Alt Text and Meta Descriptions in Shopify

Hey, thanks for dropping by!

Currently, I’m working on building a Shopify store from the ground up. My store is an apparel store that sells my own designs on various options such as hoodies, t-shirts, and hats. Some of the skills I’ll be cultivating are:

  • Project management
  • Digital marketing (Facebook Ads, Snapchat Ads, Pinterest Ads)
  • Writing
  • Creative design
  • Branding

Additionally, follow along as I’ll be dropping tutorials and updates as well as other content all month, as part of a challenge where I’m blogging every day this month.

Check out last week’s update here.

If you’re starting a Shopify store for the first time, you may be tempted to rush through your preliminary setup and “open” your store as fast as you can.

That's not necessarily the best way to go. More info on that here.

One of the most important, but often overlooked aspects of starting an online presence is SEO. SEO is a driving force behind building your traffic. If done well, people will come across your site when searching for topics that have to do with your store. For more on SEO in particular, read this post.

There are many different cases of SEO, but I want to discuss a very particular one. Alt-text, or alternative text, is essentially the description of an image. One of its goals is to describe that image for someone who can’t see it, but it also provides a pathway for SEO.

Linking an image with alt-text, which would consist of certain keywords, can allow for that image to pop up when someone searches for one of the keywords or that whole string of keywords.

Here’s an example.

This is one of the products on my Shopify store, Raising Heaven.

To us, it’s pretty straight forward. We see what we see; a man in a blue hoodie that says rebel across the front. But obviously, a search engine doesn't have the same associative skills that we do.

So in a setting that lets me die alt text for this particular image, I would type in “man wearing a blue hoodie that says rebel across the front”.

Simple enough, right? Now this image has a description that a search engine can then use to match that image to a particular search query. So when someone searches for, say, “men’s light blue hoodie rebel” your image would possibly come up (if you've done a LOT of SEO).

This is what edited alt-text look like in Shopify

Make sure you add alt-text to every possible image on your site and that each instance contains a key phrase or word that you want to rank highly for in searches.

Meta descriptions are another opportunity for people to come across your site.

These descriptions should be used to let people know what a particular page on your site is about.

Boxed in red is the meta description for the Praxis home page (BTW, check out Praxis, it’s something special).

Anyway, as you can see, a meta description doesn't have to be crazy and essay length.

Praxis does very well with their description, because it is structured(i.e an actual sentence) and it also makes use of very powerful keywords and phrases for which the program wants to be associated. Words like “remote”, “bootcamp”, “full-time job” and “startup” are all a big part of what Praxis is about and thus they're well used in the meta description.

Now when people search for “remote full-time job at startup”, Praxis might be what they see.

See all the additional blue headings listed under the main heading in the picture? Each one links to a page on the Praxis website, and each of those pages has its OWN meta descriptions. You can see a preview of each description under each string of blue words.

Here’s what editing a meta description looks like in Shopify

This is my current meta description for the home page of my store. If you read the description, you’ll see keywords that I want to be related to and a general description of what my store is.

The most important things to remember with meta descriptions is they should have a solid structure, and they should include as many keywords as possible while maintaining that structure.

Google will do nothing for a description that is simply a string of “keywords” thrown together. Don’t do that.

This is another example of something I’m learning a lot as I work on my Shopify store.

Do sweat the small stuff. It can make all the difference.



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Theo Luciano

Design @ RoleModel Software and a myriad of other things // John 14:6