I am a great lover of automation. I automate my WordPress stuff as well.
For automating the insertion of ALT tags for images, I use SEO friendly images plugin.
I was using this plugin without any configurations. That is by using default settings. This was a bad idea, as far as my image naming convention is considered.
The above is the default configuration of SEO friendly images plugin.
As you can notice in the screenshot, this consideration sets the ALT tag of images to "image name"+"blog post title".
I always include keywords in the blog post title and also image name.
So now you can only imagine the devastation caused by the above default settings.
An image with file name Improve-readability.jpg and blog post title "Tips to Improve Readability of Your Blog Posts"
Would produce ALT tag like "Improve Readability Tips to Improve Readability of Your Blog Posts".
It will be enough for the Google to penalize your blog for keyword stuffing in ALT tags.
This will not completely ban your site from Google, but it pushes your blog posts to greater depths of SERPS. You'd barely receive any organic traffic.
I was very much fed up with the efforts to catch up the stuff that was causing this issue.
How I caught it?
One day, an image in my blog was broken. The blog post was still pointing to the broken image. So when I viewed that blog post, the broken image along with the ALT tag appeared. After taking a look at the ALT tag, I noticed that the keyword was stuffed in anchor text.
So I headed over to SEO friendly images.
Changed the default settings to the below.
Hopefully, the change automatically reflected on all images on my blog instantly. Uff!
After this, I published a couple of blog posts. I noticed that my organic traffic eventually shot up (increased by 500%). New blog posts were ranking great. Older blog posts that were the victim of the issue were also receiving organic traffic from Google. My blog posts were slowly climbing up in SERPS.
Now I got the real reason behind the crush in my organic traffic and realized that it's time for some research.
I Googled, ALT tag keyword stuffing.
It came up with this.
In there, I noticed that the forum guy named danijelzi, was also facing the same issue.
Keyword stuffing in ALT tags definitely push your blog posts to 40 to 50th pages of SERPs.
At the time of writing this post. I was taking the snapshots of the configuration of SEO friendly images plugin.
I noticed that the title of the plugin was set to be in the format of "post title".
Including blog post title in every title tag of images?
It is a big no-no for SEO.
Think of having 5 to 7 times blog post title stuffed in a single blog post!
So I reconfigured it to…
If your image naming convention includes keywords in it, then you should be aware of using SEO friendly images plugin without any configuration.
Simply activating the plugin without any configuration will be very dangerous.
You should go through the plugin settings after activating it.
You should either change your naming conventions or change plugins configuration settings.
I'm sure that about 20% of the Webmasters using this plugin are facing the same issue but are not aware of it. So I decided to blog upon this issue. This simple configuration setting will make you vulnerable to penalization by Google.
The default configuration of SEO friendly images plugin is very dangerous.If this post helps even a single person, then I will be happy. Because if unaware of this problem, then one might suffer from Google penalty and loss of organic traffic.
If you have any similar issues and if this post has helped to reconsider your default plugin settings, do comment and share. I will also suggest you to take a look at the configuration settings of SEO friendly images if you're using them in your blog.
After reconsidering the configurations of this plugin, if the organic traffic rises greatly than I will surely update this blog post with my latest observations and improvements.
This is a great example of how carelessness crushes your hard work and time.