Data via Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

In other cases, martech will help you streamline your research process. For example, when analyzing the social reach of media or influencers, you don’t need to manually check each social media platform. A tool like Sparktoro has it all in one place.

Report on TechCrunch. Key data above. Below, bar graph showing social followings, etc


Here, martech offers tools for teamwide collaboration, getting feedback, no-code page building, and streamlined visual content creation.

For example, while looking for a design tool, you will inevitably come across Adobe’s Creative Suite. While it offers great tools, they’re a bit of an overkill for marketers. You’d be better off with a streamlined design tool like Figma or UXPin.

Ahrefs webpage design on Figma

Our team used Figma to create Ahrefs’ website, etc. We also use it to store our design system.

Content distribution

Whatever marketing channels you’re using, there is a tool for that. For example, you can schedule your social media posts to be sent out to multiple platforms within the same tool. No need to jump back and forth between social media profiles, trying to fit in the perfect spot for posting.

Page on MeetEdgar to schedule posts. Drop-down filters on left and preview of post on right

You can use tools like MeetEdgar to take the strain off social media posting.

User experience personalization

With the right technology, you can set up systems that personalize your website’s texts, images, displayed products, and more. This way, instead of showing generalized messages that are “all things to all people,” you can display content that feels like it was specifically prepared for the reader.

Pictures, prices, and brief write-up of products

Barilliance allows e‑commerce stores to automatically personalize visitors’ experience using AI. For example, it can display competing products that past visitors viewed when considering an item or show cross-sale opportunities based on dynamic models.

Marketing automation

With marketing automation tools, you can plan how your brand will engage with people throughout the customer journey, from setting up lead generation forms without any coding to devising automated email workflows based on your subscribers’ engagement signals.

Flowchart of example email workflow

And going after the latest trend of conversational marketing, you can have a chatbot to answer your customers’ questions 24 hours a day, as IKEA Canada does.

IKEA Canada's chatbot


If it’s digital, it can be measured. And if it can be measured, it can be improved. For example, at Ahrefs, we constantly monitor our content’s performance in terms of keyword rankings and organic traffic. If we see one of those on a downtrend, we can improve the content or promote it more.

In the screenshot below, you can see the organic search graph for one of our articles. The arrows mark instances when the article was republished with updated content. As you can see, revamping the article led to an increase in organic traffic multiple times.


Not sure what page design will convert more visitors? Don’t guess. Use A/B testing tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely. Tools like these will let you easily deploy your test (even if you can’t code), automatically gather data for as long as you need, and report the results.

For instance, in the screenshot below, you can see us using Tubebuddy to test two versions of video thumbnails.

Data Analytics page showing bar graphs, pie charts, etc

Customer relationship management

Popularly known as CRMs. These are tools marketers (together with sales teams) use to keep important information about their leads and customers.

Using spreadsheets for this purpose is a thing of the past. Modern CRMs have the advantage of being central, dynamic databases that send and receive information from other tools automatically.

A great illustration of the role that CRMs have in digital marketing is the promise that one of the biggest marketing automation providers, HubSpot, aims to deliver: first and foremost, a great CRM.

Excerpt of HubSpot article talking about its CRM

How to build a martech stack

Before you even think about building a martech stack, make sure you’ve identified your marketing goals and chosen your marketing tactics. It’s impossible to build a useful stack without first deciding these things because the purpose of the stack is to help improve your marketing activities. If you need help with these two things, read our guides on choosing marketing goals and marketing tactics.

With that out of the way, let’s see the next steps of creating your own martech stack.

1. Identify your needs and match that with your current stack

Your needs pertaining to the martech stack will likely stem out of two things: your marketing goals and your team’s need to make everyday operational work happen.

If you’re doing digital marketing, your goals almost automatically translate into software needs. For instance, improving organic traffic without an SEO tool is a guessing game. Trying to increase your share of voice on social media effectively without analytics and scheduling tools is just crazy. And you won’t set up a single email workflow without an email automation tool… you get the idea.

So here’s what you can do. Simply write down your marketing goals and see if you’ve got the right tools for the job already. If not, make a note next to the goal. This way, you will buy what’s really necessary, save some money, and avoid the confusion of having too many workspaces.

Depending on your company size, digging through your current stack can take several minutes or several hours. Larger organizations will most likely have a martech stack built up over the years. Some tools in the stack may not even be used anymore for some reason. If so, it may be worth coming back to the tried and tested tools.

At Ahrefs, we keep a list of our marketing tech that also mentions people with access to it. This way, we know:

  • The tools we use/don’t use.
  • Whether we should still be paying for them or not.

List of Ahrefs' martech

Here’s another thing to add to the list: your team’s needs. This is an important component of your software requirements, but it’s so obvious that it can slip the managers’ minds. The end result is them buying software that simply suits their personal opinions.

Sometimes, managers choose the martech stack on their own. They often think, in their best intentions, that doing things this way won’t distract the team. Wrong. They’re actually doing their team members a disservice. It’s important to ask your teammates what they need. More often than not, your fellow marketers will be well versed in the martech landscape.

2. Establish a budget

Because you need to know what you can afford. And it’s good to know this before you go shopping for software.

As in life, you can be in one of two scenarios here. You either have a stiff budget, or you have some room to move. And what you get depends on how well you can justify your needs.

If your budget has already been decided, you may need to prioritize some tools over others, cut costs through single-seat subscriptions, or choose the lower-cost (or even free) options.

But if your budget is not some arbitrary number you can’t influence, here’s a tip:

Try to explain the demand for new tools through your marketing goals. It’s not always transparent to CFOs or CEOs why you need a particular software, especially when it’s pricey. On that note, it’s worth mentioning that if you can’t meet your marketing goals because you don’t have the software, the whole company is in trouble.

3. Research possible software options

So by this point, you should be able to determine what kinds of software you’ll be looking for (and may even have some brands in mind) and how much you can spend on them. Now it’s time to pick and choose.

Here are a few ideas on how to find the right kinds of tools:

  • Get recommendations – Ask your network on LinkedIn or Twitter, post a question in your marketing community, or post a query on Quora.
  • Analyze your competition and/or companies you look up to – For this, you can use websites like StackShare, BuiltWith, or Slintel. Sometimes, you can find that information directly from the source, e.g., by browsing that company’s blog (many companies actually like to share this information, and we’re doing it too in this article).
  • Check out review platforms – First, websites like G2 and Capterra have curated lists of software in probably every software category (some have buyer’s guides too). Second, people go there to share their experiences of using the software. It’s wise to take the reviews with a grain of salt, but you can pick up patterns in opinions or some details you may want to check for yourself.
  • Cross-check your tools – See if there are any unnecessary overlaps and check if the tools that are supposed to work together have the required integrations. Remember, having more tools is not always better.

4. Deploy the tools and make the transition

Once you finally get access to your new set of tools, here are some things worth remembering:

  • Make a list of your entire martech stack and share it with whoever is concerned (marketing team, possibly your CEO and/or CFO). You can create a similar list (like the one from point #1) that shows the tools’ URLs, the people responsible, how to access the tools, the prices, and whatever else you feel may be helpful to keep track of.
  • If you have any old tools still running, don’t cancel them just yet because they probably hold valuable data that will perish if you stop paying for them. Whenever possible, export data from the old tools and import it into your new tools. You can also continue running some of the older tools until you’re 100% confident everything you need is in the new stack.
  • Consider reaching out to the creator of your software for some guidance to make sure everything works as it should. Some tools are quite complicated to implement (especially when you’re making data transitions or performing integrations with other software).

5. Make sure your tools are used properly

New tools will probably confuse your team for the first couple of weeks. Even interface changes between your old and your new software could cause a temporary drop in productivity. Make sure to put some time aside to actually learn the tools.

Many software companies offer comprehensive educational materials for free (or without any additional charge). For example, when you sign up for Ahrefs, you may not know anything about SEO except that you need it. And that’s OK because, through our Academy, we show you how to do SEO effectively as you master our software.

Ahrefs Academy's page

Going further, if you need to develop custom operating procedures (like reporting or content creation processes), it’s a good idea to have one person responsible for documenting them using the new tools.

Final tip: consider doing regular evaluations of your martech stack. You can ask your teammates’ opinions during meetings or send out an internal survey once every couple of months. This way, you may get some additional insights, e.g., your tools need an upgrade/downgrade, or your team needs additional training.

Now, let’s see what an example martech stack can look like.

Our favorite marketing tools (a sample of our martech stack)

Here is a portion of our martech stack we use to run an eight-figure ARR company.

1. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is an industry-leading, all-in-one SEO tool. We created this tool to help marketers rank higher on search engines and get more traffic. So naturally, we use it every day to fuel our own marketing strategy. We use it mostly for:

  • Finding topics to write about.
  • Studying how to structure our blog posts.
  • Choosing which articles to update.
  • Finding outreach prospects.
  • Studying competitors.
  • Monitoring our performance in search engines.
  • Finding technical SEO issues.

Copy of Ahrefs' value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free tools available; paid plans start at $99 per month (you get two months free if you decide to pay annually)
Some alternatives: SEMrush, Moz

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service from Google that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance in the search results.

It offers the most accurate data when it comes to Google’s search-related products, e.g., organic traffic data, organic click-through rates, index coverage, etc.

GSC's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free
Alternative: Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. Disclaimer: not exactly an alternative (only Google Search Console features exact organic traffic numbers from Google Search) but rather a complementary tool that fills the gaps of Google’s tool

3. Google Workspace

The first non-marketing tool on our list that marketers need too. It’s productivity and collaboration in one place. But this product probably doesn’t need an introduction. Google Workspace ties together tools such as Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Drive, and more. Even at this moment, I’m using Workspace to write this article.

These tools are free, but businesses will most likely need to jump to the pricing site right away to pick a plan that suits their data storage needs and see what other premium features Workspace offers.

Google Workspace's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free for personal use; premium plans start at $6/mo
Some alternatives: Microsoft Office 365, Zoho Workplace, ONLYOFFICE Workspace

4. Notion

Another non-marketing tool that we can’t live without. Notion is our team workspace. Something that Google Workspace falls short of. We use it for internal documentation and collaboration.

Remember the blog creation process in the intro of this article? We track that entire process on Notion.

Notion's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free for personal use; premium plans start at $4/mo
Some alternatives: ClickUp, Confluence

5. Grammarly

Even the best writers make mistakes. Grammarly automatically checks our articles for spelling and grammar issues and can even make style suggestions. If you’re doing content marketing, you simply need a tool like this.

Grammarly's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free for personal use; premium plans start at $12/mo
Some alternatives: ProWritingAid, Sapling

6. Wordable

We use Wordable to export articles from Google Docs to WordPress. The tool exports texts and images and translates original formatting to HTML. Otherwise, publishing on WordPress is more repetitive, manual labor, which can result in more mistakes.

Wordable's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free for personal use; premium plans start at $12/mo
Some alternatives: Official WordPress Add-on for Google Docs

7. WordPress

Another tool that probably doesn’t need any introduction. We use this massively popular CMS as the infrastructure for blogging. And because you’re reading this article right now, that makes it so that we both use WordPress.

WordPress's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free for personal use; premium plans start at $12/mo
Some alternatives (when it comes to flexibility): Drupal, Joomla

8. vidIQ

vidIQ is one of the few video marketing tools we use (the other one is Tubebuddy, which has already been mentioned in this article). We use this tool to get insights on videos and channels on YouTube.

vidIQ's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free plan available; premium plans start at $7.5/mo
Some alternatives: Tubebuddy, Ahrefs (for YouTube SEO)

9. MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is the tool we use to automate posting on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. This is not just another social media scheduling tool. It’s truly a social media marketing automation tool. It can even generate social media updates automatically based on the content of an article.

MeetEdgar's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Starts at $19/mo
Some alternatives: Buffer, SproutSocial, Hootsuite

10. Sparktoro

Sparktoro helps us find creators/influencers based on topics, following, and other signals. It’s especially helpful for finding potential partners in a niche we’re not familiar with.

Sparktoro's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Starts at $19/mo
Some alternatives: No single platform I’m aware of (though Klear and Social Blade come quite close)

11. Hunter

Hunter is a tool for finding anyone’s email address with just the name of the person and where they work. It’s one of the tools we use to do outreach for link building. Basically, once we find and vet an outreach prospect, we need to find their email address to contact them—which is rarely public information. This is where Hunter comes in.

Hunter's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free plan available; premium plans start at $49/mo
Some alternatives: FindEmails, NinjaOutreach

12. Pitchbox

Pitchbox is an influencer outreach and content marketing platform. However, we don’t use all of its features, only the ones that allow us to send emails to our link prospects at scale (e.g., email personalization and automated workflows).

Pitchbox's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free plan available; premium plans start at $49/mo
Some alternatives: BuzzStream, NinjaOutreach

13. Figma

Figma is a collaborative interface design tool. Aside from being a great design and prototyping platform, Figma makes our lives easier by allowing us to share designs among our designers and developers and keep a consistent design system.

Figma's value proposition

Where to get:
Price: Free plan available; premium plans start at $12/mo
Alternative: UXPin

Final thoughts

So there you have it. Building a martech stack is deceptively similar to shopping, but it’s not necessarily that fun and easy. It’s a good idea to forget about your personal preferences for a moment and think about how a particular choice will fit your processes, how it helps you achieve your goals, and whether your teammates will like it too.

At Ahrefs, we’ve been building our stack through trial and error for years, and it’s never a finished process. But that’s a good thing. From time to time, we do spot a new tool that makes us wonder how we got by without it. So keep your eyes open to increasingly smarter and easy-to-use martech.

Lastly, if you want to see what other online tools we use for marketing, check out this list.

Got questions or comments? Ping me on Twitter.

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Gen Z Ditches Google, Turns To Reddit For Product Searches




In this photo illustration, the Reddit logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.

A new report from Reddit, in collaboration with GWI and AmbassCo, sheds light on the evolving search behaviors of Generation Z consumers.

The study surveyed over 3,000 internet users across the UK, US, and Germany, highlighting significant changes in how young people discover and research products online.

Here’s an overview of key findings and the implications for marketers.

Decline In Traditional Search

The study found that Gen Z uses search engines to find new brands and products less often.

That’s because they shop online differently. They’re less interested in looking for expert reviews or spending much time searching for products.

There are also frustrations with mobile-friendliness and complex interfaces on traditional search platforms.

Because of this, traditional SEO strategies might not work well for reaching younger customers.


Companies trying to reach Gen Z might need to try new methods instead of just focusing on being visible on Google and other search engines.

Rise Of Social Media Discovery

Screenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Gen Z is increasingly using social media to find new brands and products.

The study shows that Gen Z has used social media for product discovery 36% more frequently since 2018.

This change is affecting how young people shop online. Instead of searching for products, they expect brands to appear in their social media feeds.

1719123963 547 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Because of this, companies trying to reach young customers need to pay more attention to how they present themselves on social media.


To succeed at marketing to Gen Z, businesses will likely need to focus on two main things:

  1. Ensure that your content appears more often in social media feeds.
  2. Create posts people want to share and interact with.

Trust Issues With Influencer Marketing

Even though more people are finding products through social media, the report shows that Gen Z is less likely to trust what social media influencers recommend.

These young shoppers often don’t believe in posts that influencers are paid to make or products they promote.

Instead, they prefer to get information from sources that feel more real and are driven by regular people in online communities.


Because of this lack of trust, companies must focus on being genuine and building trust when they try to get their websites to appear in search results or create ads.

Some good ways to connect with these young consumers might be to use content created by regular users, encourage honest product reviews, and create authentic conversations within online communities.

Challenges With Current Search Experiences

The research shows that many people are unhappy with how search engines work right now.

More than 60% of those surveyed want search results to be more trustworthy. Almost half of users don’t like looking through many search result pages.

Gen Z is particularly bothered by inaccurate information and unreliable reviews.

1719123963 785 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.


Given the frustration with search quality, marketers should prioritize creating accurate, trustworthy content.

This can help build brand credibility, leading to more direct visits.

Reddit: A Trusted Alternative

The report suggests that Gen Z trusts Reddit when looking up products—it’s their third most trusted source, after friends and family and review websites.

1719123963 403 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Young users like Reddit because it’s community-based and provides specific answers to users’ questions, making it feel more real.

It’s worth noting that this report comes from Reddit itself, which probably influenced why it’s suggesting its own platform.


Companies should focus more on being part of smaller, specific online groups frequented by Gen Z.

That could include Reddit or any other forum.

Why SEJ Cares

As young people change how they look for information online, this study gives businesses important clues about connecting with future customers.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Traditional search engine use is declining among Gen Z.
  • Social media is increasingly vital for product discovery.
  • There’s growing skepticism towards influencer marketing.
  • Current search experiences often fail to meet user expectations.
  • Community-based platforms like Reddit are gaining trust.

Featured Image: rafapress/Shutterstock

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data




Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

Featured Image by Shutterstock/sutlafk

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What Is It & How To Write It




What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:


Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.


What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

More resources: 

Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

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