Does Alt Text Help SEO On Etsy?

Georgi Bosilkov
June 10, 2024

As an Etsy seller, you know that creating a visually appealing online shop is crucial for attracting customers and driving sales. One essential but often overlooked aspect of optimizing your product listings is adding alt text to your listing photos. Alt text, short for alternative text, is a description of an image that is displayed when the image cannot be loaded or is read aloud by screen readers for visually impaired users.

What does it mean adding alt text to the listing images?

Text alternative (or “alt text”) provides an image description to buyers who can’t see what you’re showing in your listing images. If your default shop language is set to English, you can add an image description for each of your listing images so that your content is accessible to blind and low-vision individuals.

These descriptions don’t appear visually on the page. Adding a text alternative to your listing images also positively impacts your listings for shoppers with visual impairments.

How to add a text alternative to your listing images?

  1. Sign in to and go to Shop Manager.
  2. Select Listings.
  3. Select a listing.
  4. Hover over the photo you want to add alternative text to.
  5. Select the pencil icon.
  6. Type your alternative text in the box underneath the image.
  7. Choose Save.

You can add a description for as many images as you want.

What are alt text examples?

Follow these best practices to describe your images in text alternatives:

  • Describe the item’s details: what it looks like, the texture, the scale in relation to other items in your photograph.
  • Think about what buyers would lose out on if your images didn’t load on the page.
  • Keep the description concise: up to 250 characters.

Examples of text alternative

Handmade wood cat shelf bed in waved shape, removable and washable cushion. The cat shelf is ready to hang.
Block printed indian shower curtain inspired by tropical elements with vintage floral elements. Made from soft cotton material. 72" square with 12 neat buttonhole openings for easy hanging.

How to write a great image description?

When you write your photo listing description for alt text, focus on being concise and descriptive, providing your shoppers with relevant information about the image and its content. You should remember that alt text is telling the shopper what the image looks like. Think about what you would like to know about the photo if you were visually impaired and include essential details about the product’s appearance, size, and color. Because alt text does play a role in your shop’s overall SEO, try to use relevant keywords, when possible, to improve search visibility. However, avoid excessive keyword usage, as it may diminish your shopper’s experience.

What are the benefits of adding the alt text?

1) Increased accessibility for all users

Making your Etsy shop accessible to all users, including those with visual impairments, is considered by many to be a moral responsibility and is also encouraged by Etsy in their best practices. Allowing your images to be accessible to shoppers with visual impairments is the main goal of adding alt text to your listing photos. Screen readers use alt text to describe images to visually impaired users, enabling them to understand your products and make informed purchasing decisions. By adding descriptive alt text, you create a more inclusive shopping experience, enhancing your shop’s reputation and building a positive brand image.

2) Better user experience and engagement

When customers have a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience, they are more likely to stay on your Etsy shop, explore your products, and make purchases. High-quality images with descriptive alt text provide valuable context for your products, increasing customer engagement. Customers can better understand the features and details of your items, reducing the risk of misunderstandings or returns. A positive user experience leads to higher customer satisfaction and increased likelihood of repeat business and positive reviews.

3) Protection against image loading errors

In the digital world, images may sometimes fail to load due to slow internet connections or technical issues. When this happens, the alt text acts as a placeholder, displaying a text description of the image’s content. By providing alt text, you ensure that customers still have access to important information about your products, even when the images are temporarily unavailable, seeing your alt text description instead of the dreaded image below.

Does alt text help SEO on Etsy?

The Alt-text topic is interesting, yes, and here is how it works on Etsy in a nutshell.

In the first place, alt-text is intended to describe images for the benefit of individuals with visual impairments. But it's also used by the Google search engine when ranking images - that's why it's also considered for SEO, especially when it comes to your website. When it comes to Etsy, we are in a great place because Etsy is always providing alt-text to Google. In case you didn't manually provide an alt-text for your photos, Etsy automatically uses the listing title as alt-text for every photo in the listing.

We actually ran tests comparing the automatic alt-text from the title versus manually adding keywords to the alt-text. The results confirmed that the algorithm treats both the manually and the automatically provided alt-text in the same way so by optimizing the titles you are also optimizing for the alt-text and the Google image search.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What happens if I don’t add text alternatives to my images?

If you don’t provide a text alternative to describe an image, your listing’s title will be used for that image’s description. This doesn't have the same positive impact for blind and low-vision users who don't gain any context from your images.

Should I add text alternatives to all of my images?

It is especially beneficial to describe different views, details, or variations of your listing. If you provide different descriptions, each image will have different alt text for blind and low vision individuals to further understand what each of your images is showing.

Does alt text affect SEO?

Adding your shop name, listing title, listing description, or other attributes (tags, SKUs, etc.) to the alt text won’t be an additional benefit to your listing’s SEO as these items are already part of your shop or listing pages. Alt text is used to describe the photo for someone who cannot see it – this can include search engine bots. Learn more about how you can use SEO for your shop.

Can anyone see alt text?

Alt text (alternative text) is an invisible description that can be read aloud through a screen reader device. This lets users understand what's happening in your content  without being able to see it


Adding alt text to your Etsy listing images is a simple yet powerful practice that enhances accessibility and improves user experience. By providing concise and descriptive alt text, you ensure that all customers, including those with visual impairments, can understand and appreciate your products. This not only fulfills a moral responsibility but also builds a more inclusive and engaging shopping environment. Additionally, alt text serves as a safeguard against image loading issues, ensuring that important product information is always accessible. Ultimately, incorporating alt text into your Etsy listings can lead to higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and a stronger overall brand presence.

Georgi Bosilkov
Etsy SEO Team Lead

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